Bhutan July 2013

Beauty is a source of great depth and power. When I catch a glimpse of our galaxy’s awesome fiery star melting into the horizon I feel an electric impulse surge throughout my body. The beauty of this spectacle is the very essence of Life. I want to BE that beauty…I want to be the star setting the world ablaze!

But I’m not that majestic sunset, nor it’s awesome source. I’m not the center of this universe. Why does the beauty of the world cause me both great elation and deep pain?

You know the answer.

Yes, I can’t pretend I don’t. What I feel I lack is what I want, and when desire is ignited it erupts into longing!

It’s not beauty which burns, but the longing itself.

Can I disagree? How can a beautiful sunset cause pain? It can’t – but in the moments after the beauty passes the image of it remains in the mind. There’s a desire to repeat the experience of beauty and so the mind keeps replaying what isn’t here anymore. – the mind creates an ambition to experience the same joy it did in the past.

So desire is a feeling of ‘lack’. It’s painful to assume that you lack something essential isn’t it?

Yet, but it’s wonderful to acquire that thing! I realize that Life is bitter sweet, but that is the beauty of living! If the sun never set I would never appreciate its glory. But sometimes I do compare the beauty of things to my own self: “Oh what a mediocrity I am in the face of such splendor! Who am I amidst this grandeur if not an ant reduced to the size of a subatomic particle, a nobody?” (And so on and so forth…Boo’s and Hoo’s do abound, but “this too shall pass“).

Subatomic particles are not Life reduced but Life itself, infinitely closer to the source. As for what shall pass, remember that this doesn’t just apply to the ‘bad’, but to the ‘good’ too.

I’m not sure who whispers in my ear, but whoever it is I tell her outright that although life’s majesty turns to anguish when you miss it, anguish will again lead to beauty – everyone knows that “what goes up must come down!” And friend,  I won’t give up comparison and the sweet pleasure its bitter pain carries because passion is Life!

You won’t give up comparison, or you can’t?

New Queen by Emma Jane Hogbin Westby

(Photo Credit: Emma Jane Hogbin Westby)

Can’t you sense the truth of who you are as the rhythmic beat of every impulse rises in unison, ascending to heights that undulate and vibrate like a swarm of wild bees drunk with honey? I am what I feel! My desire, my longings, they keep me alive searching for the next fulfillment, the next sunset, the next beautiful face, the next pleasing path. I move along the road of ‘what’s to come’ and once I arrive at the post I revel in the beauty of that accomplishment and…

And then? All is well? Eternal satisfaction? Peace? Joy? Love? But as you said already, pleasure turns into boredom or pain, while more leads to less and less to more. It seems that this “passionate life” of yours is a constant matter of waiting.

Bhutan July 2013

Yes, but how can you know beauty if you haven’t seen ugliness? How can you know happiness without ever touching sadness? What is the day without the night (and these things take time to experience). You are but a fraction of Life, a part of the whole. How can you realize this truth if you don’t compare yourself to the other parts? You know you are not the whole. (Don’t I?) And how can you endure the pain of being, having, and knowing less, without fulfilling your desire for being, having and knowing more?

So you know you are not the whole because you compare the fraction which you believe you are, to the fraction you believe the other to be? Who would you be if you didn’t compare?

060312 Srinegar - India Feb-Mar 2006 (44)

I ‘m starting to feel irritated, and this Voice isn’t relenting. How can I know who I am if I don’t compare? I miss the sun’s warmth under the cool moon, and the day’s heat makes me long for the nigh air. I have to chase the next pleasing thing because each is followed by its bitter counterpart, one uplifting and the other letting down! If I didn’t compare I would have no heart to bleed or rejoice! I would be reduced to…

Nothing?… If the only way to live is by comparison then your sense of self depends upon someone else being ‘worse’ (or better) off than you. Can one person’s misfortune (or fortune) lead another person to true Joy, Peace, and Love? Are you saying that your sense of joy is derived through others instead of through yourself? What happens if there’s no one and no thing around with whom or which to compare?  – Maybe you’re not who you feel you are by comparison.

My blood is boiling. How can anyone know who I am but me?!

But if you are you, who am I?

I don’t know who YOU are but I’m the up and the down! I’m the good and the bad! I’m the beautiful and the ugly! It just so happens that I’m the culmination of all those sides, like a gemstone each side of me reflects a piece of that whole beauty – a piece of the sun, of the heavens, of the universe itself!

New Moon - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

(Image Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

You’re so right. Forgive me. Don’t become anger. You are the reflection of the particular side you happen to project  (who shaped you my gem?). Like the moon, the dim light which you emit is but a reflection of the sun. I just want to ask the reflection – does the path of discovery end the moment the sun refuses to shine? Who will you be then?