Friday, May 18, 2012

No Reason to Expect More

It has been more than six months since my sabbatical began.  My plans to live the life of a vagabond have been largely derailed by, first, the realities of dealing with bills, lawn care, and the like and, second, the death of my brother-in-law.  But still I have spent these past six-plus months enjoying a life without an 8 to 5 job.

I've spent more time on my one remaining business obligation than I'd like, but far less than I should have done if I want to keep the business alive, much less prosper.  I have come to understand, though, that I have no love for the business, not even a little.  In fact, I have almost no tolerance for it.  I want to be shed of it, though it could be my only financial resource when the inevitable time comes for me to go back to work.  That time is far too soon, I'm afraid.

Several of my projects have been addressed during the past several months, though, including getting some work done on (and doing some work myself on) my house.  But there are way too many projects remaining undone.  I want to get to them, but I want to travel, as well.  When push comes to shove, I think I'll opt to work on the house.  It is, after all, where I spend the bulk of my time.

I feel like I've wasted a big part of the year I planned to reinvent myself.  I want to reignite my entrepreneurial spirit, but I want to relax, too.   As always, life is a series of compromises that sometimes lead to discontent.

But I have oxygen to breathe, water to drink, and shelter.  I have no reason to expect more.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Enlightenment of Another Kind

Early one recent morning, just before 9:00 am, I attained a certain level of enlightenment. It may be transitory, like so many epiphanies before it, but it doesn't feel impermanent. But then, neither did the myriad others.

I'd been scratching my head about existence. You know, why we are here, where "here" is, where "there" is, and other questions with no unequivocal answers. The easy answers come from "faith," which I do not have. 

This morning, for no apparent reason, I was wondering why it matters to me. Why do I care about "why," anyway? It hit me in an instant. It's simply an emotional response to uncertainty.

We are all about our emotions. That's it. That's all it is. Emotions control us. They drive us. They are in control. Not us. When we ask ourselves, or others ask us, to control our emotions, we're being asked to do the undoable. We cannot control our emotions. It's impossible. If we could, we'd be empty vessels. There would be nothing to us but meat and bone. Walking corpses. Zombies. Humans are, well, human because we possess a unique combination of intellect and emotion.

All of this relates directly to another question that has been nagging at me for eternity as I know it. That question, of course, has to do with spirituality and a related state of confusion, belief in a supreme being. The question is: why do so many people believe in some god or other? I have long asked myself: why can't they see how utterly fantastical such a belief is?

And today's answer: it's all about emotion. Just as I have emotional responses of one kind or another to music, poetry, human suffering, uncertainty, and so on, some people also have emotional responses to unanswerable questions. Their emotions are so strong, their needs to understand are so great, that they accept divine explanations. They allow "faith" to fill the void created by an emotional need for answers. I am different only to the extent that I don't "need" to know, I just want to know. I accept that I cannot know, because it is my conviction that there is no explanation.