My vision of myself rarely coincides with the vision others have of me. When people think highly of me, I hear the sniveling thief gibber inside; when people think low of me, I feel the warrior stir. But not just in reaction to what others think. It’s almost as if praise comes exactly then, when I am convinced of how paper thin my soul truly is, and derision coincidentally arrives in tandem with an inflated ego. There seems to be a gap between my perception of reality and everyone else’s …
This weird mis-confluence happens in every aspect of my life. And the disconnect seems to happen most frequently with those who know me best, or with those whom I admire and love the most. It’s one of those illusive illusions that I try and dispel at 5am, awake with the barking dog and the sweeping man.
With gong fu, the disconnect is strong. So strong that I feel my whole person waver between real and unreal every time I step into that realm. Last Masters is my latest attempt to engage martial arts in a meaningful way. From a scholar’s standpoint, even though I am no scholar. But it’s safer than doing ketamine with a gangster or drinking baijiu with an official or getting kicked by tian hua while he yells out 你不是功夫人 over and over.
I’ve considered retreating to a cave and just staying there. To keep away from this shimmering reality issue and the people who bring it to the fore every time I am with them. But then, I say to myself, I am running from the problem and therefore I only make it stronger. I would most likely end up screaming at a dripping rock wall and no one would climb up – originally to seek advice from a sage – and find me there drooling. And if I came back, it would be to the blinding lights.
And besides, if I am the sage my inflated ego tells me I am – despite the doubtful looks of everyone else on earth – then I should walk with the people so they might catch some of my awesomeness. Problem is, everything and everyone I touch tends to reinforce my ordinary-ness. Contact with people dramatically exposes my mundane nature. Contact with people dramatically exposes my extraordinary nature.
Is this a generational thing? I feel like a whole slice of the human cake feels like they could have been Jesus, had they just been born 2000 years ago. Reality gets in the way. Realists sneer from the shadows. God is no help at all. The real world waits, like the husband she left to find adventure with Julio. The warm, waiting, forgiving husband who will only express his hatred and pain in the middle of the night or in quick glances over the cutting board.
This can’t be all there is. The disconnect has nothing to do with my own illusions, but with a worldwide delusion. We are indeed naked, wired up little people in pink pods. Harvested not born. Isn’t that the overall idea …
That Jesus will come and break us out of the Matrix. This line of thinking takes me back to the cave.
It’s not me, it’s not even them. Go to the cave and swim in a pool of LSD and never ever come back. Is that what the forty nights were all about, in the desert, with the devil hounding his sunken steps? I find it interesting that everyone knows of the forthy nights, but so very few have created art to bridge that experience with ours. Like a telescope reaching across the ages back into the sands where Jesus stumbled and called out, so we can suffer with him.
No No, most art revolves around the cross. A much more disengaging bout of suffering. We don’t put ourselves up on the cross, we watch him die there because that’s what the cross is about. The desert, on the other hand, demands we be there with him. Tempted. Thirsty and whimpering.
When Laozi and Gautama and Jesus broke through to the other side, how did they manage to stay here with us? That’s what makes the true Prophet of God. The ability to reconcile all realities into one truth, even for an instant, and then remain in that instant constantly while, at the same time, walking with us in the maze of perceptions. Standing at the focal point and wandering through the gardens, you know.
It’s intellectually possible for anyone, including me, to describe it all. And I hear stories about the Indian yogis who are close enough to the focal point to see through the perceptions and discern truth a lot of the time. But what of us normal folk, thinking we’re special, repeatedly reminded that we’re not, gazing sorrowfully back at reality waiting there. Patient as ever.
Don’t worry Sasch old boy, when you’re done jerking yourself off, your credit card will be here waiting. And even if you go to the cave and try and live off sunlight, dew and moss, we’ll take you back. Drooling, gibbering and all.