I wonder if I lack faith when people tell me they have put their intentions out into the universe and they believe things will manifest in the way imagined.
I also wonder if I lack confidence when people tell me that I need to know exactly what I want and go after it to make it happen.
Between lack of faith and lack of confidence, is the place where I situate myself. In this space the universe knows (and I too cannot ignore) that I do not know how to wish and what to pursue. It does not sound particularly impressive, but it is, because between the wish and the pursuit resides awe.
It’s where we feel dread and wonder—the feeling that diminishes our reality and assigns it magnificence at the same time. I felt it when I watched up-close a Humpback whale breach or leap out of the waters in Iceland, and when I heard the thunderous sound of an avalanche and saw snow cascade down the mountain next to where I was camping in the Himalayas at Uttarakhand in India. I also felt it numerous times this past year when I could not speed up the languid pace of monotony, as much as I tried.
I wanted to shake off monotony and break out of its uneventful cycle, because it diminished my reality. I wondered if a caterpillar felt the same rolled up as a pupa? With no external impetus or the usual distractions of the pre-pandemic world, I had little choice but to accept monotony. Perhaps, like the caterpillar is primed from birth to become a moth or a butterfly, we too are primed to accept and observe monotony? Yet I resisted till I no longer did.
Curiously enough, my mind began observing in the uneventfulness the selfsame wonder and dread that we experience in the exhilarating. When the restlessness that had been my response started to settle, I noticed that something more lay underneath the ennui or boredom and below the thick fog of dullness: In the seemingly repetitive flow of monotony is a continuous unfolding, Life is happening to us while we are busy making other plans (paraphrased from Beautiful Boy, by John Lennon).
Last night, I received the news about a suicide—a life had ended too soon. A sweet and gentle boy who had grown into a caring young man had missed out on the awe concealed by monotony. He may have chosen not to die had someone pointed him to it.
Learn to see is for him, and for all of us: Beyond the pursuit and the wish, awe awaits, I am pointing you to it.
Don’t wish upon the stars, little boy
Nor aim for the stars as you were told
Just watch and you shall see.
I will sit beside you, watching too
My presence a reminder that you’re not alone.
It’s hard to see when the lights get bright
It’s hard to see when clouds gather
When pursuits pull you
And wishes tempt
Just be still and you shall see.
For the brook will gurgle
The breeze will flow
The whale will breach
And cascade will snow.
In this unwavering monotony: the cycle of life
We, there isn’t
I, not in the least
There is but all
One and the same.
The caterpillar is primed to be a moth or a butterfly
A pupa is a stage in-between
Don’t rush the transformation
Just hold on and you shall see
Dread when it merges with wonder
To reveal the awe that lies beneath.