I missed a day again yesterday. This time writing didn’t even cross my mind; on other days I missed, I at least thought about writing and then either forgot or perhaps even subconsciously bailed on it. Yesterday was just so busy and I was just so tired that I simply forgot. I hadn’t slept very well, and I was feeling sick, and I had gone to jiu-jitsu, and whoops. It happens. I don’t really need to explain myself going forward.
Actually, I spent a bunch of time late at night writing a few important emails and helping my mom edit a document she was working on, so that kinda became my writing time. Or at least cannibalized it.
I have a Vipassana coming up in exactly two weeks. To date, I did one in February 2016 in Nepal, for 10 days, which was incredible. Inner peace was actually achieved; my ideal state of being. Then I did a 3-day one in February 2017 in Kelseyville, California which was awful. My car was outside, three days was too short, and I never got to focus on doing the Vipassana and just wanted to leave the whole time and was able to leave after effectively one full day, since the first day was the day I arrived and the third day was the day that I departed.
So this is my first Vipassana, my first real one, since February 2016, three years. I downloaded all these selfie videos I took from around the time of my last Vipassana, and I intended to watch them and try to get a sense of what I was like back then, and what I gained from the Vipassana, and how I changed afterwards. I actually haven’t watched any of those videos yet… I think they’ll likely make up around 3 hours or more of content. I should try to bite off a piece every day… it should be really interesting. I’ll actually just start with one tonight, and watch a few a day and see where I end up.
Right now I’m very scared to do a Vipassana and I definitely want to bail. But I know that while it’s incredibly challenging and scary, last time it was also one of the most rewarding things I’d ever done. I just hope it’s not a one-hit wonder you know? That for me repeating the experience will be as great as the first time I did it and it was brand new. It’s also scary because at that time in 2016 I had nothing to do, nothing to worry about, I was in the middle of backpacking through East to South Asia. This time, I have a million things to worry about, though all related to Compound and our wedding. It’ll be weird to go into the Vipassana with a million things on my mind, and to finish the Vipassana and go directly back into work without much time for reflection. I guess we’ll see.
So at this thing there’s no talking, no reading, no writing, no music, no exercise. Last time, I tried to do some pushups once in a while. I also snuck in a little notebook and wrote inside of my jacket with my eyes closed – I just thought of so many things I didn’t want to forget. I even wrote on my hand then copied it into a notebook later. I’m probably going to do the same thing this time… it’s a pretty cool memento to bring out of the experience. Though it is cheating and I’m sure the experience is different if you have to really give up on even bringing your thoughts through the experience; that is, you KNOW there are thoughts on day 1 you will forget by day 10 and you just have to be okay with letting go.
Anyways it’ll be awesome and intense but I guess for me there’s no better way to live than with passion and intensity. We’ll see how it goes. I hope it’s transformative in a good way. Always seeking evolution and progress. There’s a lot I have to work on, might as well work on it hard.
I have a list going of things I want to write about… one thing was a video I saw earlier today, from a tweet by the Black Socialists of America. The video had nothing to do with Black or Socialist or even America, it was a video of James Baldwin talking about suffering. The point he makes is that in our lives there are times we feel like, “Why me? Why must I suffer?” and we feel isolated in this pain, like God has chosen us to suffer, and there’s no reason we should, and we feel so broken in this suffering. But then, he says, one day we realize it’s not just us, that everyone suffers, that everywhere people are suffering almost regardless of their circumstances. It’s just part of the human condition, it comes with the gift of being alive, which is really the gift of experience, that some experience will be pleasant and some will be suffering. And then, he says, you learn that your suffering is a bridge to other people. I guess he’s talking about connection. Perhaps about sympathy, or empathy.
And finally he talks about this sympathy or empathy, this bridge, being a motivation to try to bring a little light to other people, a little hope. That you can’t bring people out of their suffering, but you can try to bring in them the inspiration or the resolve to bring themselves out of suffering, or at least to hope and survive until the good experiences come around again.
It was so powerful. There was something magic in the way James Baldwin delivered this message. There’s magic everywhere, whether it’s art or music or wisdom or writing or nature or sport or community. I wish I could tap into magic like that. The kind of magic that sends chills down your spine, that makes you feel so alive, that makes your heart expand, or your mind explode with pleasure and excitement. That’s what I’m seeking. That kind of magic. It’s everywhere, but it doesn’t feel like it’s in me. I wish I had a well of that magic inside me. But I know that can’t be the way it works, not for anyone (well maybe for some people?). Stevie Wonder magic. Frank Ocean magic.
How do I build that magic? Or how do I grow it. Or at least, how do I create it, once in a while, inside of myself, and share it with the world, or at least share in the experience of it with other people in the world?