Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Home, is where the hurt is

What I thought before about writing, about all actions, now has been transformed. Great things come about from careful thought and planning. If there is improvisation it is always within structure where it works best. Things have to be worked at, and for one to keep working at them you need passion. You have to like doing it and see its special purpose and place in the world. And then slowly and surely you come out onto the other side and you see it, you finally are able to see what you do with new eyes. And every time you see something in a new way, you see new flaws as well as new beauty. And you chip away at it and make it come alive. I use to wonder why what comes forth from my inside isn't as harmonious in the outer material world. Why doesn't it flow from my inner perfection? If that was the case then love wouldn't be a part of the process. It is the constant chipping away and working on a piece of writing, a painting, sculpture, that represents love, a love to the original feeling that moved inside of us that compelled us to express it and bring it to life. The feeling, that original feeling is what we continue to strive to maintain. If we are still and without fear it comes back to us and brings new life, new creation that is a mirror to who we are. We realize who we are through our work.

That's the joy of writing, artistic expression of many sorts; at its best it provides a deep self awareness. How much of our struggles is a result of self-deception! How if I could ask the Lord anything it would be to get perspective, to truly understand my strengths and weaknesses, rather than wander in the midst of a fog of self-love/hate.

To be conscious, to be aware, it is more than just art. It comes forth in other physical ways. In fasting and being light, abstaining from chemicals and then the mind clears and you understand and see things in slow motion. Drugs can work too. But they need to be done with a purpose and not done habitually. The purpose has to be self awareness, to see who we really are. Seeing will be enough, and things will get better from there. It’s easy to clean a messy room with the lights on. In the dark, you might as well sleep a deep sleep. Wake up!

The show is about to begin, is everybody in?

I am waking up. As you all know, I don't like to refer to the personal details of my life in my writings. What I eat, who I sleep with and my day to day proceedings are not what this is about. For gaboworld I prefer to write with an anonymous voice, from an anonymous place, and what I am doing, and those silly details need not get in the way of the ideas and observations at play here. That is the general rule for me in blogsphere, to make blogging anti-personal, abstract and theoretical, though I must confess, dear reader, I need to break that rule for this posting.

"Why don't you go back home to America?"

"I don't know, bad memories, I guess." - Marlon Brando, Last Tango In Paris

I am in India, in my motherland after a couple of years of absence. I come here regularly from time to time as my mother and extended family all reside here. It's a strange sort of home, a place that is a part of me, where my memories haunt me, a place that gives as much as it takes. It is difficult for me to be indifferent and this place pulls and tears at my heart and sense of self. It is only here where I realize how much I suffer by belonging to nowhere. Each trip would remind me I had a place in the world, I would feel renewed and ready to take on the world. India was magic in that way.

Now the magic fades. To feel like one is from somewhere and have it be a part of one's identity, I question this need now. A firm identity and a sense of self trap as much as it liberates. This time I feel no connection here. This trip has been difficult mostly because of my family whom I don't recognize anymore. They are thrilled by consumer goods and have lost all sense of empathy and family bonding. They pass their life in working and engaging in property disputes. The love I remember in my family is gone, most likely due to economic independence which makes me wonder if our love in the past was based on sheer necessity. When we had little we had to live well together and get along, there was no where to go. Now newspapers talk about personal space and more and more, everything that made India distinct for me is fading. Fading in tandem with my sense of who I thought I was.

I know this is a trite posting, it’s been done before, this entire east meets west business, a loss of tradition, the old going through the new. I witnessed similar things in Italy, and the longer I stayed I realized this bet we've made modernity, its sick really. Much of what I write is nostalgia and maybe you would be right in saying that it's selfish. I'll agree to that, as India was always a refuge for me from the excesses of American culture. I looked to it as an alternative, as my other world, a place where I could step away from the American machine, to rejuvenate, gain perspective and strength to fight anew. Now the fight is here, consumer society, over-consumption has taken over in a grotesque way. In times like this I understand the likes of dictators like Fidel Castro. A part of me felt in my time in Cuba that he was doing what he was doing on purpose, that he reveled in keeping people at basic economic levels in order not to quell the revolutionary energy. Give people too much disposable income and they don't care much for liberation and dignity. People will trade health care and education for ipods, as was the case with my poor black students from Brooklyn. Irrationality, it's pervasive and a greater threat than global warming. People don't know how to properly interpret their own interests, even. I wouldn't mind so much if people had real choices and then decided to shop. Most people shop because they are empty and don't know what else to do with their lives. It is why people watch TV. What they don't realize is that after a while. As life is short, shopping and TV, they prevent you from building intellectual and spiritual muscle to fight the real problems that do you the most harm.

In times like this I remember Professor Marco Cesa, a hardcore realist with a pessimistic view of human nature. Self-interest, is that what it all comes down to? I know there are exceptions, I know there is a way out, it speaks to me, there is always a Benigni in every holocaust, I just can't find him here, yet. I am looking I am searching for someone new, someone to speak of what I see around me. There is good and bad, in this new world we find ourselves in, though proponents in both camps simplify and miss the point. Marxism and the traditional left here make me yawn with their rhetoric. The neo-liberal crowd makes valid points about the beauty of competition and markets though they underestimate the spiritual needs of man. We are more than our material needs.

Many great musicians say they took to playing because they weren't hearing what they wanted to hear so they had to create it. I feel that way about life in Delhi. I am searching for that soul, that person to make sense of the chaos, and all my life I have searched for the one, and it's daunting, terrifying to realize that I may be what I am looking for. The answer lies within me. I am the one.