Sunday, August 10, 2003
  become the breeze become the breeze

I'm lying stretched out on my bed, head at the foot, gazing out the window. It turned into such a beautiful day, but I don't really know what to do with myself. Just ate lunch, nothing I feel like doing. Don't want to read my book. No errands that need running. Nowhere I feel like walking to. So I just doze.

I doze and I wake and I doze and wake… Cat stretched out on my stomach, purring like a lawnmower. It's the sort of summer day that whispers wordlessly with a constant rustling of leaves. I can feel the breeze coming in through the open window, tickling my leg, my face, I can feel it on my hand. I want to rouse myself from my afternoon slumber, get up and do something; such a waste to doze the day away. But I feel so heavy, my consciousness surfacing only to sink back down into the somnolent depths.

Strange, I never sleep so much in the middle of the day…

It occurs to me that it may be over-stimulation I'm feeling. The relentless sensuality of the breeze tickling, caressing, soothing, the din of rustling leaves, chirping birds, church bells, laughing children, the kaleidoscope of memories these summer sounds evoke -- sometimes the aching beauty of our world is just too much for our meager minds to absorb. And even as my consciousness tries to retreat from its cluttered ebb tide of circular arguments, random memories, bits of songs, and dog-eared worries -- wondering why I can't just shut off the racket in my head and enjoy a moment -- another deeper part of myself rises silently up to take it all in; to bear witness to the fragile beauty caught in a single second of just another summer day.

As I continue to wrestle with the congestion of pointless thoughts taking up space in my head, contemplating what sacrifice I'd be willing to make to escape modern life and its entrapment of insipidness, another thought pushes through: I wish I believed in god.

Why? I ask myself.

I wish that I could pray, could believe in something, could attempt a dialog with something bigger and deeper than the human psyche. I wish that I could speak with my soul and expect to be answered back.

And I think of stories of die-hard atheists and cynics who become believers as they age. Not that I am aging at 29, exactly, but much on my mind lately is the delicate spiders' web thread separating life from death; so fragile, so easily torn. Thus my persistent attempts to just-shut-up-and-appreciate-this-goddammed-moment-while-I-have-it.

But then I think with a sigh that I don't expect I'll be one of those cynics-turned-believers. I remember myself at the age of eight trying so hard to believe in god, as my Episcopal schoolteachers said I should. But how can you make yourself believe? Doesn't that defeat the whole point of believing? Yes it does, I answer my eight-year-old self, because at the time nobody did.

And I question myself again, why does it matter whether I am able to believe in god or not?

Because it's devastating to think that we are so all-alone in this vast universe, with no one to watch over us, no one to protect us, no one to care.

We aren't alone. Far from it, I answer back. It is only our preciousness that causes us to feel alone. Because we are so preoccupied with our human importance. Listen to all the birds out there -- how could you possibly think yourself alone in the universe?

I turn from my Judeo-Christian upbringing and contemplate the question from another angle. I know that I understand very little of Eastern theology, but still I am aware that generations of Buddhist monks have dedicated their lives to little more than escaping their ego, humbling themselves to that of a grain of sand.

Feel the breeze on your skin, I instruct myself. Become the breeze. Once you become the breeze you will no longer feel the absence of god.


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