Disillusion. A new way.


The world seems helpless and it seems hopeless.

I find myself in total disillusionment with everything. The work of several years to better myself and to come to terms with myself, work which was going so very well, is collapsing.

I learned to trust and love my friends, my family even my enemies. I moulded the remnants of depression and confusion into a beautiful contentedness. It became an unshakable grounding from which I could approach each wonderful day with joy in my heart.

I learned to meditate each day, to foster only positive emotions and to discard all negativity from my life. We only curse the earth with our presence for so long; what madness would make us choose to spend it in sadness and suffering? My inspiration was calm. I lost my anger.

I lost something else too, something which took me years somehow to spot.

I lost my spark. I lost the inner fire that makes us fight to live and love each moment, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. I was at peace, but all passion was gone.

And what now?

In a matter of months, the world I see has changed for the worse. The leaders of the world have gone wild and their supporters wilder. Racism, nationalism, sexism; every imaginable form of baseless, weak-minded discrimination is on the rise. It becomes increasingly clear that we have pushed the earth to her limit and the environment is close to a point of collapse. All that is solid melts into air  and this time we are entirely to blame.

How can I then, in a time where it all is falling apart, possibly remain content? How can I hold firmly onto the contentedness  that I have fostered, even nourished in these past years?

I cannot.

That time is gone. It taught me much and I am thankful for a truly essential development in my self, but now is not a time where apathy serves. I have joined the disillusioned.

How can I sit in acceptance, as hate becomes the norm of society?

How can I sit in acceptance, as the people become divided over lies?

How can I sit in acceptance, as we burn nature to the ground in pure, brutal indifference?

I am a liberal, left-wing, environmentally-minded, vegetarian, bi-, non-binary, creative, introspective, radical human-being. In these times, the only element there I regret is the last.

In these times, where to sit in acceptance is as dangerous as to fight against the rising tides we face, my fostered neutrality has been smashed into tiny little insignificant pieces.

After years of purging pain and anger from my life in the name of breaking through my negativity, I am letting it all back in. Perhaps that seems like a truest form of madness, as if I were a monk jumping out of deep meditation to burn his temple in spite. I think however that this is a necessity.

Now?

Now I feel an uncontrollable rage at humanity’s encroaching madness. The world seems to me to be on the edge of a crumbling cliff: Past it is the void. The void is growing, in size and in strength. It can’t and won’t be stopped.

A curious feeling has grown however out of my new rage and this feeling is perhaps even stronger, or at the very least more striking. Out of the rage has grown an uncontrollable love. Suddenly I have so much joy to see the magpies each morning as I leave for university. Suddenly each falling leaf is a universe with its own story to tell. When I see my friends, they cannot possible know how thankful I am now to see them, and know that they are well, that they survive in the face of our world in flux.

I feel some of the other disillusioned are giving up. But no, why should helplessness mean giving up? Are we not still alive?  Are you not still breathing, thinking,  whilst you read my twisted  words so lacking hope?

Let me tell you then, that these words are of hope, at the very least for myself. With this development of new emotion – of conflicting love and rage – I realise: Our experience here, no matter how dark it turns, will always have glimmers of intense beauty. For each person who joins the ranks of mindless nationalism and discriminators, we can fight back with rage-fuelled love. As contrary as that seems, Love and anger are linked in impossible ways. The enemy here is apathy.

It has often been times of darkness where great writers have appeared from the shadows. I am not one of them, but I have learned from them how important the mighty pen becomes in such moments. Brecht attacked national-socialism. Lu xun gave up a medical career to take up the pen and challenge the early 20th century society of China. I am writing because although I sense a painful future, I see glimmers within its blinding darkness. I am one of the disillusioned, and it has made me see the beauty we will have until the last moment. It may hide in caves or under rocks at the very end, but it will always be there.

And so I throw away the work of years to become a content soul, thankful and accepting. I embrace now my new-found love and rage. I will stare into the encroaching void, and laugh with pure joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tick of time; something lost, something gained.


For everything gained, there seems always to be something lost.

In visible terms, I’ve gained an impossible amount in the past few years. I’ve learnt so much, travelled so far, lived more life than perhaps my entire life leading up to this time.

What could possibly be wrong, in the light of such growth?

What could there possibly be to lose?

