Reading Hesse’s Siddhartha again, I realised that I read books as I look at a river. I read and read until I find a sentence, a paragraph that resonates with me. Then I stop. I wonder why my mind focused my intention on that idea. I immediately discard it… ‘No, that cannot be me’. But I push a little. ‘Ok, it cannot be me, but what if it were?’ A hypothetical self. What if I were in that situation, that character? I let myself float on that idea, sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes surprising, until I begin to see what it was trying to say and how it applies to me. At times, I just can’t understand it and I resume reading, waiting patiently or impatiently for the next stop.
I used to be anxious about how many books I still wanted to read, so many on my list. Now I believe they are all the same book. My unconscious, my soul, just uses them as boards to paint what it wants to convey. The sequence of words is not so relevant. I will possibly find what I need to find in any book. I just have to listen.
Sometimes I look at the mountains, the trees, the flowers, the rivers in awe. I think ‘they are perfect’. They cannot be otherwise; they are just what they have to be. And I wonder if someday I will be able to look at myself in awe, as if I were a tree, a mountain, a flower, thinking ‘look at this being, part of this world, standing here in perfection, the only being he can be’.
One day, maybe.
Instead, I see myself full of choices, full of imperfections, as if I were at fault for being who I am or who I am not. Stained irremediably by the original sin, the separation of the rational and the unconscious minds. Standing in the middle, pulling with all my strength, trying to reconcile both worlds. Instead of just sitting, contemplating, admiring. Accepting.
If I were capable of not judging, like I do not judge a tree or a mountain or a flower… I do not judge them because I believe they have no choice; they are the only thing they can be. But I don’t see myself in that light. I judge myself and others. And I perceive a distance between what I think I see and what I think it should be. I judge myself as I judge others, and I see all our imperfections. The subtraction of what should be minus what is.
If I were able to see others like trees, flowers, or mountains, without judging, would I not believe they are perfect in the way they are? Would I not believe they are just how they are supposed to be, without deviating a single micron? Would I not believe the same about myself?
Accepting is the task of a lifetime. Not seeing the distance between what is and what should be but accepting that everything is exactly as it should.
If I were able to accept that premise, I would see how presumptuous I am, believing that I know ‘better’. And what is ‘better’, anyway? The idealised concept. How did that ideal form in my mind? I do not know. I can only say that my ideal is just not what is; it is a departure from reality, from ‘here’.
Blue was blue, river was river,Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
and if also in the blue and the river, in Siddhartha, the singular and
divine lived hidden, so it was still that very divinity’s way and
purpose, to be here yellow, here blue, there sky, there forest, and here
Siddhartha. The purpose and the essential properties were not somewhere
behind the things, they were in them, in everything.
Reading books is dangerous. Pondering a few words is dangerous. One innocent paragraph can shake the foundations of what one believes. Or rather, the foundations of what one thought to believe. But the seed was already there. The book just made the unconscious thoughts conscious, it projected them on a book page for me to see, to become aware of what was inside me today.
One can only feel grateful.