Who Are We?

   I cleaned out from under my bed today. Everything under there was from elementary school (somehow, at age 22). It seems as though I was quick to throw away middle school, but not so much my elementary years. I can recall having a fulfilling 5th grade. I had 3 best friends, one of which was in my class. Even though life got strange at times, I felt capable despite insecurities and obstacles. Right after that, all three friends moved, my muse died (I was a creative kid), and I distinctly remember going into every department store and finding nothing that would fit me, a metaphor for the times.

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I was a better artist at 10 than I am now apparently.

   Despite having a fond recollection, I look back and I feel detached from this person. I cannot connect to the photos or memories, although they are still strong and clear in my mind. I’ve never been one to dwell on the past, “It distracts from the now” as Edna from The Incredibles famously stated.

   Several weeks before this mass removal of childhood paraphernalia, I found myself dwelling on the little known fact that all the atoms in our body are recycled every 7 years or so. It was a topic I naturally gravitated towards given my recent checkpoint in life. We are not made up of the same composition we had when we were born. Everything was replaced, and deposited somewhere to maintain a general form. In this sense, we do not have the same exact makeup when we were seven either, or during our favorite adolescent memories compared to now. Even the expression of our DNA can alter slightly when environmental cues turn certain genes on and off  (This is called epigenetics in science. In a spiritual sense of ascension, it is called DNA activation).

   For me, there is this disconnect, and relation existing simultaneously. It’s as if it is already a past life, with a line of consciousness connecting all physical states of being, holding them together. Coincidentally, my Uncle sent me a quote from James Gleick he thought I’d like that pertains to all of this. It states “Mind must be a sort of dynamical pattern, not so much founded in a neurological substrate as floating above it, independent of it.”

Perhaps past lives are like that when we die and finally remember what we are. Although these past character states used to be our most recent self at one point, we moved on and no longer associate it with our compete identity. Perhaps our identity is more of what we are now and where we are going than what has happened to us and what we previously experienced.

Who are we, or perhaps, what are we? Just a thought…

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Facing the Blind Deaf Stone Alone

“…the sea’s only gifts are harsh blows and, occasionally, the chance to feel strong. Now, I don’t know much about the sea, but I do know that that’s the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your own hands and your own head…” – Primo Levi


Let me just say, I hate this sculpture.

I don’t know where it came from or why it’s there. All I know is that I’ve had to look at it almost every morning for three years. Three years and thankfully not four, as I spent one year in California, which only seems like a dream now.

It is displayed up on a hill that the express bus passes on its run from the South parking lot to campus. Every morning I saw this wretched thing and questioned what it’s supposed to mean. What’s the point of a concrete swing frozen in time? Why is it pale yellow? I don’t know what the actual intentions are for it, but to me it symbolized something very cynical, dark even. Like a warning sign to anyone entering campus, there’s a subliminal message of fruitless efforts, inhibition of joy, and an overall sense of hopelessness. Fruitless efforts for when you’re on a swing but the chains are fixed. Joy of a favorite pastime activity taken away. Knowing that even if the thing were to come to life, you’d only go back and forth indefinitely, until you got off. As of 5/20/16, I got off this swing and walked away.

It must be very hard for others to understand, with the great reputation for “higher education”. I understand this, and I also understand that this is my journey and you have your journey, and there aren’t going to be equivalencies at ever turn. But I mean every word when I say this was the hardest part of my life. To me, this was a time when I was thrown into a dark room with no light and no exit point. It was like being stuck on a road that never ends. I strapped myself into some sort of machine that looked like Kerry, but was not Kerry, and went about my life in the way that was asked of me. I didn’t feel like my life was my own. All efforts I put forth were washed down the drain so consistently that it brought me to the point where I even questioned if there was some divine intervention putting all it’s strength into sabotaging my plans and putting me on an entirely different route. It put a veil between me and the rest of world so that when I went to push, nothing moved. Every visualization of of trying to become something was squandered, and no one who knew me saw it. I don’t know how they could. When you’re moving through a similar medium, and people experience something entirely different from what you are, it is almost impossible for them to put themselves in your shoes, and so on top of everything also came isolation and loneliness.

Thankfully, when I turned away form the world and went inside, I found something. It was Metanoia, a light in the dark, something with potential disguised as something small and ambiguous. It was a seed, and it’s this seed that I’m going to water and nurture from now on.

