I woke up this morning before the darkness of night had faded. All were silent, except for the wind. It howled while it made its way through gaps between my room windows, quietening as the light of dawn transformed silhouettes into objects.
A gentle rain began to fall—a passing shower really. It washed all it touched, a morning ablution that seemed more ceremonial than seasonal (it’s monsoon in India right now). It cleaned the dust on the pinnate fronds of the Coconut Palm in the garden, leaving the feather-shaped leaflets to glisten in the morning light of the tropical sun that shined as the clouds dispersed.
This sequence of events is not part of a story. It does not lead to a connected event. The following event was rather incongruent: I walked away from the window, and stood head bent, staring at my phone screen.
This is really how our days are, aren’t they? A sequence of events that are stitched together by our mind. Some events energise us, some enervate us, we forget some and some we hold on to, weaving together our personal stories. We pick and choose the most self-aggrandising events to build our social reputation. We use the sensational ones to create news, and we keep ourselves entertained by repeating the ones that involve others. That’s how we roll—making stories out of events. But, your life, my life, and the lives of all those we read and speak about are not stories. Is the heartbreak you experienced at losing a loved one a story, or can you feel its numbing pain somewhere deep inside? Is the joy you felt at a random act of kindness a story, or does it soothe your weary mind when it replays itself in memory?
Life then is not the narrative in our head. It is being lived through our experiences. Your experiences can caution me, guide me, inspire me, and mine can do likewise for you. This seems like the only worthy exchange between two individuals. Where then is the conflict? We learn from each other and we support each other. Or, we could if we tried, especially given our interdependence on this mutual exchange.
Maybe my experience of the transition from darkness to dawn to sunrise will inspire you to see the lyrical beauty of an ordinary morning, and then we will move on, grateful that we could share an experience. Nothing beyond. Because there’s really little else that can be shared.
“There are those who do not realise that one day we must all die, but those who do realise this settle their quarrels.”