As I was with a group of friends last night philosophizing over the hookah and a nicely rolled blunt, we struggled to stay warm in the cold air. We sat on the second-floor platform of a building next to an ever-blowing vent, warm air exhaling from its mouth as if it was saying, “relax, my child; breathe and be free.” We reached the subject I had previously written on–how words are only a small fraction of our communication, and that in silence one can sometimes express and discover more, and in pure quality, not allowing words to dissemble the beauty of an idea, image, thought or feeling experienced within the person–and discussed deeper. My seat-sharer stated, “I think art does that” as we talked of deeper forms of communication, as in silence, like how thoughts are exchanged between a well-known friend, how emotions are felt through eyes and auras, and on. Art can express some of these messages that can rarely be understood through words. Take for example, is my description to you of a painting going to create the exact image in your mind, or elicit the exact emotion felt at the onset of seeing it? Ah…but if I could describe that painting to you without words but solely with thoughts and emotions, would it then give you a crystal clear picture, being able to comprehend my exact thought and feeling without them being disfigured in translation? Well, that is for all of us to discover. No good teacher tells a student what the student will or has to learn. No good student presses the teacher for an answer; it is for the student to come upon by one’s own accord.
Then as that conversation closed into a conscious silence activated by our topic of discussion, an unexpected tirade from a rather shy, yet outspoken young lady alerted my mind’s eye. “…evolution”, my seat buddy mentioned. “Evolution is a funny concept”, the young lady boasted, laughing with a tint of scorn. She continued for some time, picking her words carefully like a child searches for a cookie jar. She complained about how Evolution (and any theory of our origin) is looking back into the past, that there is nothing there but conflict, confusion, and losing oneself in the process. “What we need to know”, she punched out steadily, “is now.” As she went on, she unveiled ‘past’ as something to be wary of–searching through the past makes you look backwards.
—-My mind wandered into a corn field. I am moving in one direction. I stop at a thought; I turn around and look back. Now retreating, pushing away corn plants in my way I search for where I though I went wrong. Then, turning around again I head ‘forwards’, and try to refigure my path…but am lost. I get confused, I find conflict in past memories, and cannot remember in which direction I headed before I thought I must fix something. —-
And with repetition and fervor, this young lady practiced her confidence at what she believes to be truth, “it is now that we need to know, and nothing else.” I came upon this with immense interest. I have heard it before. But now it seems so relevant to my life. As the farmer drives the tractor to reap the wheat, the farmer must look forward only lest he or she desires to go a-swerving and make difficult the path ahead to regain intention. I have been looking back to my past much lately. I would not say the past is wrong, immoral, or always dangerous to look upon; it can actually offer much insight into the present, recalling past obstacles and overcoming those difficulties, and joy of happiness and pleasure experienced. But, as being so “stuck in the mud” as I would describe lately–in terms of my stagnant mood, non-seeking of deep satisfaction, low to no interest in activities, rare contentedness–I think that looking back to the past should be limited, if not erased from my everyday approach in life. Moving forward is key. No matter what failures or difficulties befall me, I feel that I must move forward and prevail. I do not mean to portray the idea that we should deny our memories, deny our past actions, be ignorant to how our lives used to be. No. We must accept our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, our dealings. We must take responsibility for the effects we have on other people and our surroundings, for how we treat ourselves, and must accept the reverse–the impact of everyone and everything on us. We must take responsibility, really own up to our shit–and we must also be able to forgive. Others and ourselves.
I seek to be open, accept and take responsibility in all of my life, yet move forwards and ever onwards with my failures and regrets on my sleeve and with my mind on my heart.