So. Where was I? Ah yes, Caz’s questions. These were they:
“Who are you?
What are your values?
Where do you want to be in the growth of your being?
Where or who do you want to be in five years time?”
And then she added: “Short and honest answers only.”
And I sat and stared at the screen for a long, long time. And then I slowly typed:
“I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.”
Which was certainly short and, to be honest, very honest. But those questions stayed with me, and are still with me. A few years ago, I would have answered them very differently. I would have said that my values were these: to be honest, to be kind, to be brave.
But, you know, the more I live, the more I feel there is always another side. If you are always honest, you might not be kind, for example. And if you are always kind, is that always the best thing for people? I mean, I have learned the most from the people who have been (ostensibly) very unkind. And brave? Surely that’s always good? Well, not necessarily. Sometimes one’s bravery could hurt others. It’s not so simple.
Five years ago I would have said that in five years’ time I would like to be a best-selling fiction author, travelling the world for the price of the odd talk or book signing. Now?
Who am I? What is this thing people call Jane Alexander? Am I my body? My mind? My emotions? My elusive ‘soul’? All? Or none? So I meditated on it (while rowing at the gym as it happens) and went further and further inwards and arrived at…a tiny glowing spark, a shimmer – one tiny oh so tiny part of creation.
And I felt that was cool. But then, really, if I am at root, just one of gazillions of sparky little sparks, where is the need for this ‘growth of my being’? I am. I just am. Not particularly good (I mistyped god there – made me smile), not particularly bad. But really, once again, I found myself wondering (wandering) ‘What is the point?’
And then I got off the rower and switched to the bike and, because I thought I’d pull myself back to the here and now (cos I really had gone off a long, long, long way while moving backwards and forwards and going nowhere) I opened a book and read the story of a wise Indian king who once dreamed that his people were going to be poisoned by evil rain which would drive them crazy. He tried to warn the people but they didn’t listen. So, when the rain came, everyone drank and everyone went crazy.
What did the king do? Well, he drank the water and went crazy too.
You have to wonder about that story. He knew what would happen but he still drank. Was he empathetic? Did he dread separation from his people? Was he cowardly? Did he fear being alone amongst mad people (I've often thought, when people talk about the zombie apocalypse thing that I'd probably just run out and go 'Oh just bite me, for pity's sake, and let's get it over and done with')? Or did he realize that his "wisdom" was one-sided and that he needed to go back to ordinary, mad, crazy, everyday life (the same life everyone lives) in order to become enlightened there too?
It’s easy to step aside from the world; to watch the ‘crazy’ people on their hamster wheels being busy and striving to achieve, to win, to make money, to gain prestige. It’s much harder, I figure, to dance through the everyday madness. Or stumble, with bits dropping off here and there, if we follow the zombie line.
It may be tempting to leave your body, to leave your mind, to leave the planet – because although the world is very beautiful, it can equally be very depressing – but maybe that’s a cop-out. Maybe enlightenment is insanity?