“Orwell Was An Optimist”

stagetheater

“Orwell was an optimist.” I saw this somewhere recently, and thought “how true!”

Everyday, I learn and discover some new ugly truth about the world, about war, and about humanity that both disgusts me and hurts me. It also makes me realize how naively and blindly you and I lead our lives. How we have little idea of the extent of awfulness that is going on in the world. If we’re lucky, and inquisitive, and persistent, we catch glimpses of it here and there. And sometimes, we even tie them together. But only to realize that the awfulness is so vast, that we’ve only dipped our toes in the shallow waters of its beaches. It’s in fact an ocean, an ocean of awfulness.

But it does not end there.

Imagine that everything you see and think you know, is just a very vast and elaborate play. A play that does not take up stage for a few hours and then close its curtains, but one that goes on endlessly and infinitely. One that people lead their lives in. The lines and the lies are so many and so vast, that after some time, even the players become confused about which were the original and which they made up along the way.

And then imagine, that there is another play, inside the play. Like a dream in a dream. A smaller play that is shown to you, like an advertisement– edited, clean, bright,–delivering just the right message to create in you just the right reaction.

And then imagine that all of these plays, these fake scenarios and lines and pretend emotions result in very real consequences. Like death. And destruction. And hunger.

Bravo my friend, you’ve just imagined the world we live in now.

I’m not trying to be a pessimist. I’m not saying that everything is bad all the time. There is a lot of good as well, but that good is in the audience. The sentimental and good audience that is easily convinced and influenced by the well-primed actors. The ones that you and I selected for their roles, to make decisions on our behalf, and with the utmost belief that they would carry out these roles in sincerity and honesty.

But now the roles have changed. Now we are the puppets to the ones we selected for our well-being. We are the stringed and the tugged, in that direction and that. And the saddest part is that they are so good at making us believe that we still make the calls, that we are blinded to our strings, believing that they are still the actors, and we, the audience.

I see my strings. I feel powerless. I see the evil, and yet I am powerless.

There is only two ways to go about this game. Either you remain where you are and keep watching the play and try to convince yourself that this is reality. Or you walk out of the theater, reject the play, and the ones holding the strings decide what they want to do with you.

I wish there was a third option. A scissors! To break free from the strings. To expose this play for what it really is, and return to reality. The REAL reality.

Orwell WAS an optimist. All that he foresaw, and even worse, has already taken place. You are living in it. And then you are reading a book about it and clenching your teeth in fear of the arrival of that awful world! Oh how terrible it would be to live in a world like that!

Oh dear.

You are watching a play. Inside another play.

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So Be It

For as far back as I can remember, all of my life, I have spent my mental and emotional energies dwelling upon the idea of a utopic, ideal romantic prospect. I’ve treated it as an ultimate end goal, the utmost achievement and proof of my worthiness.

For a period, since it clearly was not happening for me, I took a very extreme opposite position. I tried, and temporarily succeeded in making myself a stoic. I labeled love and all that is associated with it to be a most futile experience. And the search for love, a sad attempt that the weak and unintelligent opt for, instead of living in the real world, with all of its harsh, but true, and existing realities. Love is a diversion, I felt, from seeing, experiencing, and succeeding in this world. An effort that is bound to fail, and lead to disappointment.

While this worked well for me for some time, I could not maintain it. For when, one is an inherent romantic, even the smallest glimmer of hope can be sufficient to reignite its passions. Therefore, I again succumbed to the “sad attempts” that I had found distasteful and repulsive just shortly before.

But my story is a dull one. It repeats itself. Love, is as distant and unreachable, as it always has been. And all of my efforts at attaining it, as futile as they’ve ever been. But now, I realize something completely different. I realize that I have been focusing on the wrong things all along.

I probably need not explain to you the wrongness of this entire premise. Nothing beneficial can come out of viewing romantic love as an end goal, as a kind of achievement. I do not blame myself for thinking this way, for it was embedded in our way of thinking from a very young age. Why were we raised on Cinderella stories where a girl’s happiness lied in finding and uniting with a true love? Why was it driven into our head that the search for romantic love, is an essential and inevitable aspect of life? A solution to all woes? How might we lead our lives differently had it never been so?

And how were we ever led to believe that we deserved to feel “worthy” to the extent that we were desired and loved by another?! If we understand our self-worth to be solely reliant on the affirmations of another person, how are we ever to find true and lasting happiness, in accepting and loving ourselves? And how can we ever believe that an affirmation received once, would be repeated regularly for the rest of our lives?

So let’s say you are in the most ideal situation– you’ve loved, you’re loved back and you get married. How many days, weeks, or at best, months, will it be until your spouse fails to affirm who you are? How long until the moment when you disagree and no longer feel loved? How can anyone accept to base their happiness and self-affirmation on the whimsical thoughts and feelings of another human being? That is, surely, a recipe for disappointment and disaster. That, has never been my idea of love. That’s because my idea of love, and perhaps yours as well, is imaginary. It has no basis in reality. It’s a mirage, a hallucination, a dream, a wish, a fairy tale, is all.

What I’ve failed to recognize in all of this, is how my futile searches for love, how my disappointments and heartbreaks have in fact been helping me to progress in a path towards enlightenment. I am not near enlightenment now, by any means. But the phases of my life where I’ve had enlightened moments, periods of deep introspection and greater understanding of existence, happiness, and God, have directly emerged from disappointment and heartbreak. And I am in one now.

