Okay, time to get a little personal and admit my own vulnerability. I have gotten a little nuts lately. Okay, maybe a lot nuts. I’ve been on a revolving door of various anti-depressants for four years and lately I’m starting to wonder what’s real and unreal, what do I truly think and feel, and what is merely imagined or a by-product of the medication I’ve chosen to take in order to silence my inner critic. Over the last few months, I seem to have developed unhealthy obsessions with alternative news sources, strange opinions and theories borne of little more than fear of the unknown. While there may be merit in considering alternate explanations for events in the world, losing sight of the all-important nature of the universe while doing so is the very definition of madness.
Within this crisis of faith, however, is the kernel of truth that I feel is the purpose of this journey of mine. You see, I have long subscribed to the idea that we as a collective species are one. In fact, I believe that the entire universe is one. There is a difference between stating that as a theory, though, and truly waking up to the realization. There are many troubles in the world, and there is suffering nearly everywhere. Now, when you have the luxury of seeing the world as an “other”, you have the option of driving past this car accident of grief and sorrow, rubbernecking a tad and then moving on with your day. When you become one with the universe, when you feel it in your bones and in your cells and in your consciousness, this doesn’t work. You’re no longer looking at the accident from a distance. You’re in the accident itself. It becomes difficult not to see the dire emergency of the situation and not feel the compulsion to turn to your fellow passengers in the car and scream at them, “We are going to die!!!!!”
But this is useless. And it is false, for it is only our perspective that has dreamed up the accident. Instead of seeing the oncoming storm and the calamity it brings, why not choose to make the sky clear, the sun bright? For our perspective is ours, and it is within us, every one of us to see what we will. Instead of a car accident, we can be in a garden of warm grass listening to the songs of the birds and the blowing of the breeze. It is our fear alone that prevents this.
This is not to say that calamity will not strike. As much as we are one with the universe, the yin and yang of creation and chaos is not going to pause just because we are near. Change will occur, and the upheaval it brings will sometimes move the ground beneath our feet. But you cannot stop the earthquake by screaming at the ground.
I’m going to fall back on a comic book analogy here, because at 35, I’ve finally allowed myself to embrace my inner nerd instead of ridiculing it. I spent my youth subconsciously building a morality rooted in the mythos of Marvel comics. And, you know, as far as worldviews go, I don’t think it’s that bad. That said, I never cared for the Silver Surfer. While I love Jack Kirby, his creator, I always thought the character was way too goofy for words. I mean, come on, cosmic being drifting through the universe righting cosmic wrongs and he does so on an Earth-based surfboard even though he’s not from Earth? Ridiculous.
But I was missing the point. I was criticizing the tree and failing to see the forest. There was a reason Kirby put him on a surfboard, and it had nothing to do with marketing to the Beach Boy generation (well, maybe it had a little to do with that). It’s because, from a cosmic perspective, that’s all we can do. The waves are going to come, the waves are going to go. Some will be strong, some will be weak. Some days you’ll hang ten, some days you aren’t going to do much at all. Some days the Perfect Storm will rise up out of the water and crash you, Marky-Mark and George Clooney right to the bottom of the ocean. But you can’t yell at the sea. You can’t shake your fist and wonder why the water is so unforgiving and cruel.
All you can do is get up on your board and ride the wave.
“Ride the spiral to the end
You may just go where no one’s been
Spiral out, keep going…”
- Tool, Lateralis, 2001