I’ve been back home in Italy for a couple of weeks now and oddly enough I haven’t done much in the way of writing. I’ve thousands of photos, lots of memories and ideas but oddly enough not much energy. Could it be jet lag? Could it be nostalgia?
This has been a period when many of my friends too have been having problems. Some have had marriage break-ups, others have lost a parent or close relative, the children have grown and left home – financial problems are beginning to erode their serenity – they’ve gone into retirement or their retirement has been blocked – and I’m a listener, their listener.
One of my friends broke-up with her husband and then her Mom died just a couple of weeks before my Mom. She wanted the break-up and found her own apartment and works hard at her job to build her career – but that hasn’t saved her from melancholia. The void of change, even change actively sought after, is disorientating.
So there it is. The void. Wholes rent in ones life once filled with another person or situation. A father, husband, wife, child, job, project suddenly gone and with them, all the fantasies, illusions, expectations and familiarity of a rapport – of the status quo. It’s odd sometimes that emptiness would seem to be so welcome, like after a long stressful illness or an abusive rapport, but when the moment comes, one risks being sucked into the emptiness. That’s when it begins to seem easier to put things off, maybe go take a nap, read a book or drown in the TV or a video game. Some people drown in drink or drugs, like another friend of mine. The common denominator among all my friends is emptiness. And if they happen to decide to go to a health worker, they may be diagnosed with depression and they’ll probably be prescribed a pill or two to get through the day. So then they drift with pills when what they really wanted was something that would help them overcome the emptiness.
So I return to the first paragraph I wrote here as I realize that my problem right now is that void caused by all the repentine changes in the last nine months of my life. They’ve been a roller-coaster ride in a way. I’ve made many changes and haven’t made many others that I really would have liked to have made – it seems that my life is living me instead of me living my life. I do know what the problem is but I don’t know where to find the energy to move on, especially as I don’t dwell on my problems consciously – perhaps that is what I have to do.
Zen has often been an aid to me throughout my life but I’ve given no thought to Zen in the past few months, except as an abstract idea. What I have around me now is the roaring sound of one hand clapping … and I’m mistaking the moon in the puddle for the real moon. Where is the emptiness and more importantly where is the fullness – the reality and the illusion?
In Zazen one sits (or walks meditatively). No books or films or distractions – one sits seeking nothing observing everything. One listens to what is around one … thoughts are leaves blowing in the wind.
red autumn leaf
water splashes – a fountain
rain drops falling
© Gsk ’16