8 Lessons I Recently Learned or Remembered
Seth Jani, Contributor
Love the Void
Seeking external love and validation from other people to fill the little spots of emptiness and loneliness at the heart of your life is doomed to failure. All of us have to dance with the no-man’s (or no-woman’s) land behind the mask of living and no one, no one can make that feeling go away. But we must continuously confront it, or more so learn to love it and be tender towards it. If we can be at ease in that space at the back of the world, then love and friendship from the outside will slowly come of its own accord.
Remember the Ferris Wheel
I have no thoughts on the actual existence of Karma or reincarnation but more often than I can account for I wake up in the middle of the night and have the overpowering sense that all of us have been flipping around on the cosmic cogs for a very, very long time. We have been passing by each other – fighting, loving, fucking, drinking, crying, dying together – since the first sputtering spark erupted from the furnace of creation. So trying to foster some compassion is probably worthwhile. Even if we may be enemies, in the larger light of things we are all old friends.
Humor as a Spiritual Practice
I recently realized that in general my sense of humor tends to deepen in stride with my sadness. A renewed sense of laughter and playfulness may be the most valuable gift received from surviving bouts of severe depression. It also supplies a strengthened coping mechanism for any future trips to the underworld.
Hug Some Animals
Seriously hug your dog or cat. Say sweet things to the crow dive bombing your head. Cause if a crow is dive bombing your head you are out of sync and should thank them for kindly reminding you that you are out of sync. Thank you Crow of last week for dive bombing my head. I didn’t want to eat that crappy sandwich you made me drop anyway. Love you, Brother Crow!
Be Gentle With Yourself
We should treat our own bodies and minds as the vulnerable, sweet animals that they are. They fade and perish, and we should allot ourselves a love worthy of someone who is fading and perishing every day, right here, amidst the confusion and sunshine.
I don’t feel like I have ever had any real enemies in my life (though I am sure they are out there) but over the last couple of years I finally had the experience of being deeply disappointed and hurt by a few of the people I loved most in the world. For the first time in my life I think I actually felt real anger and resentment (I suppose it was not so bad making it to 25 without such feelings) but I also know that while it is important to take in and process such feelings, it would be a shame to walk away from them without taking the opportunity to work on my own capacity to forgive. We are all neck-deep in this burning, chaotic web and we should do our best to hold no grudges against any one for the steps they take. There are only choices to be made and no true guides to help make them. Likewise the work of forgiving ourselves is equally as daunting and important. We are all stumbling along fucking shit up, because there is no other option but to stumble along with the high probability of fucking shit up. So let’s stumble along and still be friends.
There is a lot to be said for staying home, for reading, writing and meditating. My natural inclination is to be slightly monkish. But the world is a divine game and the stakes are high and one must regularly leave the safe-spot to risk touching a lava tile. Because it’s the rawness of the wound that opens a spot for grace and the properties of renewal.
Enjoy What is Here While it is Here
We should of course be passionate and work towards a better more open world but along with that we should also foster an aesthetic appreciation for what already exists. All of this is temporary: You, Me, Monsanto. Relish the forms the world takes and enjoy its particular incarnations, inflections and limitations. Because one day it will all fade, and whatever other world may or may not exist after the fading, it surely will not abide by the same laws and physics as this one. This is a temporary set of rules in a game of endless variety. Witness it while you can.
About the Author
Seth Jani is a poet and publisher who lives in Seattle, WA. His poems have appeared throughout the small press in places like The Buddhist Poetry Review, Foundling Review and Phantom Kangaroo. He is fascinated by the enormous and mysterious light-show of the universe and strives to learn more.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
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