The other evening I was meditating. I had not meditated in a long time. I was sitting in my room. There’s a sodium orange streetlamp that hangs level with my bedroom windows. At night it casts my room, with the windows’ rough cotton curtains, in a pale orange, like a red light district as dawn creeps in. To be honest, the light glow of the room is quite nice, the orange-pink light is received by the bed and bureau, but not reflected, as if the light itself is consumed. It looks empty and lifeless outside. Sometimes a cars pass, and sheering sound of tires of on a wet road are muffled by the fact that I am inside.
Eventually I get to a point in meditation where thoughts appear like comets, leaving flecks of themselves on earth as they pass my point of consciousness. Often times I simply sit and hurt. Though you would not be able to tell.
I was meditating and an old voice that hangs around at the dive bar that is my head and started miming words, so I started paying attention. Or rather, my attention was effortlessly drawn to in idea I’d known intimately once, but long forgotten, like the way one forgets the precise and peculiar peccadillos of a lover. And it was saying, “Everyone deserves love” “why?” “Just for existing, there is no why” “Everyone deserves love.” And in that moment my chest and bowels and throat were tight but I felt a lifting, as if sighing actually worked again. I felt a valve open and some of this weird faith comes in.
I remember the last time I started thinking this way. It was, maybe six years ago, maybe more, it was everything my continually skeptical, cynical, unknowingly nihilistic self-hated. And to be honest there was some decent reasoning in disliking the mantra: it was a cliché. It hurt when people would chant something to others as advice or comfort (these are totally different things that tend to be mixed up. Never ask for comfort from someone who traffics primarily in advice) and there would be a totally lack of connection, as if the cliché itself kept people from engage with each other.[i]
And of course, this makes sense. Intimacy is scary, we aren’t taught much about our emotions and what we’re taught tends to be really fucked up and maybe most importantly, it is so difficult to capture any essence of what travels around in us from one moment to the next and hope to share that in an understandable manner. It’s damn near impossible and yet we have to continue trying. Don’t ask why; just take my word for it.
I used to ask why after every question. I loved my curiosity, but it kills cats for a reason: it’s not that it delivers us dangerous answer, but rather, that we can’t live on a life line of constant questions, or at least I can’t when basic self-acceptance is something I have to work for. And this, I think, is the purpose of faith; not to believe in ideas or constructs, but to trust certain feelings that are in themselves explanations of why they should stick around. I could just as easily put faith in depression and start thinking (again, like a rational egotist/neo-Darwinian who doesn’t seem to care about existential problems) humans are by default self-serving and desire is the only thing to satiate (or will, or whatever other boogeyman like drive you want to insert). The world is a much scarier place if it put faith into that feeling of fear and competition and domination. I would rather leave it in the hands of a generous idea and an intelligently compassionate feeling: everybody deserves love. Even when I hate myself for being a jealous, self-serving bastard: still deserve it. And you, yeah you deserve it all the time. And it’s sappy and that’s hard for me to stand behind such a sappy cliché and evangelize it, but, fuck it: I do.
The thing is, I have to remember this emotionally which is really hard to do during the day when I’m busy with less meaningful shit. I have to do it in the dark and hope that I can share those dark moments with someone might agree.
[i] Quick example: Trevor walks into the office. “How are you Trisha?” he says with good intention. “Not great Trev, broke up with Jake a few days ago. I’m having a hard time.” “That stinks, but life goes on, right? Now’s a great time to work on yourself” “Yeah… So how are you?” “Same, not great. We caught Jeremy starting a fight. I don’t get it. I never fought, I feel like I might be spending too much time here.” “Well, this too shall pass, right? Maybe it’s a phase” “Yeah” Trevor goes to his cubicle and later talks to Trisha about the weather. Then they get in separate cars and drive on separate roads and sleep.