Sometimes, I develop a knot at the base of the throat. It’s like the throat is tied up or like my throat is closing in on me. It starts with a a light twist and progresses into a full-fledged traffic jam that doesn’t let even air get through. Most of the time, I try to work it out rationally. But that doesn’t work all the time. I have started trying a new tactic. I decided to trust life. As in, trust that everything will be fine. It’s a kind of blind faith I am not used to. I always question. And that’s the itch to reach for reason.
The Buddha would have said, “True happiness comes only if you can delight in things without wanting to possess them”. This is true. If only I could be sufficiently Buddha-like. When we see grass, or the sunlight, we do delight in it without the urge to posses them, don’t we? Then why not with the others? Especially situations where we are not in control. I have tried to be detached, Buddha-like sometimes. And it does work. But there are times when I have slipped as well. And I know there will be others. Imperfection is the fun of life.
In fact, one morning while getting to office, I had an epiphany. I was thinking that I mustn’t try to run, metaphorically, that is. I am always thinking “if only this was this way, or that way…; what can I do to change things?” In short, always trying to be somewhere else. I must enjoy the present moment. I am here in this present moment because I have chosen to be here. My soul has consciously chosen to be at this point in life; it’s not an unconscious accident. (All this would make sense if you believed in souls. Do you?) It’s a sort of accepting my state of being without questioning it. Something like Keats’ negative capability (or the Buddha’s detachment). Every time I try to work out something, I always come back to Keats’ negative capability. There are many explanations. This is the original.
When a man is capable of being in doubts, uncertainties, mysteries, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. (Keats’ Letters)
Buddha’s detachment, Keats’ negative capability, Rilke’s questions go hand in hand. Rilke said:
Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day. (Letters to a Young Poet)
After reading such enlightened lines, or rather embracing them, I can feel the knot in my throat loosening.