The human race is dissonance, a cacophony of emptiness. People castrate their consciousness with alcohol, drugs, sex, money, and comfortable routine. Being even just a little disconnected from that in developing years allowed for an authentic emanation of self. This sets me apart more than anything else from my peers. It just may be the disruption in the pattern that made my efforts ineffective here. I found essence, and thats all I want to experience now, untainted by the vibrational garbage drowning it out and forcing it under. I look around to see that family and friends have not been as lucky to have a center. Or am I the unlucky one? Facing the blind deaf stone alone, it sometimes feels like I was placed in some sort of solitary confinement born out of the collective unconsciousness. When you enter, you begin to live another life entirely. Facing the blind deaf stone alone, I’m not accompanied with anyone who has the capacity to see me, or know what it is I’m trying to achieve here. I’m up against so much right now. I’m up against my unconscious peers when I seek enlightenment. I’m up against my genetics which was born out of generations of people who were afraid to take risks and lived comfortably numb, asleep at the wheel as my brother likes to put it. I have no role models, or examples to follow. I have no way of navigation. I have no finances. I only have a vague sense of the home that lies somewhere on the other side of this, far, far away. I desperately want to get there. I am uncertain, but determined, and maybe I needed Stony Brook University for this reason, to be plunged into darkness so that I would no longer tolerate anything but light, and everything that comes with it.

To all those listening, thank you, and I love you.

 

Artwork credited to Niken Anindita

The Freedom to Choose

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

  Hello to all my loyal followers, and hello to any newcomers.

   Now that the spring semester has begun, most of my time and energy will be funneled into school, especially since I am trying to secure my graduation for May. This unfortunately means less  posts, and allotting any free time I have to writing my novel, so I apologize for the lack of posts over the next few months.

   I’m finding that this is a very unnerving time in my life where there is much uncertainty for the future, and fear of this unknown. It is not so much the typical scenario for all youth where there is a dilemma in not knowing ones purpose or passion. Its more of an anxiety brought on by the apparent lack of opportunity after a life of trying to produce just the opposite. This discomfort brings me to what I wish to talk about today.

   I see it in others and I see it in myself. Very often we believe that we are stuck in life. We don’t think we can get out of our career choice, our job, our relationship, our geography, our finances, or anything at all. Perhaps the mindset comes from knowing that these situations were completely circumstantial, which often is the main factor controlling where we end up in life at some point, despite our best efforts, and despite what we’re told about things like hard work and perseverance. But recently I was reminded of something, and it prompted me to take my own advice.

 

   I’ve seen horrific things that people must endure on this plane of existence, things I will not go into detail. I’ve been fortunate enough, and thankful for having a life in which I did not have to go through these things, and yet still be able to learn something from being a bystander. What I’ve learned from these people is that there always is a choice, no matter what. There really are no excuses.

   I must convey what making a choice actually entails here. When you are depressed for example, you do not simply decide to start feeling better and make it so the day after. This is what many people mistakenly say to others, especially those who have never been through great hardship (or for those who have and see this as a way to avoid their baggage rather than working with it and truly moving on). Change doesn’t work like that here. For some, it takes an entire lifetime to bring forth some manifestation, or a change in destiny. For these people, it was between that and never breaking free, and they chose freedom. With this, you are presented with the option to let life happen to you, or to gather up some courage for the long haul. I suppose everyone is different, but I  would rather have a life trying to get somewhere. I would not want to give my power over to circumstance. I do not believe thats what I, or any of us were meant to do. As the saying goes, “After all, none of us are getting out alive anyway”. In the end it didn’t matter what occurred for the people who took control of their destiny. What mattered was that they acknowledged their position, had a conversation with themselves, and started looking for a way to make a change. They evaluated what was worth taking and what was worth leaving behind.

   I have no idea if this will strike a chord with any of you at this time. Perhaps it does for some time in your past, or perhaps it will somewhere down the line in your future. Either way, I felt compelled to say something about this.

   For me personally, there is this feeling of being lost, but not in life, in another way entirely. I recently heard someone present the question “Where is my Joy?”. Yes, where is my joy? Where is that old friend? For me, it is misplaced in the distractions and the checklists and the obligations. I warn myself not to disconnect from the path that leads me to my bliss, because when I do, I could temporarily lose my way back to that. This is where I find myself now. Overcoming this may be the way to dislodge myself from the clingy sap of self doubt, mistrust, and disappointment.

   Perhaps getting back to oneself in this way is not as complicated as it feels. There’s a song by my favorite artist Aurora I wish to share that resonates with this.

