I never feel nearer to death than when desperation and exhaustion meet with my disposition of depersonalisation. Trees don’t give much cover then, and the clouds that fly rapidly through the skies seem far less clouds than voices made visible, forms that left the underworld and sprang up to the heavens. In fact, the most horrendous development of the last years has been to become an encapsulated self, a Me distinguished from others. They say that later in life you grow wiser, more spiritual, more forgiving. That you become more and more capable to unite, to dive into the endless We, that the meaning of one soul in contrast to another keeps shrinking. I found the opposite to be true. I grew up in the knowledge of soul in which I couldn’t and wouldn’t distinguish between me and others. I was quite capable to feel other people emotions, at times to look very deep inside them. (On parties, other drank, and I, too sensitive, got drunk – without having any alcohol at all.) So what I felt to be the world was that it was soul, one indistinguishable soul, and that the differentiation between different people’s souls made no much sense. In fact, soul there was only one. You’ll say that it was mine all along, that I was a projecting or fantasizing. But it didn’t feel that way. It was rather the opposite, it never felt as my soul even as I could distinguish me from the rest. A contradiction? Not if you accept me saying that at times I was able by feeling and inner looking to find and distinguish up to five different layers of personality. I could distinguish between soul, spirit, will, ego, the person behind the person, the ancestors and the beings to come. No more now. As I come to age all I feel is the shrinking of the world, the loss of its sacredness, the loss of interwovenness. I end up feeling just me, and even that in a depressing restricted way. No wonder that irritation and anger have become the main – how do they say now? ah! : “emotions.”
I feel empty, and all I seem able is to stutter silly words when in earlier times, even as I wasn’t able to write, I at least felt and thought more profoundly, more deeply. The rain that is pattering at me from behind, doesn’t make me feel alive and joyful, but empty, exhausted, and vain. Roaming through the woods, at night, at wind, at stars, at silence, at ease, at length, it has all gone. Now I walk without dreaming. When the world was rich, it wasn’t richer in colours or odours, or in excitements and adventures. I never was into these kinds of happenings, too fearful perhaps. But the point rather is that I very quickly felt being overburdened with emotions and impressions I couldn’t handle. So I had to close down, recluse. Suffering as I did under the constant bombardement of soul, I had no capability of enjoying much outside. The horrors within might have been tamed by joy from the outside, but the fact is that the within and the outside never made much of a difference to me. Death has always been hanging around with me, but not in the cruel, threatening way. I had been in the grip of thoughts of suicide from my early ages, I guess ten or eleven years or so, up to my late twenties, early thirties. Those endless feelings of desperation, weakness, of not understanding and not belonging. But still, it was all I had, and all my pain, from early ages on, at the same time have been sense organs for me to feel and to see the pain of other people. I knew much from other people not because they told me much but because I felt enough to locate their troubles. Which often had specific points in their bodies. Seeing these corporeal doors to their inner worlds, distinct in everyone, had a pendant in my sensing of where to touch women, their magical spots that like two magnets would connect us instantaneously. Every women has a different area in her body, it seems, where touch makes her wide – the area of her kidneys for example, or her hips, or the neck, the temple, or this long endless Gold Coast that we sail upwards from the South of her ankles, upwards her legs and the sides of her torso, her ampits, farther north, while she is stretching endlessly, the whole arm upwards, upwards to that far regions of her fingertips where our hands mingle and the sound of joy just consists in a little relieved and small painful “ooh!” You touch someone that way you not really touch their souls but far more dangerously you touch and open the doors for them to enter their other worlds. And likewise it was with my being able to see where the pain sits, in what part of the body, where to enter, and accordingly where to be careful not to stear the person through her door.
