I had a very lucid moment last week: in the middle of a conversation with my partner, I told her I feel like the luckiest person in the world – because I have her, and that I don’t have anything more to ask for.
I am a worrier. I lived with perpetual anxiety but I didn’t know until recent years. My shoulders were always tense, and I attributed it to computers. But the tension didn’t go away when I stopped using them.
I worry about everything. I worry about people close to me dying (the irony is I don’t worry about my self dying), I worry they will fall ill, I worry about my future, I worry about the consequences of my past. I worry about the hurt I have done unto people, I worry about the future hurt people will do unto me. I worry about I won’t have time left. I worry I’ll take time for granted, but in the process I let them pass me by because I worry so much I never ever stay in the present.
They say the tighter you hold on to something, the more it’ll pass through your grasp.
When will it be ever enough? Will I ever be enough and have enough? I have access to fresh water, electricity, food, fresh-enough air. Yet I have spent most of my life climbing an imaginary ladder. A ladder that doesn’t have a top rung visible.
A fortunate event happens, and it takes one of my worries away. But new worries replace it. I am on a hamster wheel of worrying, trying to climb an imaginary ladder.
I am learning to carry joy. I thought emotions were uncontrollable, that they just spill out of my guts like the sun would rise every morning. I thought emotions were subject to events: joy only comes when something joyful happens.
But there is joy simply by having the awareness that I am alive, that the skies are blue (not perpetually grey in some faraway lands), I have my sight and I am mobile, and I am surrounded by love. We take what we have everyday for granted, without remembering that everything is only fleeting.
Being able to notice the magic and preciousness in little, everyday things, being able to know luck and love when I am surrounded by it, knowing when is it enough, to not let be joy be taken away by the everlasting need to want more –
that is how joy can be remembered, and if I remember it well enough, I can learn how to carry it in my soul, instead of letting it slip out of my consciousness like a person who forgets how terrible it feels to be thirsty because there seems to be an everlasting promise of fresh water.
I treasure these moments when I know I am lucky. My external circumstances have not changed, they are still the same as a couple months ago when I was deeply in pain. Is it because my neurotransmitters are working better, or that I have been meditating regularly, or due to my recent reading diet of philosophy?
I don’t know. I only know I slip in and out of these lucid moments of awareness. It is not the first time I have experienced this and it wouldn’t be the last time I would eventually forget.
But I now know awareness is a state to be practiced, not to be permanently acquired. Maybe I’ll never escape my hamster wheel, but even a few seconds away from it is a profound relief.