A flowing river of lights, so close but somehow, they seem so distant, as if they come from another world, that I was standing in a separate dimension and I could somehow see them all the way from here.
Trees on the sides of the highway led into other worlds, forests gateways into other places.
A highway, two long bands separated by a concrete divide, street lights at certain points all the way through the divide. The tops of the street lights reached out into space- the stars above, they weren't out of reach. They were a part of this.
I listened to that song tonight, with a reluctance to even hear its sounds, because they come from a point in my past that I cherish. If I visited it tonight, too openly, too fully, grabbing the music and embracing it, I'd dirty the memory I cherished. I dirty the song itself, overwriting something beautiful, to be lost into the sea of gray, of exhaustion, of unconsciousness and pointlessness, the place where defeat, depression, and tiredness originate from. The song was so special because I remember hearing it at a point in my past where I was truly happy. I was truly free, awake, conscious, my body was so loose and comfortable, my mind was awake and happy to be. The point of happiness was fleeting, of course... if it wasn't, then how would I be afraid of sullying it by revisiting it today?
And suddenly, knowledge gained began to flare up in my mind, thoughts, abstractions began to interlock once again, and visible, concrete understanding was the result, once again. My breath was taken away, walking on the highway, under the stars.
To look past the irrational, the expendable, useless clutter of motion around you every day... the people, the noise, the things that must be done, not that you choose to do. To look past those things, and focus on your goal as a man, as a human; the goal you feel in your spirit, the goal that could almost feel as though it as been set for you. It feels as though it has been set for you because you can't say no to it. It is your fountain of happiness, your achievement, you think of it and recognize it, and you hear "Yes. Yes, this is my purpose, this is what I must achieve, this is what I must create, and this is why..."
The idea was put to me, and what the idea suggested staggered my mind, evoking a commotion of thought. To look past all those things which make the world around me feel dirty... they can be looked past? I am not theirs, and they are not mine, but I am a separate entity moving through it? They can't touch me, absorb me, taking my thoughts and anchoring them to all this around me, which feels dirty? Walking under the moon, gazing up at the stars with a longing, wishing I could appreciate this beauty, but feeling a sickness in my stomach, a depression... it isn't beautiful, it's part of this. Of this day, full of so much garbage. All these people, all of this which cluttered up this day, taking my mind, taking me- making me part of this day. I am a product of this day just as they are- the people, the pointless clutter. I am theirs, without choice, and they are mine, welcomed or not. And so I am dirty, as well, and so the moon and stars are dirty, and the spring trees and the cool night air of May 14th... as words, presented so openly as that, I'd have shaken my head, swearing that's not true. No, I am not theirs. I understand how I can keep from being theirs, and I understand so many things that I can see none of them understand. But then, why are the moon and stars, the trees, dirty? Why is this day dirty, why do I restrain myself from visiting, in thought, a point of happiness in the past, for fear of dirtying it? Maybe I wasn't theirs, fully. Not as much as I was in the past. But my feet were anchored to them. The anxiety of feeling all of them around me, that was proof of the anchor. Not abstraction, but concrete proof.
True happiness... am I truly happy? Those times I gazed at a beautiful sunset, trying so hard to feel as though what I were seeing was complete, trying to feel a peace that was an end in itself, but feeling nothing but exhaustion, longing, and then slowly looking away, and feeling my mental state turn into physical exhaustion, despair, wanting nothing more than to just sleep, to turn myself off. Hiding songs, things from my past which made me happy, things from times when I actually felt truly happy, because I don't want the filth of today to rub off on a tiny, brief point of happiness in the past. These actions were proof that I am not happy.
While I was walking down the highway, I started to think about the idea that had been presented to me- the idea of focusing on that goal, that goal that almost feels as though it has been set for me, by something so great. That great thing can be nothing other than my own spirit- the goal that has been produced by my spirit. To understand that goal, to understand that nothing around me has ever truly had the power to pull me away from it...
Suddenly, I began to think about all those points in my past. All those times that I actually was happy. All those songs which take me back to those times, all the things that bring nostalgia from those times. Oddly, it was actually easier to remember things. To remember times in the past that I cherish- whereas before, I had actually wanted to remember happiness in the past, and nothing came to mind. I began to correct a thought which had taken root in my mind. I had thought before that if I was truly happy then, it was an illusion. That happiness can no longer apply to today, because of how little I knew when I felt that happiness. How could I have been truly happy back then? I didn't know what happiness was, or how to achieve it.
But then I started to realize that, yes, I didn't know what happiness was, or how to achieve it; but that doesn't mean that I wasn't happy. It only explains why the happiness was so fleeting, that I can only remember moments of happiness, frozen photographs from the past, where I felt young, where my body felt loose, free, not because of my body, but because of my mind. Those bright summer days where everything was right. Any moment in the past where I felt this fullness, this freedom, this delight at my existence. They were always fleeting- they came and went, and there was so much misery in between, when I slipped back into the river of gray, of static, of unconsciousness.
All of a sudden, I began to categorize so many feelings that I am familiar with... all those nights I came home energized, and had amazing nights that I look back on with warmth. And then, how I would come home another night, under the same circumstances, thinking that tonight will be another one of those wonderful nights, only to have an empty night which would fade from my memory as soon as it was over. I finally understood the distinction. And with that understanding, I was able to claim all of the happiness of my past, and I was able to come to terms with all of the unhappiness. Those brief points of happiness in the past, those frozen photographs of fleeting moments of true joy, of being alive, they weren't ends in themselves, no. But they were promises, signs of hope, proof of the existence of my joy. Proof that I am alive, and that my true happiness exists, and is out there for me to find. Not only does it prove that my happiness exists, but I can feel the path to my happiness, I can see it, when I feel this, I see all the things that matter to me as shining beacons, the road to my goals has never been so clear, I have never been so awake.
I have not achieved my happiness yet, not even enough of it to be fully satisfied with myself at present. But even this understanding leaves me feeling comforted, strong, energized- all my unhappiness can be explained, even if I feel unhappiness, which I know I will, I understand it now. And that understanding is its own comfort, providing me with the tools to combat my unhappiness, rather than to be devoured by the unidentified, invisible enemy it once was.
I thought, recently, that I should feel total freedom right now, as I walked home from work after a long weekend of working undesirable hours. I decided I would listen to a song that was very special to me, to celebrate my freedom.
I couldn't understand why I felt nothing from the music, and why the rain, which I adore, wasn't beautiful to me that day, as it fell over the vibrant spring forests. It should have taken my breath away, and I should have been absolutely alive, and truly free. But I wasn't. And I recognized that I wasn't, but I didn't come to terms with that feeling, I pretended it wasn't there. Tonight, I understand why. And tonight, it has stopped tormenting me that I didn't feel happy and free, as I thought I should. I was able to look that day in the face, and understand not only why I wasn't free, but how I will take myself to the freedom I desired that day. And the walking on the highway tonight, I listened to that song again, and the song stopped feeling dirty, and I started to feel what I'd tried to feel that day.
I can't be sure if it was the constant flow of wind from the cars, into my eyes, as I stared at the river of lights that they created, but I think I was crying.
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