The Joy You’ve Felt

I would say I am quite acutely aware of the contradictions of ‘living’. A nourishing day spent with a friend enjoying company and good food, a jog in the sun with a wonderful podcast, the serenades of birds and sounds of life on Easter day. These gems of existence that I am so thankful for in the moment (and after the time has passed), that I want to pause time to really savour every ounce of the nectar it has brought to my life. However in direct contrast to the these golden hued moments, comes to me the knowledge that time will only keep going on. Eventually these memories and feelings won’t be as defined and vivid as they were in the first instance, and by the end of our lives ( if we live long ones) we will carry impressions of many moments on our backs.

I read an article today ( recommended by a friend), titled ‘Suffering as Surrender’ where one of the points made was that we should default to assuming that the dunya ( this world) is extremely base, and that we must struggle immensely as a way to cause us to consider the greater truth of the universe, namely the reality of Islamic revelation- in accordance with this analysis these heart-warming, effusive moments I was speaking of previously are temporary gifts. I struggle with the notion that as humans we were made to surrender, it makes our existence seem very sad and pathetic seeing as we vacillate between such extreme states of emotion in response to external events, which in the grand scheme of things are like drops in the ocean. I guess spiritual maturity is when you can see these realities and resign oneself to seeing them for what they are.

my lot is a sky which is taken away at the drop of a curtain

Forough Forrokhzad

I would say a major life goal for me is to be surrounded by and in a position to cultivate meaningful relationships with people. Speaking to a friend the other day he said that ultimately ‘I’m on my own for this one. I don’t think there is any support I can be given’. This is the reality of living, that ultimately no one can feel what we feel no matter how hard we try to communicate things to them through language or Art. We each exist in our own experiential bubbles. However, facing the tribulations of life without people who make a safe haven for you and you for them, leaves us facing the direct force of the waves which will eventually erode us away body and soul. I am immensely grateful for the people I have in my life, each of us with our own little eccentricities, quirks and flaws. But what I value most about them is their ability to be raw to share their experiance of being so fully with me, if only for a momentary opportunity to hold someone’s hand in the eye of the storm. Because it is these fleeting moments that buoy us to keep going, that are the bread and butter of life. These kinds of people make us thankful for what we have, and motivate us to grow and open our souls, and we must listen deeply and intently to their stories. What they tell us about their lives and teach us about ourselves in return; care for each other in the wasteland that this earth can become.

Among the tortures and devastations of life is this then – our friends are not able to finish their stories

Virginia Woolf

The idea of losing loved ones (by death) weighs heavily on me. I’ve become very aware of it in recent years, and sometimes the suffocating feeling of not spending enough time, or giving enough energy to them becomes overwhelming. Moving out for university has definitely made this thought loop of mine quite prominent. I wonder if other people think in this way, often I feel very alien and isolated in why can’t I just not be so existentialist all the time. However people will have to face the mortality of others, and themselves at some point in their lives.

At some point we will develop a level of insensitivity to even this fact of existence, but until then I must keep building a robust personal philosophy to help me carry on without being swamped in immortalising connection which were never made to be eternal and always were prone to be wracked by changing circumstances and mistakes. Its perhaps a sense of perfectionism, wanting to spend time with family and friends, do my degree, be fit and healthy and social, wanting it all when in reality life was not meant to be that way. We will have to take decisions that break our hearts, ‘wrong’ or imperfect choices but this is the nature of existence and we must keep forging on moment to moment, till the end.

Someone is saying goodbye, and now I can’t move at all, and all I can do is hold my breath, and silently listen to the final sound, nothing to do but listen silently to the very echo of that sound

Mieko Kawakami

I think this blog post got a bit morbid, but in reality these are the thoughts that run through my mind on a regular basis these days. I know that these existential spiritual phases come in peaks and troughs, and really all we can do is sit through it and try and pick as many fruits as possible. I’ve filled this post with love for my friends and family, lights in my life that I couldn’t do without and am immensely thankful for. I’m sitting here with a smile on my face, thinking about the memories of recent days. Sounds, smells, sights. I’ll never be able to capture them all but I’m glad I have them in some form to keep right now.

right now , there’s sorrow, pain; don’t kill it, and with it, the joy you’ve felt

Call Me by Your Name

One thought on “The Joy You’ve Felt

  1. I really like what you’ve written here.

    We need a conversation sometime soon iA, I think I’d be a good wall to bounce your avant-garde ball of ideas off of

    Liked by 1 person

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