There are these moments when I feel connected to a random person. No, it’s not just a connection but a profound realization that the other person is me, who happened to look different and live a different life. While I take the bus to work, I suddenly look at a person and wonder if that was me. I look out of the window and ask if that child was me? Could that tree be me? Could that dog be me? Suddenly, the bus comes to a halt, that stranger gets off, and my thoughts wander off to the grocery list I prepared the previous night. Fleeting yet powerful moments of oneness keep appearing and vanishing several times each day. Oneness, I wonder, is a feeling of being in different places, as a separate being, and perhaps another object simultaneously. I could feel one with a person next to me, a blade of grass in the garden, or a rock three oceans away.

But why do I feel this oneness? Why is this connection limited to one or two people on the bus? And why not everyone on the bus? Maybe I’m made of the same matter and energy as the other person, and that is why I feel connected. So, what about the others on the bus? They are made of the same matter and energy. How come this connection is limited to a radius and does not extend to the edges of the universe? Maybe I get too distracted to know. Whether it is a grocery list, a smudge on my shoe, or the next doom’s day prophecy, I may need to contemplate with as few distractions as possible. No wonder people travelled to unreachable places and sat in the darkest of caves.

I firmly believe that everything and everyone around me is made of the same matter and energy. It is expanding into something, contracting into nothing, and is repeating itself. I just don’t know when it will disappear and into what? And what form is it going to take when it comes into being? Finally, I don’t understand why this happens. Perhaps it is more to do with the limitations of my consciousness and the reach of my soul.
How do I break free of my limitations? If those limits are expanded, perhaps I can see the formless and go beyond independently. Maybe our ancestors and cultures in various parts of the world reached similar conclusions. They all contemplated and had to stop themselves to conclude at some point. It seems to me that after everyone pushed themselves as far as possible, everything is abstract, formless, unreachable and maybe unattainable. Some cultures called it ‘maya,’ some exclaimed it as ‘divine play,’ some screamed that it was a ‘big-bang,’ and some settled that it was ‘god’s doing.’ They convinced themselves of their interpretation and told others of their philosophies. A great many stories have emerged out of those collective beliefs. With enthusiasm and gusto, we continue to tell different versions of those stories to others. Its been many centuries, but nothing wholly original or earth-shattering has emerged. All the stories that we now tell each other are sad replicas of what was handed over to us.

Individual quest for self-realization and enlightenment appears to be on a sharp decline. It so seems inevitable the fall of ancient cultures. And at a broader level, that quest is what science picked up where cultures stopped. Because our little brains cannot handle the silence for long wherein, our interpretations stopped, and stories began to vanish. We tried to compensate for the lack of a clear path by busying ourselves in building civilizations, inventing technological marvels, destroying the planet, and cloning ourselves. Sometimes we overcompensate the vacuum with ecology, polemology, and philanthropy. Faster, greater, and hungrier – seems to be the new motto.

Why did we stop at maya or big bang? Why didn’t we begin a contemplative moment again? Why isn’t self-realization a pressing need? Why are we afraid of going back to the basics? Are we afraid of finding nothing or finding something that may not flatter our ego? Why are we rushing to outsource our spirituality to science and technology? Maybe it’s the same reason as to why we chose to outsource our businesses. Isn’t outsourcing more economical, efficient, and quasi-liberal? The quest for ‘insourcing’ is indeed expensive, and of course, there are no guarantees of favourable outcomes. Insourcing takes a lot of effort, practice, energy. It mostly needs us to sacrifice instagram likes, videogame battles, racist politics, luxury properties, and escapist drugs; hence, we aren’t ready. So, we found a way to outsource our troubles; and in the meantime, we will find ways to compensate.

What started as a mystical oneness narration ended as a nihilistic assessment of life. Out of the million great stories handed over to me, I chose to share this sad replica.

———— End————-

To my dear wife, Kavya.

Despite my wretched love for you, thank you for sticking with me for the past 15 years. And, truly sorry for I can not write anything romantic nor humorous.

Happy Anniversary 😊 December 4, 2020. 

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