Lately I feel that conversations that I have with others are really conversations I am having with myself. I think back and the memory is blurry. Did they say that or did I think it? Were they talking about this or was I thinking about it? The paradox is that I often don’t feel comfortable talking to other people. I feel more comfortable with myself. It is hard for me to relate to others sometimes. So, if I am not comfortable with others, am I really comfortable with my self?
This blog allows the outlet of things that I feel, but I don’t feel sharing with people in person. This white page with black lines that appear when I press buttons on a keyboard. I know that other people will read this, but it is a detached reading. I don’t really know anyone that might read this in my personal life. There may be one or two that have stumbled upon this, but I am not sure.
I don’t feel that I am any closer to a full understanding than I was when I started this blog. I look out at the great expanse of the ocean. The other side seems close, but it has felt close for a while. My folly seems to be that the other side will get closer, the tide will go down, or I will walk along it far enough to a spot where I can jump over the water to the new land. But it goes on like this forever. Maybe it was never wider or closer at any point. Maybe it has always been the same distance and my perception brings the other side closer or pushes it further away.
I need to reset. I need to build a bridge, a boat, or just jump in and swim. I need to stop walking parallel to the shore. It gets me nowhere. The illusion of progress. I know what I need to do, but I don’t know how. Or I do, but I have been denying it and putting it off. I know I need to let go. Of everything. I need to trust in something beyond myself. I need to expand my circle beyond myself and my family.
My family and I were coming back from vacation and we were dropping off our car at the rental place and catching a cab to the airport. We were reliant upon the cab driver being at the place when we said or we would be late for our plane. I was worrying and rushing while driving. My wife said “It is out of your hands. There is nothing you can do, but drive and be where you need to be.” I find this a lot with travelling. There are so many things that are out of my control, but it doesn’t stop me from worrying about them. The flight being on time, the car rental place having my reservation, traffic… The list goes on. I can set things in motion, and I can react to what is in front of me. But really none of it is in my control.
Here is a bit of found zen. Do choices matter**? Intent seems to play a role. If I do something out of love, does the result of my choice make a difference? No matter the outcome, I have learned something and I have moved further down my path.
St. Augustine of Hippo (354– 430AD) said “Love, and do what thou wilt.” An old pagan proverb also echoed this in saying, “An ye harm none, do what thou wilt”, which oddly enough, found its way into the dubious hands of English occultist Aleister Crowley who stated “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”. This might seem a little too open-ended for many, perhaps even an invitation to hedonism, but the idea is that it makes you contemplate a reality where there are no laws except love and freewill. What would occur? Total freedom, or total chaos? Good or bad? Depends on the quality of consciousness.
I keep wanting to draw some correlation between the number of possible five minute audio files (2^211M) and the number of estimated number of hydrogen atoms in the universe (10^60). I keep going back to that audio file representing all possible audio snippets including things that did and did not happen. That audio span contains me driving an Audi R6 down the autobahn before I shoot my James Bond rockets into the douchebag in front of me. The audio file also has all possible scenarios of everything. You could even take consecutive 5 minute spans to form a story reaching from the big bang to the big crunch. Everything is possible in that five minutes. EVERYTHING!
So that five minutes of audio holds potential. The same is true of the universe. These different particles just waiting in a null state ready to be perceived. Who knows what the count of particles is. It is large. If the number of hydrogen atoms has been determined to be finite, then the number of particles must be finite as well. But at the same time, it represents all possibilities. Everything that could happen is represented by a finite number. Every possible thing, even the stuff that we can’t fathom as possible.
And what sits outside of that? Who is the viewer of that? Who is the Observer? I know what I want my answer to be, but I cannot say it with conviction. I think that part of the reason is that I want to jump to seeing it all. I want to jump to seeing something specific. I must first fully see my self. I must first fully see this possibility as it is. I must see this moment, and what is in front of me. Let it be. I shouldn’t try to interpret and build a past. Something may have happened before this and something may happen after this, but it is not happening now.
If I am thinking about something in the past, then it is a memory and not the actual event. Any feelings that I have are based on that memory and not the event itself. Since my feelings are not based on the current moment then I should be swayed by them.
We saw Life of Pi last night, and I wanted to write some quick thoughts about it. Most are around the end, so I want to make sure that I don’t give anything away to someone that might want to see it. I don’t have that large of a readership, so I am not that concerned. But if you do read this blog, and you want to see this movie, then skip this post.
The movie revolves around a middle aged man, Pi, talking to a writer and telling of his life growing up and exploring multiple religions. He lives with his family in a zoo in India that is run by his father and mother. Early on he is curious about his path and is open to many things. Hinduism is his start and it is mentioned that there are over 33 million gods in Hinduism so he was bound to identify with a few of them. He sits in bed reading graphic novels on Hindu gods and goddesses. For him, the gods are super heroes. [That is an interesting analogy and one that we fall short of seeing today. We see our myths as mere myths and nothing to identify with. It is easier to do so as a child, but growing up we seem to get more set in our ways.] He even explored Christianity and thanked Vishnu for bringing him to Christ.
