I often ask my partner random questions and she’ll ask me the same in return. Many of these were spontaneous and I didn’t know the answers to my questions myself until I had to respond to them. Yesterday, while watching the sunset together from the windows of our bedroom, the question was, “what is a perfect life to you?”
I contemplated about it a while. This is a paraphrase of what I said to her:
My perfect life…it would be to feel alive every day, if not every moment. Aliveness, is the capacity to notice the beauty and preciousness of the mundane. For example, till today I still think bak chor mee is one of the best dishes in the world even though it is like SGD $3 and it seems such a simple dish. It is to notice I do not have a migraine right now at this moment and how amazing it is to have a painless, clear and free mind. It is to be able to appreciate the value of something even though you can experience it everyday.
Once in a while I’ll have a string of days that appear to be some cosmic conspiracy. A couple of days ago I watched NADI Singapura perform at Ground-up Initiative. I experienced an almost inarticulable, profound moment. Tears started to well up and I suddenly felt clarity about the person I am. I thought at that moment: everything I have done, am doing and will do, is just to accommodate the simple desire to see my fellow human beings express aliveness – just like how the NADI ensemble was playing their percussion instruments in perfect harmony. I wish I could describe their faces when they were performing. There was so much joy, they were just so alive.
In life, everything we do is mixed up with hidden motivations, personal egos and societal conditioning, but despite all of that once in a while if we’re lucky, we are able to feel a certain truth that is so simple, resounding and undeniable.
I don’t know if I’ll carry this simple truth with me for the rest of my life, if it’ll change. All I know is that such lucidity and coherence for me is still rare, and I cherish these moments when I am in close encounter with my own existence juxtaposed with the universe (The rest of the time I just live in existential despair).
We capped the weekend watching “Into the Wild” and the first episode of Chef’s Table Season 3 about a Korean Buddhist nun who is also an amazing chef. All in, it was a rare weekend spent in conscious contemplation and consumption.
Sometimes, I think life is worth living just to experience the aliveness of the world, whether it is expressed through art, someone’s way of life, work; or the magical wonder of witnessing nature being alive just by being what they are.