The world has become so big and so small simultaneously. It’s become normal to be in London one day, and eating noodles in China only a few hours later, yet this only makes it crystal clear how much more there is to see and how little time there is to see it all. With every wondrous experience, the desire to not waste what is given to us overbears every thought, yet as each experience becomes normality, new experience itself becomes a drug.

Without the new, time ticks louder.

Whoever knew that a clock would have to be fed?

Time is hungry. Time well spent is hungrier.

That realisation of the value of time forces a view to what was valued in the past. You suddenly realise how much has passed, and how much is lost. Places called home fade, replaced by houses without the memories. Old dreams become nightmares, or at the very least turned away and forgotten. Close friends drift apart, and although they may well mean the world, the world has replaced them, and perhaps a mutual feeling of being forgotten exists, although the opposite is likely the reality.

In fearing the ticking clock, I’ve lost the trust of people who played a part in my being. I’ve lost any of the small sense of belonging I ever had. I’ve lost safety and security and let unpredictability in in its place.

Yet as there is something to gain for something lost, there is something lost for something gained. The fear of the tick of time has brought appreciation.

Appreciation for every tiny passing object, moment and thought.

It may be normal  to swap one country for another, but I see value in each place I go, which I never sensed before. Even when complaining about the frustration of Beijing life, looking up to a grey poisoned sky, I think about how perfect the blue days are.

When an old face goes by, whether I stop for a conversation or not, a feeling of thankfulness washes over like a flood. I might not see that face again for months, or years, or maybe even ever again; it becomes essential to revel in the moment while it’s still there. I’ve developed more love for friends than I’ve ever had before, despite having not seen many for a number of years.

In losing any feeling of security or stability, any moment of a relative return to such things is an incomparable bliss, even if there now exists a need to avoid staying within that stability.

Any negative feelings now quickly fade, driven away by their innate pointlessness. Time doesn’t stop for misery, but misery eats time. It doesn’t deserve a feast.

Through the experiences of the past few years I have gained and lost so much. In both gaining and losing in such boundless measures, one intense lesson has been learnt.

Appreciation seems to me now to be the balance between gain and loss; the importance of it only becoming clear due to a heightening of both extremes.

Appreciate everything. the new will appear and the old will pass, but there is infinite value in both. The tick of time won’t stop, so each moment must be loved. We only have so many ticks, each one appreciated is a victory to the experiences gained, and a defeat to the experiences lost.

Success?


I almost always feel like writing when I’m about to go to bed and am actually too tired to write properly. As is the case currently…I mean, I don’t even have anything planned to write about. I have something to write in two days time, but that post really requires it to be the 31st of December.

Ah, there we go – an idea. I’ll keep it short tonight, partly as it’s a rather spontaneous, not very well thought out bit of writing here, and partly as I really need to sleep…I’ve got a train to catch in the morning after all.

I found myself in an odd position at the dinner table the other night and the conversation turned to future goals/careers/ all that jazz. Usually when you end up on a serious conversation about future goals and ‘success’, words you expect to hear may include ‘work harder’, ‘have direction and goals’, ‘take your work seriously’, among other things.

I got instead, the advice to stop working so hard and to enjoy myself a bit more. First year doesn’t count, the advice goes.

Now this suggestion is quite good fun put into context. The giver of the advice was my dad, who just happens to be a professor at Edinburgh University. In other words, the last person you would expect to hear ‘first year doesn’t count’ from.

The talk expanded into the idea of success – a concept which I often contest the meaning of. Success is in general taken to mean making money and getting to the top of a career, and is one of the roots of this ingrained norm in society: We’re born. We’re kids. We go to school. We go to work or go to university. We work up a corporate ladder. We make money. We retire. We go forever, having been ruled by money since we were kids.

Yet here I am, despite my view above on what is considered a ‘success’, working too hard, to get a top mark, to follow exactly the same chain. And the voice of reason is coming from that system.

I still hold however that success is not getting to the top of the money making machine. For me, happiness is success. Peace is success. Love is success. Knowledge is success. Experience is success.

These things can all be shared without any loss to anyone. When money is shared, one gains and one loses.

I don’t think success should contain loss. It’s idealistic, but I openly have a passion for idealism.

Of course I want success. But money and a career isn’t success.

I work hard for knowledge, not a future dream of money.

