пятница, 14 января 2011 г.

Up and forward: first entry

What do you hear when someone asks you if you know how to breathe? Exactly my thought – a flabbergasted face and “what do you mean” right off the tongue. I must assure you, I am neither a zombie nor anaerobic bacteria, of course I know how to breathe. So if someone told me I should learn to breathe, I’d keep myself away from them. Who knows, maybe the psychiatrists charge way too much these days.

If some years ago someone told me about the search of my true self, I’d be laughing hard. I’d be mocking this mere statement with passion and sophistication. Alright, this is no breathing – this is deep stuff. Have you got a book on personality construction for me? I prefer hard copies. The power of mind? Yeah, baby, let’s do the rain dance and make it drop upon us, turning water to gold on its way down. We’ll become millionaires – hail to the power of mind! Or at least let the soup cook itself while we’re thinking intensively about it. Hidden potential? No touchy, this is why it’s potential, like Dylan Moore says.

But life has its own ways.
Sitting at the shore of the lake, I was watching the sunset. It was my fourth day of my first vacation in nine months, and work, work and work was still on my mind. All of a sudden I got a feeling I am sitting beside all of this – the water, the sun, the sky, everything is going by, and I am not participating. I knew it was all beautiful but I could not feel it. It was all outside of me, and I was separated.

They say the world around you is a projection of your inner feeling. You’re upset – grumpy people fill your surroundings. Get angry and you’ll hear yelling everywhere you go. Feeling empty? The whole world won’t be enough to fill in your gap. Even the weather will get boring, seems like it all bends underneath you against your very desires. And then – oh gosh, the insight. I get crap all around when I feel crappy. Will it work the other way around? Too simple to be true but too easy not to try. What do I lose? The crap.

And thought by thought I started looking into my own head. There is anger, and frustration, and despair, and heaven knows what else… and a tiny shiny bit of cheerfulness, dug deep under the pile of inner dirt. Not the sarcasm and witty-bitter jokes. The real cheerfulness. Andrey Kochergin, a martial arts guru, finished one of his books with a saying: “This world is not scary, it’s just dirty. Start from cleaning yourself and it all just won’t stand the chance.” I might forget the whole book but this phrase made it worth reading. He’s right. There is a ton of work to do, and I am the one to start with.

Person’s inner state is a peculiar thing. Once we realize we can control it, the core of our being undergoes substantial changes. Over the years the proverb about changing your attitude when you cannot change your situation has become so common it does not resonate well enough anymore. But its meaning stays as it was, and the responsibility for our own selves is still on us. This is the paradox: no matter if we are aware of the laws of the Universe, they work, and if we know them, we can play along. If not – the winners get it all, and we get to sit by and watch them with empty eyes. So there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Now, you can put away the trash with bare hands, you can hire someone to do it for you, or you can sit by, eat candies and pretend it’s not there. I tried the second option and as soon as the person was gone, all the dirt inside reappeared with the twofold intensiveness. The pills might work but it’s always a short-term relief. It’s a great temptation – to give in to the thoughts that one tiny bit of chemistry evolution will spare you of all troubles. But in the end it does not work. So I ended up sitting at the lake, with my bare hands as the only tools available. Darn it all, I said, if nothing else works – this has to. There is no fourth option.

There are many things you can do with bare hands. Six years ago I got mine busy practicing wing chun kung fu. I forgot the exact moves but remembered the great mood and the lightness with which I used to leave the sports hall. Without further thinking I decided to resume training. And this is how it all started.

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