In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

Nothing 

5 Comments


“If you don’t have good intentions, please just leave me alone. I’m tired.”

Right on. My gut reacted that way to these adorned, bordered words on my morning Facebook scroll. At second blush, however, this sounded grumpy. It’s the “leave me alone” part. A command that demands aloneness inevitably appears angry, sad, just a bad decision. I mean, who besides me would want to be alone? Well, many more might be better off if they were. They might not only be okay with it, but crave it after a while.

The world is always too much with us whether we live in the bush on the African plains or in New York city’s heart. We toil. We care. We think about how, what or if we feel from the moment our eyes open upon awakening to their closing in sleep. 

We think of doing. We do. Our minds embalm themselves in constant “voice,” mostly noise. Our sensations form perceptions and the senses are always on, no matter how much we try to shut them down, tune them out or mute them with volume reducers (drugs, alcohol, love, food…). 

We are lost in a thrumming hum of sensate being. How can we ever be alone? There is no alone, no solitude, except for sleep or death, and those only by outside appearance. Who knows who or what accompanies us in either? Our minds are constantly populated with people, thoughts, memories and plans with, about or in avoidance of those we carry. 

We are never alone.

No wonder we’re tired.

So the demand to be alone is necessary. It seems nearly impossible to accomplish without intolerably long, hard dedication to removing thoughts–all of them–in practiced meditation.

And those–people or thoughts–with bad intentions whether direct or indirect, conscious or unconscious, it’s all too much. Each of us is on overload merely in the pace of one moment to the next–the bombardment of living with others, even among nature only. Nature is not benevolent. It too harbors malignancies, intended or not. 

But those who move bent on destruction (think of the fearful-angry vibrations they emit and hit us with like sonar) overburden us beyond our sitting, resting, active capacities and raise our hackles, elevating our hormones with alarm bells. We, poised in self-preservation, fight or flight, consume and are consumed by nothing but the bad intent, defense in crush or aggression, certainly guardedness. Where does that lead? 

Not to equanimity, nor to conditions amenable to hearing the silence, being with solitude, clearing the mind. We become filled with the chatter-ful greed, jealousy, deceit, mischief or envy of another. We endure gossip, lies and other violence. Our skin tingles and tightens with breath, tremor and howl.

We may suffer with our lives momentarily or forever.

It is not an unreasonable request–to hold out a stiff, unbending arm that impedes the onslaught of another–whether that takes the form of someone bumping into us, screaming hate or fear at our eyes, or onrushing our bodies to steal or otherwise injure.

We can act. We can will it, say it: “Leave. Don’t come near. Let me remove you from my mind. I can do it with or without your consent.”

In the end, it–all of it–is in our heads. Nothing. Everything.

So, usher in aloneness. Yes. I’m willing. 

5 thoughts on “Nothing 

  1. Wow what a wonderful post!!! And so true. I have learned to love being alone. It recharges me like nothing else does.

  2. Wow what a wonderful post!!! And so true. Not to mention social media has made it worse, now we have a world of company in our pockets 24/7. Its remarkable but dangerous. I have learned to love being alone. It recharges me like nothing else does.

    • Thank you! My daughter and I often discuss this topic as some of us more wired to need or love aloneness while others find it threatening and horrible to bear. Whether inherited or cultivated, there is so much to recommend in silencing the noise to be alone with yourself. Like you wrote: “It recharges me like nothing else does.” Agree!

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