Monday, May 30, 2011

The Fivefold Path

The Fivefold Path

I have as usual been obsessing over some very ridiculous things to the point of questioning even what the point was of activities that I enjoy. As usual, I have been over planning to the point of losing the meaning of why I was planning in the first place. So I lied down and thought for a while. Let my thoughts roam free.

At first all I could be was terrified of the void out there, of the big, empty void that this world would be if we didn't attempt to make sense of it in some way - with our routines, with our likes and dislikes, with what we choose to put our passion and energy in. Ah, the way we define the world and our place in it is an interesting game, isn't it? So different for every person. And if I may say so, so infinitely more challenging when your life is limited by any kind of disability and you have more time to think about your life than ways to live it!

But then a few people popped into my head. And they made me smile. And they felt real. And I realized that I felt happy in their presence, even in the face of other problems. So I realized that connections with people, especially certain people, are the first thing that absolutely makes sense to me.

I thought for some more, what else? Nature. Not in all circumstances, but in certain circumstances, being in beautiful spot, especially by the ocean, just makes sense. It bestows an inner joy in you that can't be taken away (well, except by certain weather conditions). It makes you feel whole again.

What else? I wanted dearly to say food, as that would have been, well, almost my entire answer only a couple years ago, but I have had so much trouble with food lately that I couldn't even pick one thing that reliably brought me joy. This saddened me. But then I thought some more and realized I could broaden the category to "momentary sensory joys." Because I am a very sensory person. My mood, sense of being, and sense of place in the world - all affected extremely by my senses. But it is the occasional things - the feel of wind in your hair on a beautiful spring day, the taste of an amazing piece of food that happens to be agreeing with me on any particular day, music, a joke that someone tells that makes me happy, the eye candy and visual and mental stimulation of going someplace new and seeing new, interesting things - these things may be simple and small, but together, they make up something very important in life.

Music - that came next, because music, at least music that I like, has always been able to transport me to the most amazing, wonderful places, for most of my life. The joy of getting lost in a good song on the radio, of connecting with the emotions of a song, of getting swept away - this has always, fortunately, knock on wood, been a constant.

Finally, the sense of joy from writing a good piece that I feel satisfied by - that fills a special place in my heart, even if doesn't happen often enough. And photography - when I remember why I'm doing it - not to get the most pictures or the technically best pictures, but to tell a story that I can use to then connect with other people - that brings me joy too. So creativity, you might say.

Buddhists, if I recall correctly, have their Eightfold Path. So this here will be my Fivefold path. Subject to future moderation if need be.

When I start wanting things I can't have, and being overwhelmed by what I do have - yes, it seems weird to be able to do both at the same time - when I start thinking of material things or comparing myself to what others would do - these, at least for the time being, are the things I need to come back to. Everything else can just fall away because it's not important.

Other things to remember

I need to know that the absence of any of these things is only temporary and means it is leading to the presence of it, as life operates as a kind of pendulum, going back and forth. It would be an error to think that absence was ever permanent, for absence is what makes black black and white white - their very definition lies in what they are in relation to each other.

I also need to remember that all of these things do not have to be present at once, in fact they usually will not be. But at least one either will be or won't be far off. Remember, absence is a sign of good things to come.

So I will try to think of life and my daily life in these terms, and if I can succeed even 50% of the time, my life will be a lot simpler.

Now maybe I can go to bed =)

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article, Kate. Thank you for sharing it ... it fit for me too and is one of those things I keep trying to remember or keep in mind! .. LaVerne