But a message from the system, of all places, is helping me to develop an image of what success really is.

.

And maybe one day i’ll be able to say more clearly what that may be, for I fully accept that right now, my view is incomplete, perhaps even ignorant and confused.

Just got to…flow.

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Half way up tiger leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China. That’s a view of success.

Thanks for reading, I hoped you enjoyed it.

Glimpse


Glimpse

.

Turn off the screen.

Its stealing everything that matters,

Stop arguing.

Whether strictly or X factor’s better,

Have you seen?

There’s a world outside your living room.

Its name’s a farce.

You’re not living,

But decaying

While you stay.

.

And all that we know

Will dissolve into the night,

We’re but glimpses of a time

Where we can cast a light.

And there is little that we know;

It stretches far too long,

Our books and eyes can’t comprehend

The history that we belong to,

.

So close your eyes.

Feel space and time.

Glimpse life.

.

Turn your eyes.

They’ve been distracted for far too long,

It’s beautiful.

Realise it’s where you belong,

It’s not too late

To take the glimpse that’s gifted to you.

You’ll never live

The whole of life

But just don’t waste

What you can.

.

And all that we know

Will dissolve into the night,

We’re but glimpses of a time

Where we can cast a light.

And there is little that we know;

It stretches far too long,

Our books and eyes can’t comprehend

The history that we belong to,

.

So close your eyes.

Feel space and time.

Glimpse life.

event horizon

event horizon (Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker)

.

You’re closer now


You won’t sink

To the shifting sands of time

They say

It consumes everything

Though I know

It only takes the shell

 

You were always far away

Out of reach

Out of sight

And somehow now

You’re closer now

Than you ever were before

 

I think back

To that place that never was

To favourite memories

Of which I dreamed

But never truly had

 

You were always far away

Out of reach

Out of sight

And somehow now

You’re closer now

Than you ever were before

 

Life will fade

From flesh and loving eyes

But life transcends

Love won’t fade

From time or space

And love holds life

Eternally.

Have a nice day.


One thing I love about having my little space on the internet as that I can reach out across the world and people can see what I think. Each and every one of you that likes a post of mine after reading it, is someone who has shared a moment with me, and I with them. Peoplewe know and see everyday, we may say the infamous ‘how are you?’ and wait for the generic answer of ‘not bad, and you?’ but here, it is something different. We open up before the link between the writer and reader has formed and that way that distant conversation from halfway across the world becomes meaningful and close; a meeting of minds, not secretive smiles of concious cages (I like that line…might have to use it in a poem). So today, I say to the whole world with a smile of joy…

Have a nice day, live today, love today, and let everyone you meet

have a nice day.

“Life is not the opposite of death. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal”


“Life is not the opposite of death. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal”
What do you think of this? I think it is profound genius. Although i’m certain they didn’t come up with the idea I stumbled upon this little quote through the lyrics of a band called ‘Anathema’; a band who started of as a doom metal band but have slowly morphed into a very deep, philosophical and hopeful prog rock band. I’m not here to talk about the music though…I can do that in a later post.

Resonance 2

Resonance 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just look at that quote. How does it make you feel? (without trying to sound too much like a physiatrist…) For me, it lifted my uncontrollable fear of death and changed it for something completely different. Now, i see it as a close to one story and the foundation for many others. We fear it because our death will be the end of  our contribution to life. Death is and end, the closing of a book, a change from a G chord to a C, a finishing point. We can’t say that Life is a starting point so is in no way death’s opposite. I guess you could argue that Life has not always existed, so cannot be eternal (no end or beginning), but I think that is contrary to the point being made in the quote.

We tend to see life as we live, then we die. In other words we see life in terms of ourselves rather than what life actually is. As Eckhart Tolle (possibly the man behind the quote, i’m not entirely sure) expands on the quote: If you walk through a forest completely untouched by man, you will be astounded by how much life surrounds you. But also in this unspoilt environment you will find death round every corner-for example a fallen tree, rotting away on the forest floor. This tree is however fuelling life. It’s death gives nutrients to the soil, a home to insects, a feeding ground for animals. Death in itself is essential to life.

English: Head-shot of Eckhart Tolle from direc...

English: Head-shot of Eckhart Tolle from directly in front by Kyle Hoobin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So whether you believe in any form of life after death or not, fear not. Life doesn’t end.