FULL FRONTAL LOBE

An uncontrollable pressure relief valve for the questionably sane.

This Mortal Spaceship

with 2 comments

I used to dream of piloting  a spaceship.  I still do.  Wait, that’s not entirely correct–I dream of captaining a spaceship.  The pilot just drives, I want to be in charge.  I used to think it was only a childish dream,  but I realized I already own a spaceship.  I have a vessel, christened with a name, that carries me around this universe as well as it’s able.  And I don’t really own it either,  I didn’t even have to sign a lease, it was a gift, but I will have to give it back.  It doesn’t move as quickly as a spaceship does, but it’s locomotive just the same.   The best part is I don’t have to learn many new controls, I have the operations manual pretty well memorized, although there is still room for improvisation and new tricks.  Its preferred fuel is spicy chicken burritos with extra guacamole, which can sometimes be hard to find, but it can burn pretty much anything just like my backpacking stove.  In a way I have what I always wanted.

Our thinking surrounding travel and exploration hasn’t changed much since we first settled The Crescent, (by “Our” I mean us dirty humans).  We’ve continually branched out in multiple directions, spiraling from our homelands, settling again and creating a new epicenters  for a new set of spirals and settlements.  It’s an instinctual drive that keeps me on the search for new space vessels.  If I never get one I’ll be fine with the limitations of this model, but the drive to explore, to see farther and discover something yet unseen, keeps me in the market for bigger, faster, more impressive models.  And I don’t particularly understand the drive.  I don’t see why I shouldn’t have a drive to “nest” or be satisfied with a little inertia.  Alas nature has decreed otherwise.  I am human, and until I become something different entirely, I will always have the drive to explore just as I have a drive to eat.   But it’s not exactly like feeding oneself with food, is it?  The drive to explore has come in pretty handy, but it is not necessary.  In terms of tangible existence, I could eat, stay put, and survive until death.  Exploration doesn’t sustain me physically.  Not to say living in a hole and feeding myself until death is a viable option, but theoretically it’s possible.  A life without exploration of one’s surroundings and beyond won’t lead to death.  Not eating will kill you.  So, in this modern life how do we discern the difference between “drive” and “indulgence?”

But why the hell am I worrying about indulging myself?  Who cares?  I am not a selfish man.  And I can’t help but compare myself to the quaking masses of over-indulgers surrounding me; they’re quaffing from the font of life with wild abandon and I’m just trying to find a comfortable space.

I’ve never known exactly what to do with my life, and I don’t believe I’ll ever figure it out.  I believe everyone else feels the same way– some catch a wave, others eternally wait for the perfect set…which never comes.  I would rather catch a million less-than-perfect waves and have spent my life surfing, than to wait a lifetime in order to catch one perfect wave.  Or is it a zero-sum equation?  Does catching the perfect wave soften the pain of waiting all that time?  I personally find all the waiting painful, but I know it doesn’t have to be.   There are no perfect waves, just as there are no perfect people.  Much better to ride every wave you can while you have time, rather than watch them peel by as you sit and spectate.  I’m not advocating riding every person you meet, but take it as you will.   This personal philosophy is why I’ve never had much time for televised sports.  Not that I’m constantly out playing sports myself, but when I’m watching a game on TV I feel a little bit like I do when I’m on a beach watching the waves break and peel back into the surf, wanting to rush into them and make something happen.  All the spectating makes me anxious.

I haven’t stopped obsessing about the rat race, which is why I’m given to surfing analogies.  To me surfing represents personal freedom and unity with the power of the universe.  Bank accounts and advanced degrees become meaningless while riding a wave.  I’m losing my desire for material things.   I still have desires, but my desires center a bit more around experience these days than actual physical “wants.”  I don’t want a Ferrari like I used to.  I’d still love to drive a Ferrari, but I don’t covet luxury goods the way I did much earlier in my life.  I’m more interested in moments of peace, enjoyment, quiet contentment, sunshine, time with loved ones, all that sap.  It’s mostly because I’m tired.  I don’t think I have the energy to truly enjoy a Ferrari  anymore.  Not that I can’t get the energy back, but I feel like I need a space very different from the one I currently occupy, inner space and perspective notwithstanding.   I would prefer a life lived outside, with a cozy little space, no mortgage or car payment, no utility bills or credit cards.  Just dirt, sun, fresh air, and time to enjoy all three.  A natural life is hard to come by in the suburbs, no matter how often you cut the grass.

Eckhart Tolle labels a person like me a contemplative (many Hyperchristians consider Tolle a heretic and usurper of Christian dogma, but he’s alright by me).  He said there are a good handful of these types in the world, often they seek out alternative living situations or start small businesses in order to afford themselves a degree of independence from the stresses of our modern world.  I am definitely one of these people, but I’ve found myself living a life that feels incongruous with my spirit.  And I still don’t know how to match them up.  I don’t want to be overly wistful, or worse, corny, but I can’t escape the feelings and the only way to figure it out is to get it written down.

My current spaceship has a few years and many miles on it now, we’ve had a good run–with a little maintenance it should be good for countless voyages.  I just have to make sure the captain stays sane.

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2 Responses

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  1. This entry actually felt similar to a wave with the ebb of highs and lows. Whether a “contemplative” or not, I think we all experience similar feeling concerning our lives, especially as we age. Not that you are, but no worry about your sanity…anymore so than usual…for now.

    Shane

    August 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm

  2. this blog entry has been plaguing me for three days. and possibly was the cause behind the dream i had last night in which i was trying to get back to my parents house with the dinner i promised to provide, but i was (unsuccessfully) driving one of those roller things that you use to slide under the car when you need to change the oil.
    anyway, self-indulgence vs. drive. it’s true. there are quaffers and there are sippers of this so called fount of life. and i am generally proudly quaffing away, belly full and life running all over the front of my shirt. but is that indulgent? i think so. and is that bad? yup, i’ve decided it is. in a lot of ways. because i think that there is a pay off, the dreaded bar tab, if you will. and it’s different for everyone, but indulgence for me has definitely cost me relationally, and often times i am a solo explorer. (my hope is that my indulgence has never been at the cost of someone else, but if i’m honest with myself, i’d say that on a lot of levels i have hurt people in the process.)
    it doesn’t have to be that way. maybe just because you have a lawn mower, doesn’t mean that you retire from surfing. thinking and questioning and writing blogs like this is exploration. less boring pictures of landscape, more self truth. just because your physical life is not in line with your spirit doesn’t mean that the rest of your life has to follow suit. i think that people who are contemplative are never spectators, and i think that a spirit that doesn’t quite fit its surroundings results in thoughtfulness and analysis. and that is never a bad thing.
    i guess my point is that we can’t have it all. and i think that at some point we all think the grass is greener somewhere else, but at least yours is mowed.

    clair

    August 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm


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