Across the Universe

-Loquacious Llama

I sat alone in the dark and meditated. I thought long and deep about the nature of existence and how we connect to every living thing and the oneness of life and If there existed any higher forces or beings. Then, five minutes later, I realized it was all a front. I’m not a very spiritual person, and never will be. I couldn’t meditate for long because I didn’t know what to meditate about.

A spiritual experience can be loosely defined as a feeling of communion with the universe, a reduced interest in materialistic objects, a feeling of connection to the past, a decreased interest in superfluous social interaction and a redefinition of your ideas about time and space, life and death. In that sense, it can mostly be understood as indistinguishable from a very strong emotional experience, an awakening of sorts. Or so I had read. But what I found was that while it was easy to imagine such an experience, it was much harder to actually have one. So I gave up, lit a joint, and watched The Guru instead. This is a chronicle of that experience.

Of course, I realize there is much more to an experience than can be put into words and that my experience could probably never be replicated, but isn’t that the point of writing this down? So that you can give others a window into your thoughts and life, no matter how small and so that you might be able to preserve better some tiny part of the memory of said experience. Also, mind that this is merely a philosophical thought experiment, not a religious one in any way. These are merely the opinions and thoughts of one fool, trying to make sense of his exploits and also share them, for the benefit (?) of others.

There are seven chakras that go up the body. Each pool of energy has a purpose, and can be blocked by a specific kind of emotional muck. Be warned…opening the chakras is an intense experience, and once you begin the process, you cannot stop until all seven are open. Are you ready?

I am. I close my eyes. I find myself on the path to the self, in my mind. I get up and begin to walk.

The Earth chakra: located at the bottom of the spine, deals with survival, is blocked by fear

What am I afraid of? I’m afraid to turn out to be a disappointment, a disappointment to my close ones wouldn’t be harsh, but a disappointment to myself? I’m afraid of the day I’ll have to confront that reality. I’m afraid of consequences of my actions, I’ve been running away from them since so long ago, I have forgotten what it was like before, to go through life not feeling haunted, not having to look over your shoulder every now and then. Am I afraid of death? No, I’ve come to grips with my own mortality, strangely enough, or merely convinced myself that I have. Memento mori and what-not. And since I don’t live in a world where I have to fear death approaching at every turn, I don’t really know if I really have. I don’t merely have to survive anymore and the idea of survival has morphed into that of leading a meaningful existence. I also, like most ozymandians, fear being forgotten. I fear passing through life, never being understood and overlooked, consigned to oblivion. I often worry about the purpose to all my running about. I am nothing more than a stupid, tiny little dot on another little dot in the grander scale of things. What does anything I do matter? Why do we do anything at all, if it is inevitable that the sands of time will slowly erode away all traces of it ever existing? What do we gain from these futile endeavors? Why even bother anymore? I gaze to my left and see the golden calf I have built unto myself. In my mind, I am the center of the universe and I believe, stupidly enough, that everyone should remember me. I also see that I worry so much about the future that I often forget to live in the present, and how can you have a future if you don’t have a present? I pull down the statue, smashing it to bits on the ground. I find an odd satisfaction in doing that, perhaps my mind reassuring me that I am making progress, no matter how small.

The Water chakra: deals with pleasure, and is blocked by guilt

I see all the opportunities I wasted through my life fluttering softly in a small golden cage. The cage itself is tied to my heart. I can feel it pull something slightly asunder with every flutter. Every single time I made a silly mistake, every single quiz I lost by my stupidity. I realize I am weighed down by the cage. It is preventing me from moving ahead. I pull at the ropes, but nothing seems to budge. I am tiny before these forces, a tiny being, floating in on a wish. I pull myself together. I know that the saddest phrase in English has to be it might have been. There’s no point wishing on the past and by doing that I also overlook all the things I do have. All the glowing little opportunities in the jar I carry on me. I balance the cage with my jar. Again, that satisfying feeling, my brain playing tricks with dopamine, again. I am a little skeptical now.

