The Holy Books go, “Many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Well, today's that day. It’s happening, right here, right now, on a worldly earth, or an earthy world, whichever way befits the beholder. Heaven may wait, but here the rush is on. The last of the year’s days' are here, in one gargantuan accumulated Thursday. The oldest day is about to finish last, and by Jesus, come first in a couple of expectant hours as it resurrects itself in the grand new avatar of Friday the First, at exactly 0000 Hours.
Heralding the New Year of Your Lord, 2016 AD, since JC's Immaculate Conception.
With the imposing exception of the Fiery Red Monkey Man (debuting sometime in the first two weeks of February), expect public displays of nuts and bolts, screwdrivers and sockets, jacks and wrenches, hammer and tongs, ratcheting the streets.
It’s time to type the hype. It’s tension palpable. It’s sizeable. The impatience is probably gonna ruin the fruit. There's too much expectation. Too much excitement. Too much stress. Way too much of everything. It’s an overkill. An overdose. But that’s how we like it. And that’s how we prep-up for the year-ending shindig. Ladies and gentlemen, get paranoid. Go bonkers. The delusion is approved. Sanctioned. Legit. Almost necessary. Just another mere nine hours of torturous countdown, and the wait is officially over. You can now hug everyone you love, and more notably, hate. Announce resolutions. Toast that commitment. Drink up your woes. Get stuffed. Get stoned. Get ecstatic. And when you come down to the flat valleys from the heady peaks, be wary. Very wary.
But take heart. Downfalls are up-climbs. Like getting up twice when you fall down once (is that a Japanese koan?).
For the New Year has begun, and as far as the east is concerned, its festivity of the carnal senses, with a modicum of scattered old wisdom scattered about for added gravity. A loft for the lofty.
Not quite the spiritual concoction that'll mark the arrival of the Fiery Red Monkey Man but there's something about hedonism. Something brutally earnest. A carefree splurge as opposed to the Monkey-seriousness. No ape-shit when Losar looms.
For now it’s the Georgian binge. Party-time. Material mayhem. Eat. Bulge. Indulge. It’s expected. Almost rude to non-co-operate.
But I generalize. And like the master pointed out, there’s not much we can do but generalize. Specifics are the individual’s devilish little details. A queer forte. It holds no sway. No influence. Try doing anything out of the norm and you’ll be the beneficiary of some swift scorn, and generous rebuttals. The nail that sticks out gets hammered in (another elegant Japanese minutiae).
You’re making the no-sound of no-hands' clapping. And in the spirit of Zen, that silence generates a lot of suspicious noise.
So eventually you’re thrown back in. Individuality is a myth. It makes us feel better. Unique. Apart. Even special. But the feeling is hearsay. The irony is the fact that when we do chance upon a really individual expression, we can’t handle it.
The solitary wolf is a wounded creature with fangs, howls, growls and vicious bites.
It’s bloody scary. So you rejoin the pack.
The safety of the herd is a tantalizing prison. If nothing, the setup isn’t strange. It’s familiar. It’s known. Stuck in a predictable rut, we rave, and we rant. And as another year ends and a new number begins, our countdown gets shorter and shorter. In the midst of such glaring obviousness, we are overcome by what we are not. Is it then any wonder why we bark for change knowing it's pointlessness? Why we keep whining away? The topical complains change only in their selectivity, otherwise, the complaining ensues. Even a fairly honest demand for change, improvement, altruism and the lot ring hollow in the face of a soiled and spoilt existence.
Where gratitude is absent, the scorn is persistently present.
It’s the same rot that’s been decaying all your life. And as Jack hollered, we can’t handle the truth.
Jack's spot on. Those wicked brows and grins are bang on. Shit. It starts with us. And that starts within. The realm of the mind. Devoid of that inside-job, outer phenomena always falters. Falling short. Like racist rainbows, leaving out the color black. Like discriminating rivers, flowing south. Arrogant mountains, climbing north. Forested jungles, growing threateningly beastly. Even the Awakened Buddha, forever sits and serenades. Or Heroic Milarepa, caving in. Our own Divine Drukpa Kinley, screwing around. Even our lovely kingdom flaws, bored-in with peace. And Holy Tiger’s Nest, where the walk becomes a drag.
When such nobles can inspire critique, ordinary life can become one long sadistic strife rife and riddled with cynical dissatisfaction. Dangerously appearing natural.
I used to party. Any event would do. But the grand ones were the New Year’s Eve’s. This strong sense of something old really being left behind, as we ushered in the new. So much promise. So much hope. So infectious. Ever so enticing. Alluring, we’d be tempted in, like moths to flames, leeches to blood, flies to shit. Nothing wrong with that. Desolation and hopelessness can be the other attitude. With cold indifference thrown in for a freezing touch.
Where such communal events are empty. Meaningless. Blank. Stagnant, stuck wheeless in a rusting cycle.
Finally burnt up. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, with vanishing chances of coming back to earth.
I’ve been a victim of both attitudes. The years have been mildly and steady, and on occasion, harshly painful. But mostly they have been kind. Nothing much to it. It’s quite assuredly another general state we are all too familiar with. We have been there. In time the younger ilk will get to where we are as well. The experiential deluge will be nothing mystical, spiritual or mysterious. But it’s a process, shaping foundations for later reveries. The simple factor might take time to sink in, but it’s bound to come.
That there is no other state of being than the one you already exist in.
Recognition is freedom. Engagement a choice.