So, no. Love is not the end goal. The search for it, is not the purpose of our lives.

The end goal, has been, and will always be, a return to home. A return to our true selves, and to God. If that will be gained, through love, and heartbreak, so be it. If that will be gained, without love, so be it. For this destination is so fulfilling and sweet, that any struggle and pain one finds in its path, is wholly welcome!

The Night

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Saawariya (2007)

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately.

It’s not that I’m not sleepy or tired, or won’t be able to sleep if I tried. It’s like my mind resists the idea of falling asleep.

I’ve always loved the night. That period between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. is so beautiful and promising. It brings the satisfaction of having overcome one more day, and the next one seems unperceivably far away. In those hours, it feels as though I have all of infinity at my fingertips.

If I sleep, I feel like I will miss out on something, Like missing a train that can never be caught again. Like missing ideas and emotions that only conceive and blossom in the mysterious, romantic, drowsy moments of the night.

When the hot, bright, contrasting colors of the realistic day fade away, the darkness and coolness brings new possibilities. A different world, a different me.

My mind slows down. I start to listen. Really listen. As thoughts and rigidness relax and fall away, true emotions begin to emerge and show themselves. Like they were hiding under the bed, waiting for the night to arrive.

The sun exposes too much. It reveals the shapes and dents of everything and anything. It’s too dazzling. It forces me to close my eyes.

But the night… The moonlight brings far more clarity than the sun. I sense more than I look. I’m infused and transformed into something a little different than the night before. Every night makes a new me. I don’t want to lose out on that experience.

Do you love the night?

Truths, Cynics, and the Greatest Love of All

Some believe that love is about another person. No. Love is about ourselves.

It’s about how it makes us feel. It’s the emotions, thoughts, dreams and expectations that we attach to an idealized image of someone else.

And again some believe that love means being with another person. But loving someone doesn’t mean that you have to be with them. It doesn’t mean that the person is right for you or will make you happy and vice versa. It doesn’t even mean that the person is good. Love is not logical. It’s not pre-programmed and it doesn’t fit into a rigid construct. Sometimes, loving someone just means that the person takes up some space in your mind and heart. Maybe forever, and maybe not. And still, that person in your mind and heart is not the real one… it’s the idealized image of that person… because that’s the only one we ever want to keep.

Who is this soul mate that everyone keeps talking about? Is there such a thing? What does a soul mate look like? How do you know it’s him?

What if a soul mate is not a spouse or life companion in the traditional sense? But rather just someone who understands us and accepts us completely and without reservation? Why must all be found in one magical person? Who can satisfy us emotionally, intellectually and physically? Is that the soulmate, the one person who can accomplish all three?

I’ve always longed for a soulmate. Not finding him forced me to broaden my mind.

The alternative truth about all of this is that we are made to believe by society that all of us– our thinking and way of life– must fit into a single box. We are born, we study, we work, we get married, we have children, we raise them, we retire, and we die. Everyone falls in love. Everyone finds someone suitable for themselves. Everyone has a soulmate.

Today I want to tell you the reality. None of this is true. Some people fall in love, and often not mutually. Most people do not find someone suitable for themselves, and few people have what they call a soulmate. And ALL people compromise.

The world is not the cinematic fantasy driven into our heads and hearts as children. Life is challenging and it almost never turns out the way we plan. The true secret to happiness is compromise. Compromising in all areas of life and learning to be content with what we have and not what could have been.

Your elementary school teacher lied to you. What she should have said was: “You cannot be anything you want. You cannot accomplish all of your dreams. But as long as you keep trying, it’s okay.”

From young, we are taught that anything is possible and acquiring our wishes are inevitable. But it’s not what we acquire or don’t, it’s how we tried and how we overcame the challenges along the way.

The truth is that no one is a failure. If people’s success in life was measured by the unrealistic and shockingly over-exaggerated expectations imposed by society– such as wealth, status, appearance and health– you can be certain that no one can be termed to be successful.

I’m not trying to be fatalistic. Of course we can change aspects of our life, but I also believe that there is a limit to what we can change about some areas. For example, no matter what you do, you may never be a millionaire or a CEO. There are only a few areas of your life which you can change without limits and which do not require miracles, well at least for most. And that’s knowledge, belief, and ethics.

There are no limits in expanding and broadening these. No one can prevent you from obtaining them and you can reach as far as you wish. Good thing is that these are actually the only things that matter. And as long as you keep trying, you can never fail, because in all three, the path is the destination. Every day that you try, you succeed.

Going back to soulmates, I suppose one is always a cynic until it happens. I meant, if it happens.

The adorable thing about the human heart is that it’s like a mischievous free child. It forgets. It’s always happy, and it’s always hopeful about the future. The greatest cynic in the world cannot deny those moments of weakness, when the dark, gloomy clouds of pain, sadness and disappointment depart, revealing that glimmering all-powerful ray of hope, however small it may be, that love exists. There, far away, somewhere in the distance, it awaits, to be found and to find.

Some believe that love is about another person. No. Love is about ourselves.

And maybe it’s about our love for the greatest love of all– the One who is most loving.