We thought of life by analogy with a journey, a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end, and the thing was to get to that end, success or whatever it is, maybe heaven after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.
I read Alan Watts, for the first time, in 2013. Right about 2 years ago from now. I remember reading this quote over and over, as if repetition alone would reveal the sentiment and idea behind the words. At some point I gave up and moved on to reading other things- books, articles, essays, other quotes. But today I return to it, and I feel a glimmer of recognition. When I read it again, it doesn’t feel like a mystery anymore, and I feel like I’ve been inducted into a secret society, an invisible one… that I look around myself for and wonder, “does this mean, I’m there?”. And as soon as that happens, I realize the irony and the folly. But of course.
Tonight, I lay listening to Promentory, again close to 2 years since my last memory of listening to it, and nothing has changed. It seems like all this notion of growth and maturity, and the dark night that I imagined dragging my soul through, had changed nothing in me. I’m sure that just a few months earlier, this could have shaken up my sense of identity, and made me feel superficial, causing me to trivialize the emotions of my past. But none of that seems to matter now. The music invoked the same feeling in me as the very first time- I listened in rapt attention, as if I was keeping up with the teacher, while he was unraveled mysteries unforeseen, right in front of my eyes, stripping away the matrix, trusting me to understand.
I close my eyes and imagine myself, in a state of grace and finery, my hair well below my shoulders, and my eyes not wandering anymore, although still without knowledge of where the prize may lie. A suitor asks me to dance, and I oblige. I am not perturbed by any sense of incompatibility, and I continue swinging to the music. Faster, then slower, changing suitors, some who only swayed, but rhythmically and some others who were more vigorous. I cannot contain my glee; I am charging forward. Some moments feel climactic, but I stay nimble and dance along, gliding past the sharp edges, and sliding through the crevices – they were part of the dance routine.
When I finished, there was no pot at the end of rainbow, and I didn’t care to look for one either. I pulled back by hair and wiped my forehead with a satisfied look, and I walked on to even I cannot tell you where, but walked on I did.
No matter what, tomorrow can no longer remain veiled in monotony.