I was a heavy smoker then, and it took me some time to understand what I was doing. In fact, only after I stopped smoking, due to my girlfriend’s insistence and my inability to keep doing my heavy work in the restaurant industry, only years after I quit smoking did I realize what I was missing since then – those short moments of inwardness, the dreaming that happens to rise for the length of a cigarette. Just in case you want to know how long a dream is – it has the length of a cigarette. I miss smoking, as I lost the self-induced dreaming. I became addicted to coffee, and the years always running on the surface of my being, without ability to dive into my dreaming, made me a trite person. But more important than the dreaming, I began to understand that what the smoker does by inhaling is filling the lung space around his heart chakra, the Anāhata, which governs relationships, love, compassion, warmth, goodness. As smoker I mechanically put something at this place in order to feel something there. The dreaming of a smoker, his smoke that arises via the chimney of his mouth originates from the fire that sits at the hearth in his breast. When the rain pelts on the roof, when its deafening volume of watery sounds makes everything silent until even the sound of rain becomes the sound stillness makes – stillness has many types of sound – the bonfires diminishes, the cold rain wets the wood, and the fire grows small without being able to warm. Under pressure, smoking is not a relief but becomes business, a necessary work to keep soul around.
So the first step I happened to take in losing my ability to see was when I quit smoking. Things became more about me and myself, the rain stopped being an adventure, an endless curtain to run under beneath it, and became something that made you wet, cold. It became annoying. Still I could see the corporeal doors which to touch would not so much help me enter someone’s soul but help them enter theirs. My mind became fuzzy, incoherent. But in fact this happened rather later, in my late 30s. The suicidal thoughts that permeated me from childhood on began to torture me in my 20s, the time, by the way, when I started smoking. In my memory there seems to have been no day in this period that I didn’t feel suicidal, and rarely a day went by without feeling depressed or despaired. But never without hope. In fact, the hope that blew lightly through me, this endless gentle breath was a gift that seems to have come from my grandmother, long dead now, this hope was what kept me wondering, what gave the world sense, form, future. Then, after devastating panic attacks, I committed myself to the psychiatric hospital. Just to have me sit around for six month, feeling the pain of every other inmate additional to my own. To feel the knowledge that went through all of us telepathically when we understood that a patient who didn’t return from his weekend recess at home had himself thrown down a high rise. There have been moments in which I saw roses rain from the skies and feelings of loneliness so unbearable that no word seems fit. It was here, in these outer worlds of the psychiatric ward, that I learned the meaning and depth of the word “horror”. No, I didn’t attain enlightenment. And the psychotherapy in the hospital and later, outside, achieved only two things : they made my suicidal thoughts disappear, and they made my person shrink. Still, relying on memory, I could feel how the soul, the rain’s soul that always comes from behind, permeates the world, makes us think, feel, look, be with other people, embrace a child, an idea, a work, gratitude and compassion and conscience and all those angels that clumsiness calls “emotions” when in fact they are the most visible because most earthly parts of spirit – of spirit, not mind – … I could still feel them because the years had made them into strong memories. Nevertheless, they stopped being sense organs to look into other’s fates, to perceive other’s coming to mean. But it was only later, when my girlfriend and I split up due to the loss of our child in early pregnancy, that I lost hope.
Hope can come in many ways like rain can come in many ways. There is wild hope, indistinguishable from fervent joy, exuberant in it’s Janus-like ways of surrender and celebration. There is silent hope. There is patient hope and a pushing one. My dying, my real, endless, prolonged dying began the moment I betrayed my girlfriend, didn’t stand by her when she was pregnant (even as it felt as if it was we who were pregnant, but my sister later kicked me for that, ridiculing this sentiment, so, well ….), in the moment when I asked our child to leave and the time spent waiting what would happen until, yes, the incredible happened and my girlfriend lost our child in the 16th week. My betrayal, my guilt was one thing, to tell her in order to gain some relief quite another, and even as she tried to bear all this, we separated two years later. It was in this becoming guilty that hope vanished from my life and with the vanishing of hope time entered and with it decay.
So I went blind. And in all this, the rain now takes a different meaning. It doesn’t mean me anymore, doesn’t address me anymore, doesn’t speak to me anymore. It is nearby like it is outside my window right now, but it nourishes somebody else. The rain now lets other souls drink, not mine. In fact, that’s how the other souls, different and apart from mine, happened to come into being. Why there are now their souls, and, encapsulated, separate, mine. And seeing this feels like dying, not like coming to life. Super flumina Babylonis ibi sedimus et flevimus cum recordaremur Sion … The soul, it seems, is born in guilt and in the loss of hope.
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