Sunday, 6 May 2018

The pursuit of happiness

A couple of weeks ago, in one of those priceless moments when an iridescent thread of magic glimmers its way through the air of everyday life, someone asked me about the secret of my happiness. I was in a typically wonderful mood, running a few errands, and the question stopped me dead in my tracks for several reasons. Awkwardly, I answered that I’m a fortunate guy and I love life, then the moment was gone and I continued about my mission.

But that tiny, innocuous question sparked a maelstrom of opalescent fractal-thoughts in my mind. In theory, it only takes one breath to tip the atmospheric balance into a tornado, a single snowflake to precipitate an avalanche, and this post is the whirlwind of meaning that was triggered by the question: why am I so happy?

After giving it a lot more thought, I can provide a somewhat more solid answer: I am happy because I enjoy  being happy, I love the feeling of happiness. Therefore, pragmatic individual that I am, I make decisions and take actions that are consistent with my goal of experiencing happiness for as much of my conscious time as possible. Why does it have to be any more complicated than that?

It’s true that my life is not easy, and some days are significantly worse than others. But also, I stand by my original answer that I think of myself as an incredibly fortunate person.

I have enjoyed such amazing successes in my life. There is real peace in my heart. Some of my greatest wishes have completely come true. I have a kind, intelligent, beautiful and healthy son. I have several inspiring, loyal and genuine friends, I have no major health problems, I live in a safe country of bountiful plenty, I have no shortage of delicious, nourishing food to eat, I have climate control and shelter from the elements… I could go on for hours about all the blessings I have been gifted with.

Ironically, an even more spectacular reason was added to the list after  the question was first asked me, in fact only a few days ago at the time of writing. And that  reason is, I have experienced the most profound epiphany of my entire life.

I was gifted with an idea so powerful that I do not exaggerate when I say it has the potential to make all my remaining dreams come true, as well as propagate significant positive change throughout the world at large. Perhaps all of humanity, indirectly, eventually, given enough time.

This revelation from the infinite has given me a sense of purpose more intense and lifegiving than any other I have ever experienced -- and believe me, there have been a few mind-bending ones in the past. But nothing quite like this.

I’m afraid I can’t tell you anything more about it at this moment, because for now, the spark of preternatural nuclear fire must be nurtured in secret.

However, when the time is right, I swear to you that I will share with you something unlike anything you have ever seen before. You will have to take my word for it, for now, but I guarantee that when the big reveal is ready, you will not  be disappointed.

That much I can safely promise you. Watch this space.

Friday, 26 January 2018

The arrival of Blindness

There is a form of Japanese contemporary dance/theatre/drama called Butoh that must be seen to be believed. This is the most direct way of showing you what the state or emotion that I have given the name ‘Blindness’ is like. The intensity of the pain that causes it is so incendiary, so absolutely unbearable, that it feels as if the continuous lightning of a Tesla coil has burned away everything human about me.

In the formal doctrine of Butoh, this is precisely the state that the dancer must attain in order for the performance to begin.

Perhaps you are familiar with Emily Dickinson’s breathtakingly perfect poem entitled ‘After great pain, a formal Feeling comes’. I strongly suspect the “formal Feeling” she describes is very similar -- if not identical -- to my Blindness. “The Hour of Lead … as Freezing persons, recollect the Snow. First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –”

Yes. That is just about exactly it.

Blindness is a strange state of supernatural whiteness. It is a feeling that is as narcotic as it is complete awareness, and at the same time, an absence of feeling. It makes me feel both cold and alone, but also relieved that there is no pain anymore. The pain is somewhere else. In the past? In another dimension? I don’t know. My ability to cogitate is simultaneously hyperfocussed, in the manner of coherent light, but also completely incapable of encompassing anything that is extraneous to my requirements for survival in the present moment.

It is as if my consciousness has become a white laser which, as anyone with a reasonable understanding of optical physics will know, is a paradoxical impossibility.

Strangely, I feel a streamlined, digital and beautifully seamless enjoyment at not feeling anything. Blindness, the impossibility of white laser, is both pulverising pressure, and utterly transcendent weightlessness. It’s wonderfully liberating; that aspect of it is impossible to deny.

I incorporated this experience into a novel I wrote once, wearing the face of my default public self. I personified it... or to be more precise, I subjected its personified form to apotheosis, and released it into my conceptualisation of Hell through the prism of a longstanding favourite quotation.

“When I'm God, everyone dies.”
-- Marilyn Manson

And while I’m reminiscing, in this exquisite blizzard of pure self-reliance: I retrosuspect that the concluding lines of a poem I wrote in my teens referred to a precursor which has developed, in my fully grown adult self, into the Blindness I coolly enjoy today.

“My heart: glass-clear.
My mind: ice-white.
I’m perfect.
I am Erudite.”