I wasn’t very social as a kid, I didn’t like to travel with my family or schools, I didn’t go to parties, I wasn’t very happy. I was drastically misinformed and misformed. In my late teens and early twenties my misformation bloomed into a healthy depression. Depression got the world off my shoulders and I found a temporary peace and bliss. It wasn’t a pleasant place, but it was a major improvement on what I had before. The experience of that period of my life is bookmarked in my consciousness – I would sit with headpones on for hours listening to a loop of Sting’s album “The Soul Cages“. There was especially one song “The Wild Wild Sea” which became a meditative experience – I would get lost in it’s opening seconds and feel as if hours had gone by:
To this day listening to the album draws me inwards to a place of special sadness that envelops me in serenity and brings tears to my eyes.
Present day … I live so off the-grid that I didn’t know Sting had recently put out an album and is on tour (I used to be on the cutting edge of all things Sting : ). A few years ago I saw him in a disappointing concert in Israel and his recent years have been very desolate and uninspiring – so I went to check out the news with very low expectations. At first glance I saw a collaboration with a symphony orchestra and thought to myself “not again”. Then I switched to youtube and though the videos are of poor quality – it looks like something good has happened to Sting. Amongst the videos from recent performance I came across “Why Should I Cry For You” from “The Soul Cages” album:
… yes North has been true … and yet … sure enough there it was – that deep beautiful sadness. It was just one song – so I didn’t get to sink too far inside. Instead I had a chance to be with it and ask myself “Why was I sad? Why am I sad?”. I wasn’t sad because of where I was – I was in a comfortable place. I was sad because of the pressures to be somewhere else. I was sad because everyone seemed to be (sympathetically) blind to or denying what my senses told me about the world around me.
That hasn’t changed much. I have since been blessed with the presence of a few rare individual with whom I’ve shared a connection and view, with whom I’ve communicated in peace, with whom I’ve created. I have also been blessed with circumstances that granted me over recent years an opportunity to live in relative peace and isolation. An isolation that protectes me from a ferocious onslought of caring people who would gently but persistently erode my sense of truth.
20 years ago I was sad for myself, sad because the future seemed to hold an inevtiable, painful and purposeless existence. Today, feeling that I’ve been blessed with a rare freedom, I am sad for a world from which I am separated by an invisible wall. A world with which I wanted to share, a world it seems I am leaving behind – a remote world that some small part of me still longs for.
I wonder if this is what Buddhists mean when they dedicate their practices to all the living beings.