The moment is all you have.
The face in the mirror is not yours.
The moment is gone.
If you stare at a being long enough, it will eventually die.
Five minutes of neurosis.
Five minutes of losing yourself.
Five minutes of damnation.
The terrifying truth is that at any given moment, you’re one thought away from a nervous breakdown. If you relax your grip for one second, he slips in and gnaws at your consciousness. He amplifies your fears and reduces your choices to a hopeless surrender. He’s always bigger, stronger, engulfing you in his grey world where your shadow resides and forcing you to languidly swirl for an eternity inside your head.
“You are by yourself among people.”
“You are never enough.”
“Life will devour your soul.”
A hand on your shoulder jolts you back to the present moment. He’s gone for now; you are still here.
A creeping headache holds you in its grip. The aura of hyperactivity and inhibition lulls you into a false sense of security. The body mutinies against consciousness. Pain descends, permeating inside your skull. The type of pain that forces you to squeeze your eyes shut and endure a surge of neurological anguish because it feels better when you finally open them; now you have perspective. The grip tightens.
What does the Buddha say about biting the flesh off someone’s face and feasting on their agony?
I am the voice that speaks of feelings buried within you and thoughts pounding against the confines of your brain. I am the conceptualization of your shadow, that which you oppress to maintain autonomy over your own body. I am the wish to be forgotten and the hoarse whisper to please, please stay. I am the child yearning for a hug and the immovable object standing against life itself.
“This is who I am” is treasonous to who you truly are: a malleable interchanging mass of matter that matters.
Grab a hammer and drive a nail into your psyche. Cry your consciousness away. Write compulsively and put the rapid onslaught of thoughts into words; catharsis is in the burnout. You molt and your dead skin remains as valuable insight into who you were and how you functioned.
We seem inclined to downplay other people’s uniqueness in order to overstate our own. We also seem to invert the practice when we want to prove a point, diminishing other people’s individuality to generalize our feelings and actions. A self-serving mechanism lies at the heart of this. Our uniqueness and sameness are constantly at war with each other.
This self-centered approach isn’t always utilized for one’s own benefit, as evidenced by our tendency to obsessively question other people’s motives and feelings. We want our relationships to be mutual and our feelings to be reciprocated, so we look for signs to affirm that position. The closer you are to someone, the more you will feel the need to partake in such practice. I don’t think of it as inherently wrong or selfish since it stems from a primordial place: we want people to be genuine in their interactions with us, and we hate to be taken advantage of. There is a reason why hypocrisy and backstabbing are deemed morally abhorrent in every culture. The problem arises when we fail to calibrate our reading with the dichotomy of generalization and uniqueness. Such failure is an obvious outcome of using two extremes: we are either the exception in the relationship, investing more and receiving less, or an insignificant individual in the eyes of the other party. This is not to be taken lightly as just another social quirk that people have; it’s a parasite that feeds on people’s insecurities and bias. Perception shaping reality might be a cliché, but clichés become what they are because they’re easy to regurgitate and difficult to fundamentally understand.
One must be consciously aware of the tendency to regress into a repetitive distress-state whenever existence emerges out of its all-encompassing cloak to stand forth and stares you in the eyes. Human beings accept death as an inevitable end, but that doesn’t necessarily bring comfort, as the ambiguity associated with death conjures varying images of the outcome. Those who struggle with existential questions are often plagued by these images. Existential terror is unique because it is a byproduct of being human. The only escape is a thrust into the heart of the agony. The sufferer seeks an antidote to that life-induced illness: truth.
To be consciously aware of one’s unconscious thoughts is the one and only way truth can be sought. Neurons in the brain are constantly going haywire searching for direction, so truth-seekers must impose order on the chaos of their own bodies. The alternative is to relive the same hell perpetually; the unconscious desire to dwell within the realm of the familiar, even if it eats at one’s soul.