“The Atman Cometh”
“The farther one travels, The less one knows…”
In Buddhism, it’s referred to as “The Self.”
In Hinduism, it’s known as the “Inner Self” or “Soul”
The “It” I’m referring to is Atman – in a nutshell, it makes a person a person. The Self is our individualized Spirit – the nature of which is supposed to be ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-joyful. But, being humans with a tendency to overcomplicate & hyper-clutter our lives with unnecessary worry, unnecessary stuff & unnecessary people, so many are blind to what lies within (and not without).
I know – kinda sounds harsh (especially the unnecessary people part). But if you’re going to be honest with yourself, there are people in your life who siphon away your precious life energy with their selfishness and negativity. Sad thing is you want to tell them to piss off and never darken your doorway ever again. But you’re caught in a revolving door of unintentional, emotional self-flagellation. How friggin’ stupid is that?
I say this with all compassion and the knowledge because I was you. Anyone with a heart and a need to please others ultimately becomes the victim of their own good intentions. Friends, family, acquaintances – they all can see you coming from a mile away. On the back of your shirt says the word “SUCKER.” It only manifests once you’re wearing it. What’s even worse is the people who know you best can be the ones to take advantage of your good nature (this is the part where I would usually go on rant about how blood relatives can be the bane of your existence. But I’ll refrain…for now).
Actually, I won’t.
I’ll never forget a conversation I once had with my brother about 20 years or so….
(a little “Reader’s Digest” background here… My brother is 10 years older than me, has lived alone a grand total of five or six years his entire life, been out of work more than he’s been in, and is one of those guys who feels he’s an authority on any subject just because he took a single course at a community college. Love the guy, but busting his balls was my first real job in life…)
Anyway, I’d moved away to Martha’s Vineyard to continue my rag-tag radio career at island radio station WMVY. It was my first day of work when I met my wife, Laurel. A more beautiful person – inside and out – you’ll never meet. Having come from a family where everything positive or not conventional was looked upon as stupid or asinine, Laurel turned my head around when she said “happiness is a choice.”
No-brainer, right? Well, not from MY world it wasn’t.
From that point forward, I really tried to be a “glass-half full” kinda guy – even if I wasn’t feeling it.
Then came the fateful conversation with big brother. Bitching and complaining about everything – work, life, people, the medical profession, and the absolute GALL of me to move away from the family and create a life for myself (everything was seen as a betrayal – typical Irish Catholic horse shit, you know…). I, on the other hand, was really immersed in the words my Laurel said to me – about happiness being a choice. So I was constantly optimistic – even if I didn’t truly feel it, I made myself be. So I was countering every bit of bullshit he was flinging my way. Then I’m guessing he’d had enough of my not partaking in his “misery loves company” soiree and he says to me “I don’t understand how you can be so goddamned cheerful.” An immediate smirk overcame my entire body and I shot back, “What am I supposed to be? A miserable prick like you?”
The conversation ended pretty quickly after that.
If you ever truly felt like breaking a vicious cycle just know it won’t be easy (nothing ever worth-while ever is). In fact, there’ll be a shitload of frustrating moments toward the beginning of this ages-old solution. Some call it prayer. Some call it quiet time. True seekers of change within themselves know it as Meditation. True, honest-to-goodness, sacred space quiet time for you and your desire to change and find peace within.
Forget the typical stereotype that is attached to those who meditate – PLEASE. Not everyone who ascribes to the tenets of Meditation is decked out in robes, rings finger bells and passes pamphlets out at the airport. Those types are the ones who need attention – the celebrity types who want you to know they’re “Spiritually Sagacious, Right On & Solid.” You’ve seen ’em – Russell Simmons, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr – all those “Dharma Dudes and Tantric Trollops” who flock to David Lynch for the ex cathedra words of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Kiss my ass and undertake your journey privately, Abner.
For you to really understand what makes you tick – just you and the many thoughts you have rolling around inside your noggin’, you have to go all-introspective – privately. Don’t announce you’re heading off to Rishikesh to study at some ashram. It’s been done (the public proclamation, that is). If the mere fact that The Beatles and few others made a public pilgrimmage to see the Maharishi in 1968 encourages you to delve deeper into your clockworks, that’s awesome. BUT, do it for the right reasons. To sound cool and yogic-like, Mr. Lynch will gladly enfold your ego & endorse your check.
Re-aquaint yourself with yourself. When was the last time you had alone time with your bad self? When was the last time you looked in the mirror and asked how you were doing and answered honestly? If you never went through that ritual, that might not be such a bad first step.
We ALL need to do a little soul farming, ya know? The way to do it – the way I’ve been practicing is through meditation. And just like anything, the more you do it, the better you get at keeping those pain in the ass day-to-day distractions at bay. And ya know, if your portal into this world is someone like George Harrison – and the rest of The Beatles – and a guy like Gary Wright so be it. Ultimately, when it’s just you and your thoughts and your sacred space, your Soul Construction and Coming out party has only just begun…
Simplify. Don’t overthink. Don’t overcomplicate. Don’t overdo it. If you feel buttoned-up in five minutes of meditation, that’s all that matters. Find YOUR method, be with it, and own it. It IS about being here now – not forecasting what’s going to happen, or dwelling on what did happen, or worrying about what might happen, or what this person might think of you – talk about just pissing your valuable energy away. God knows we’ve all done it.
Just take solace in the certainty that as we get older we can “square up” with ourselves, insofar that you begin not to give a rat’s ass about things that once really hung you up mentally & emotionally. If you’re past the age of 50 then you are well-aquainted with this wonderful feeling. If you’re one who was born after the Baby Boomer cut-off, at least you have something to look forward to.