The Fire chakra: located in the stomach, deals with willpower and is blocked by shame

I keep walking. I look ahead and I see myself, sometime from now, trying to assure myself of the fact that what I had written wasn’t entirely worthless. I had and always will probably be ashamed of what I write, unsure of as to its quality. I doubt the identity of the person who is right now, typing these words in, if he really is me, or a version of me who is certain that these words are the right ones to use. And since this is the real world, and I cannot change my will power at this instant, mustering enough will to convince myself without reaffirming, I continue to float immobile in this ocean of doubt. I wish for the willpower to assure my self-worth, the willpower not to let it be affected that easily, and the willpower to assuage my self-doubt. Hollow, empty wishes, flitting away into the darkness. I sink to the bottom and walk on.

The fourth chakra is located in the heart. It deals with love and is blocked by grief.

A framed picture hangs on the wall. Our failures define us, it assures me. That does not bother me a lot. I have failed so many times that I barely feel it at all, anymore. I’ll explain. See, I keep cats at home. And the thing with letting cats loose and free is, that you’ll soon have Fibonacci-an numbers of them pattering about. At one time, we could count 14, ranging from a week old to a 3-year-old. But the problem was, we suddenly had an infestation of stray dogs in the neighborhood. And I tell you, it is one thing seeing Spike chase Tom around, it’s another seeing a cat being thrashed about in a rabid dogs teeth, and then slowly dying as its organs rupture and bleed internally. They die painful, tortured deaths. And it breaks your heart every time this happens. But you see, as this goes on, you realize you don’t feel as much pain anymore. You’ve been desensitized, you’ve hardened your heart. But I realize what the show is saying at this point is true. That’s the thing about love, it never dies out, it just changes from one form to another. I now have three new kittens at home that I haven’t yet laid eyes on, waiting for me to get back. And I don’t doubt that I will fall in love all over again with them. And no doubt, at some point my emotional attachment to that cat might cause me grief when it passes away. But that’s the point of love. It’s vulnerability. It might cause me pain when it dies, but while it lives, I wouldn’t trade it for any other feeling in the world.

The Sound chakra: located in the throat. It deals with truth and is blocked by lies. The ones we tell ourselves.

I often try to justify my interests as well as my mistakes. I’ve found myself telling me that I do them for a reason. That I have some control over that part of my life. I’ve used that lie till its been worn thin. But you see, I’ve never actually lived. All I’ve done is move from one lamppost to another on the dark street that is life, never once venturing outside my comfort zone, never once challenging myself in any way. It’s often amazing how easily we can fool ourselves into thinking contrary to all logic and reasoning. I avoid the truth because it is bitter and hard to accept. I fall victim to my own hubris, so much more often than not. I am blind to things right in front of me, and deaf to the most obvious of signals that something is wrong, because I’m really closing my eyes and ears and going lalalalalala, refusing to accept truth, reality. It’s just like a Paris syndrome of my own. I know seeing this Paris might break me and so I cushion myself from the blow by not visiting this Paris and preferring to preserve the romantic mental image of it, keeping it intact. But even if you avoid Paris all your life, you do know that one day, even if you don’t go there, Paris will come to you. But escapist that I am, I leave that day for another. When that day comes, I’ll deal with it. I shrink away like a rat, still moving ahead, hoping to see an end, a conclusion to my travels, for I am weary.

The Light chakra: located in the center of the forehead, deals with insight and is blocked by illusion.