That, of course, is another convenient generalization. Ha-ha. There’s nothing to be done about it. We gotta admit our limitations. Or limit our exaggerations. Ha-ha. Humor heals. Laughter cures. The tragic is comic; the comical, tragic, with dramatics.
I don’t party much. But never say never. As it stands right now, I don’t party at all. It’s not denial. Seclusion. Reclusiveness, or anything nearing disdain for those who do. It’s just a matter of factual disinterest. Utterly ordinary. Perhaps I’m old enough to have been there and done that, and having indulged in extended starry misgivings, consequently suffered.
Reality is stark. Blunt. Crude. Notwithstanding the comforting names we concoct, it’s honest enough to be itself, whatever that means, and whatever that entails. A thorn by any other name still pricks. And jackfruits drive some folks insane.
I guess my fever has left, momentarily. Or is hibernating. Asleep. Dormant. Awaiting opportunistic explosion. But it doesn’t matter. I've made the peace. It's a fragile ceasefire. The resultant head on my skull is comparatively cooler, and some of the effects have been curious. Holidays in the calendar-year now take on a different feel. The rush is gone. The thrill is a silly frill. The dash has become a slow canter, and the message sticking out on those marked-days of note is one of time.
It's pacy passage, leaving behind no tell-tell signs; a goldfish memory, blanked in three sweet seconds.
The reminder is urgent, without being hurried, that it’s another 365 days closer to death.
Here yesteryear years’ heady worldly resolutions are simply a bubbly child’s playing displays. Gonna stop smoking? Terrific. Don't let the bastards do you in. Gonna go teetotaler? Congratulations. Booze is bad. Gonna multiply your profits? Remember me. Gonna go faithful? Lucky partner's gonna buy this hoax. Gonna do charity? Hallelujah! Give and ye shall receive. Gonna foster world peace? Wow! Start ASAP! Don’t wanna give a shit? Awesome! Saves a lot of tissues. Gonna fuck it all? You the man! Daunting and daring. Gonna renounce it all? By god! I'll take care of your stuff. And if you find it, if, do bring me a sample.
The resolutions are fine. Even refined. But it’s still an intoxicated resolution, rife with hatred, passion, anger, jealousy, boredom, apathy, ambition, competitiveness, greed, domination, ignorance and other yearly ailments that'll find bountiful expression as the midnight-hour beckons.
Until the poisons transform into medicine, intoxication is the state. Delusion the projector. Hallucination the play. Illusion the reality. Dreams the awakening.
Personally I’ve never been resolute. Resolutions were just as vague and distant as the Siberian steppes. Honestly, the only thing worth anything were the drugs, dance, drinks and the babes. When all of it came rolling in one big hedonistic joint, the climactic exhaust was next. Puffed. Smoldered. Passed-out.
The next day was usually a hangover, coupled with a delusionary deja vu. That was the life, and life came down to that. But life’s grand. It ages on you. Makes you older, even if it’s just physical, its gross education imparts hard earned lessons. Now the toll is heavy. You get weary. It’s a fatiguing celebration. Sheer tedium bugs you down. You drain faster. Even if the mind wants the body can’t give. The relationship is a drain. Energy is a rare and reducing fuel, and whatever gas you’ve got left you wanna be a Spartan in its usage.
For such reluctant ageing warriors, war is the resisted final call in an enforced conflict. All you yearn for is peace, and peace is anything but battle.
But that’s me, generally speaking. So I stopped frequenting the arena. The need for speed gone, I slowed down. Biology has an interesting chemistry, if you’re the observant kind, physiologically restricting movement. Mick Jagger is an exception. An anomaly, together with the glitch that’s Keith Richards.
That’s why they’re not the sitting stones. They’re The Rolling Stones.
I may not be a stone, but I’ve got my pebbles. Now these yearly-celebrations take on another connotation. One of time, in a timely reminder, that I’ve got no time. No time.
There’s the clock, mobile and the wrist watch. But no time. It’s a time for me to remember and remind myself of the same lack of time.
Where conventional-time is the trigger for remembering no-time.
The action is clear- first recognize the bloody mess, and equipped with the right tools, go gardening. Cut the stubborn weeds of old bad habits, and wayward habitats. Snip judgmental thorns. Trim trappings. Be willing to suffer. Accept sorrow. Welcome bad news. Mellow ambition. Snap anger. Shave irritation. Scissor annoyance. Unplug wants. Blunt cynicism. Plant seeds. Water roots. Cultivate altruism. Rejoice the other’s good fortune. Soften the shell. Let it crack. Let it bleed. Let it go, and let it come.
Befriending fear, detaching love. Recognizing the journey of everything coming your way, and seeing your face coming in the way of everything. And without looking back, continue travelling; remembering life as death, and death as life, now passing on.
Thanking all things stuffed inside a box labelled- “Caution. Do not take for granted. Fragile. Handle with care.”
Be a wanderer. Know you’re a wanderer. And stop wandering.
That again is a whole lot of generalities! Ha-ha! Perhaps the clue is somewhere there, hiding in the midst of the masses. Hiding in plain sight. If the generals change, so do the soldiers. And maybe it’s the same story with our general state of being. If there’s change in your ordinary perception of the general state of affairs, then maybe you can finally begin a new kind of relationship, something far more personal, individual, unique, and special, without shunning the masses, being too aloof, or so immersed in it all you drown.
It’s that time of the year. Whether it's old grapes or new wrath, Happy New Year.