The meat of the story is him being in a ship wreck and jumping onto the life raft at the last second. A zebra, hyena, orangutan and tiger also make it on the raft. The hyena attacks the zebra and kills it. It then turns to the orangutan and the orangutan smacks it unconscious. The hyena awakens and pounces on the orangutan and kills it as well. The tiger jumps from under the tarp covering the boat and devours the hyena.
Pi knows that the tiger will kill him, so he makes a small raft attached to the rescue boat. He floats on that catching fish for the tiger. He keeps his distance, and at one point he has the ability to let the tiger drown. However, he cannot bring himself to do this and saves it. After a while he attempts to train the tiger. He may not be able to tame it, but he should be able to train it. He comes up with a plan on how he is going to do it, and after practicing many times he goes for the implementation and fails. He is discouraged, but gains his courage again and stands up to the tiger with a sharp stick. The tiger eventually submits, and while still something to be feared, he and the boy form a relationship. They both land on an island that provides them nourishment by day, but the pools of fresh water turn to acid by night and the island eats fish, meerkats, and whatever falls in the water. Pi knows that he cannot stay here. He gathers supplies and the tiger, and they both push off for their goal.
Near exhaustion, Pi reaches a sandy shore in Mexico. He pulls the boat onto the beach and collapses feeling the sand as the “warm cheek of god”. The tiger heads to the edge of the jungle and Pi expects him to look back. He wants some form of closure, but the tiger just pauses and then moves on.
In the “present”, adult Pi tells the writer he is talking to that the shipping company performed an inquiry and he told them the story of the tiger and the raft. They do not believe him. They want the truth. He then tells them the story of the life boat with the cook killing the sailor with the broken leg, his mother slapping the cook, the cook killing his mother, and then Pi killing the cook. The zebra was the sailor, the cook was the hyena, his mother was the orangutan , and he was the tiger. [Realization. Light.] He asks the writer “In both stories my family dies and I am the only survivor. Neither story has anything to do with the cause of the sinking of the ship. Which one do you prefer?” The writer replies “The one with the animals”. Pi then says “And so it is with god”.
My thoughts on the story evolved once the realization was in place. The tiger was really a metaphor for Pi’s sense of self. It seems ripped from the drawings of the 10 Bulls. From his search, to the taming of the tiger, to riding it home, to not needing the tiger any more, to being out in the world. The parallel seems so sharp to me, but that could be because I have been focusing on the 10 Bulls lately.
The Search – Pi is fascinated by many religions. He explores all and sees no conflict in them.
Seeing the footprints – This is a difficult one to pin to a specific event in the movie. Pi sees evidence of something more. There is also the event of the tiger killing the goat which changes him. Aboard the ship, Pi sees the beauty of the storm and yells at God to bring more rain.
Perceiving the Bull – Pi kills the cook and sees his true nature. He is surprised and frightened by his actions.
Catching the Bull – Pi fashions a life raft to keep him safe from the tiger. He has no choice but to do this to keep himself alive. He keeps the tiger at bay, and he cannot escape from it and it cannot escape from him. He has the opportunity to let the tiger drown, but he realizes that he cannot kill the tiger. He feels compassion.
Taming the Bull – Pi trains the tiger and becomes disciplined in his actions. It is still a ferocious beast and they are not completely one in action. His self is still separate.
Riding the Bull Home – Pi and the tiger arrive on an island and Pi knows he cannot leave the tiger there. The tiger knows that this is not home. Pi gathers supplies and he and the tiger leave. He sees him as being separate from the tiger, but they are one in action.
Bull Transcended – Pi and the tiger arrive at the beach. The tiger goes to the edge of the jungle, hesitates, and moves on. Pi did this all himself. He survived the 266 days at sea by himself. He did not need the tiger. The tiger was something that he made up to keep going. Is the self the same way?
The last few are not really depicted in the movie, although I could be missing them. I could also be making this connection to the 10 bulls incorrectly.
Bull and Self Transcended – There is no tiger, there is no self, there is no mind.
Reaching the Source – There was no need to search, just find. Everything is and always was here.
In the World – Out in the world, everyone is enlightened.
The final comment “And so it is with god” implies that all things are the same whether God is there or not. We are placed on this earth and our placement here has no effect on what has come before us. Our journey can be a magical one or it can be one of survival. Why not choose the story that you prefer. Choose the story that makes you happy.
If you are interested in the 10 bulls, please check out the following:
Imagine how life would be if your best friend lived your life for you. You would still be you, sitting on a cloud, enjoying a magnificent view. Your best friend would be down on Earth living life. You, on your cloud, would become your best friend’s guru. You would have a direct link to your friend’s mind and you could give advice as you read their thoughts.
From your cloud, what would you tell your friend when they worry about how they look? What would you tell your friend when they feel like they can’t handle a situation? From your cloud, you would fill your friend with confidence and help them to develop amazing habits. You could console them through heartbreak and guide them on amazing adventures.
This is the power that you have over yourself. The only thing that gets in the way is your self. How could you have such confidence in your friend, but doubts about yourself? You just need to find your cloud and become your own best friend.