March 21, 2017 (Tuesday)

by Yule Heibel on March 20, 2018

Still feeling strange, somehow alienated from myself and my life. Worst of all, I get the sense this is not a new or recent emotion. It has either been there all along, or has festered for a long time. I kind of hope it’s the former, because I can almost accept alienation as a condition of life in our times. Perhaps those occasions when life feels authentic and real are the illusions, and alienation is our actual (pre)condition.

What a horrible thought. But something about it must be true. Why else would we strive for authenticity, if it were the “natural” (pre)condition. I mean, what’s more believable: an actual prelapsarian state of innocence and grace, or a hardwired awareness of its opposite, the fall? The mortality? Oh gods, back to mortality again. Is this why people are religious (at least in the Christian sense)? It’s not the everlasting etc. etc. so much which they’re after, but authenticity, a sense of prelapsarian ease? But – or perhaps and – there’s that word: ease. It’s that word which attracts me to Tara Stiles’s type of yoga practice, too, its emphasis on ease. And the same thing pulls me into Andy Puddicombe’s Headspace meditation programs.

Contrast ease with labor – the whole postlapsarian “by the sweat of your brow” thing… We long deeply for ease, not so much as a thing, as life on Easy Street, but as a mental state. When at ease, we’re closer to our prelapsarian grace. Our minds can provide that ease almost independently of circumstance(s). That’s the pull of religions, too. Therefore, I suppose, when I’m feeling anxious and alienated, my mind is at dis-ease. Life itself becomes a disease from which to escape. This is kind of horrifying when one considers how easily one becomes dis-eased, and when one multiplies that by several billion minds. I can see now why/ how the proponents of meditation in the 1970s (and before) claimed that transcendental meditation (TM) could bring world peace. Mind you, if we all (or a majority of us) felt at ease, there’s no guarantee we wouldn’t engage in mischief and shenanigans anyway. It is possible to feel authentic and unalienated, and still be an idiot or a fiend.

…Fiend. I don’t like that word, it resonates dangerously, disgustingly, somehow. I still wonder what happened to me, really, on the evening of the “rusty nail” incident. Writing the word “fiend” at the end of that sentence up there, after writing about dis-ease, made me recoil inwardly.

Anyway… I took a couple of hours in the morning yesterday to write A. and E. about the things I learned from doing the “A Remarkable Life” exercise. In the evening W. and I walked to S. for an okay dinner. That restaurant at least is quiet enough for conversation. On the way there, I was ranting about / against Trump – particularly Gorsuch, the Roberts pro-corporations court. I really don’t see how this is supposed to go on here. WashPo had some headline or op-ed title, about how Trump is shrinking and miniaturizing the presidency in the eyes of the world. There is this loss of gravitas, this trivialization, that’s shocking. But Trump is just a symptom. The disease – back to that word, how odd! – goes much deeper. It comes from a certain class who believe that ease equals Easy Street, and who do everything they can to stay on that illusory road.

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