I find myself often thinking about how a person’s reality might just be a construct or even an extension of his mind. Everyone lives in their own little fantasy land reality, with their friends and their lives. You choose your own poison. That way, you know why every person’s life experiences are different, it’s because they simply perceive life in that way. And the best part is, no one ever challenges this. As a species, we simply enjoy stasis. We reject anything out of the ordinary, wishing to stay balled up in our little cocoon realities, sometimes even resorting to violence to avoid change, refusing to see that the world is nothing but change, turbulent, chaotic change. Nothing is permanent. But of course, these are also merely thoughts, ideas, that make the world seem to be much more classified and less chaotic than it actually is. It feels good to be able to explain the unknown, gaining a better grip on my perception of reality, or at least convincing myself that I have, because it is both tough and scary to imagine a tumultuous world, always in turmoil. And while I do gain some insight when I think about this, I can never truly be free of the illusion until I actually break free of the cocoon. Until I embrace the fact that all is one and one is all. There is no separation between people or for that matter, living things. We live in the same shared reality and our actions affect this chaotic reality directly. And until I learn to live in this reality, rather than my own, I will not be able to see much beyond myself. But, the cocoon is warm and inviting. Why bother doing any of those things? You can get through life with just one perception of reality, your own. I see that while this is not something I would do if I wanted to move ahead spiritually, the reasoning is logical, it makes sense. I step into the warm embrace of the cocoon. Suddenly I am clutching nothing. I make a slow crash landing on a narrow path. Seeing no other way to go, for now, I move onward.

The Thought chakra: located at the crown of the head, deals with pure cosmic energy and is blocked by earthly attachment.

Like all normal humans, I worry about my possessions, look at that ego go, huh. “My”. I put stress on that syllable without even thinking about it. We’ve been raised as materialists, and though the books try to explain how it does not conflict with the heart chakra, saying things like “But what this really means is,” and this is really corny but bear with me, “that when you love something, you must accept that at some point it will pass on. In other words, you must learn to let it go.“ I cannot accept those conflicting emotions. I see the inherent hypocrisy there. Oh, what’s the point! I was gonna toss out some more stuff like pain is an illusion, happiness is an illusion, we get so caught up in this illusory world, and so forth, but I just realized, all this is effort is worth nothing. I cannot change anything. I can see the train wreck ahead from my window seat, inching there little by little. I can see that if I hung myself right now, it would probably be a week before anyone would notice or care. I see the worthlessness in me, jeering at me, knowing I can do nothing to change it, and my mind, weakly rationalizing, murmuring something along the lines of “This too will pass”, telling me to keep walking. I see no point in going on. I jump off the path and into the abyss.

No, Aang! By choosing attachment, you have locked the chakra! If you leave now, you won’t be able to go into the Avatar State at all!

And that brings us to the present. Whoo! Two thousand four hundred words of convincing fiction in an hour! Well, convincing enough. Boy! I could really do with some onion and banana juice, right about now.

[P.S. A concern was raised that this was much too personal stuff. Well, I think Nathaniel Hawthorne puts it best in The Custom House (introduction to the scarlet letter), where he says, ”The truth seems to be, however, that, when he casts his leaves forth upon the wind, the author addresses, not the many who will fling aside his volume, or never take it up, but the few who will understand him, better than most of his schoolmates or lifemates. Some authors, indeed, do far more than this, and indulge themselves in such confidential depths of revelation as could fittingly be addressed, only and exclusively, to the one heart and mind of perfect sympathy; as if the printed book, thrown at large on the wide world, were certain to find out the divided segment of the writer’s own nature, and complete his circle of existence by bringing him into communion with it. It is scarcely decorous, however, to speak all, even where we speak impersonally. But—as thoughts are frozen and utterance benumbed, unless the speaker stand in some true relation with his audience—it may be pardonable to imagine that a friend, a kind and apprehensive, though not the closest friend, is listening to our talk; and then, a native reserve being thawed by this genial consciousness, we may prate of the circumstances that lie around us, and even of ourself, but still keep the inmost Me behind its veil. To this extent and within these limits, an author, methinks, may be autobiographical, without violating either the reader’s rights or his own.”. And though this is unnecessary, I will again remind you this is nothing but fiction. What else can you call something that takes place mostly in your imagination?]

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1 Comment

Filed under Prose

One response to “Across the Universe

  1. I think Trip-fic is the right tag for this one. As I was going through it, I realized that you have mentioned (probably inadvertently) several ideas discussed in our Literature and Ideology course.

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