   In her song, it is extremely frank, and yet so eloquently put.

   “I know I can. Thats why I do it.”

 

Featured image credited to Folkert Gorter

Created to Create

“Imagination is more powerful than knowledge”

-Albert Einstein

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In my own personal quest of understanding, I am encountering more and more often the idea of how our thoughts manifest into physical reality, and how we were created to create. This is true, and not necessarily on some mystical level that lacks rationality. We see it every day with our technologies. Our entire civilization is built on a foundation of things that were once ideas. It all had to be conceived first. Imagination is more important than knowledge because imagination manifests knowledge.

Think of a brick layer, whose tools, bricks and cement would represent knowledge, the facts that are at hand. These materials mean nothing if you don’t know what to do with them, just as facts are meaningless without a way to postulate scenarios. (I like this analogy because it also hints at the importance of the materials to build what we conceive, the role that knowledge plays in this scheme). Imagination gives knowledge shape, and therefore meaning.

All this, and yet our public schools are keen on teaching children how to think, and that the facts listed on a lecture slide in college is what will determine whether you are a functioning citizen. Perhaps this approach does make you a functioning citizen, but not in the way that is unique to yourself, not in a way that incorporates your own full potential.

I am writing this as a frustrated participant of this system. As a junior in college, I’m tired of the perpetual quest of trying to emulate what my external environment wants out of me, rather than simply drawing upon what I already know, working with what comes naturally, and applying it to our society in the most constructive way possible. I am weary of the idea that nothing is more important than making yourself into something that someone else wants.

So while we live in a civilization of such impressive creations, how is creating not given more weight in our external and internal lives? I suppose there could be a few answers to this, one major reason being money and greed. Our creations have been centric to this facet, virtually becoming a God of sorts, as it seems to be the reason we do anything today. We have to. Some of us create to earn a living, so we can eat food, to live and make more money, and so on. And so it is not about creating to create, but creating something that fits the status quo. This methodology ultimately leaks into the education system and the vicious cycle continues.

I understand that there is a reason why things are the way they are. I understand there are ideals that are simply not ready for our way of life, and that we have a long way to go towards a system that is morally sound and embraces humanity, rather than one that oppresses and controls it. However, I think there is still something we can take from these ideals, and although I’m not certain of how, I believe there are small ways to effect change.

I think it starts with waking up and realizing the distinction between our life’s purpose and our means of survival, because as humans, these things are completely separate and unrelated. It surprises me every day just how many people have forgotten that we have free will, and that we have a choice despite the constraints of our environment (which ironically, could potentially be eliminated with the realization of this fact). In many ways, we are a cog in the wheel. But I don’t believe we were meant to be cogs for this particular wheel, which is of control and prohibition. You have a choice to be what you want to be. To live your life like a song, a painting, poem, or an interesting novel, whatever suites your soul. And when you do this, something beautiful happens. Not just for yourself, but for those witnessing the change around you, who can then begin to believe that they too have this power, and they too can live life with greater purpose.

Our creations will change us, and how this happens is solely dependent on what we think is worthy of creation, either that of money or that of who we truly are at the core. This translates to the choice to keep living like we are living, or to live as we naturally came: created to create.

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 “When I say be creative, I don’t mean that you should all go become great painters and great poets. I simply mean let your life be a painting, let your life be a poem”

 -Osho

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way” -E.L. Doctorow

Is this what writing a novel is like for everyone? I can’t imagine J.K. Rowling knowing every single detail of her glorious series as she sat down to write The Sorcerer’s Stone. No. It is exactly what the quote suggests. It is operating a dream space that can only be illuminated and seen once you begin the journey and go there yourself. She did not not where she was going, and yet she knew she had to do it. 

It is happening to me right now. I have been working on this project for a long time, and have finally entered the stage of execution. Plans are set. Countless days have been spent dreaming up ideas, asking the ether questions about what to make of my story.

Although everything isn’t entirely in its place, it is now demanded that the ideas be put on paper, to manifest out of the invisible atmosphere and into reality. It’s time to fill in the spaces I have not been able to ascertain, and although I know what direction I’m going in and a vague understanding of the destination, I have no idea what I’ll encounter on the way there, or what new insights I will come upon when I finally do get there.

What is interesting to me is that life also feels like this. We don’t know where we’re going, but we make a decision once we get to a certain check point, and so the story goes, as if we were the authors of our own lives. As if our life was a creation in it of itself.

Wish me good luck, and safe travels to you all.

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