Just how far away I am from my highest aspiration. Some days it feels like this. Other days I don’t feel it, but it is still true. I want to shine for you, but I find myself down here.
Weariness. I think that is the best word for it. I am not exhausted from walking today at least, for it is raining and raining and raining. Yesterday there was a brief halt in the downpour but it started again ten minutes after I hit the road. Weather generally does not affect me emotionally, as far as I can remember, so that is probably not it. But I am feeling so down, I feel almost human.
A phrase from a song by Leonard Cohen sums it up pretty well: “When you’re not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you’ve sinned.” Actually, loneliness is not the right word, but I guess it was the best he could find (and especially that would rhyme!) But loneliness, as I understand it, is a mental state of wanting to receive companionship. I am not, even now, bothered in that way. It is not my lack of receiving but my lack of giving that tells me that I have sinned, that I may have lost my way or at least failed to walk ahead on it.
I think the closest word I can think of is uselessness. When I’m not feeling holy, my uselessness says that I’ve sinned. That is not exactly it either, but at least it conveys an absence of giving rather than of taking. And it is not something that another person can change for me, somehow convincing me. It is a value judgment by myself and the objective presence in my heart. There is no anger or accusation in that presence, of course. It just bears witness to the fact, Â that I am not able to give happiness to others as I wished. When the excessive natural joy that was masking this, fades away; when a day comes where I don’t feel like breaking into song for no reason, then this comes to the surface.
“If you have time to bemoan your ignorance, use it to study” says Ryuho Okawa, and it is hard to disagree with that! In a sense, this is what I am doing. Studying myself, reflecting on myself as if seen from outside, by an objective yet compassionate observer. When the feelings are falling away – whether just for a bit or for a long time, I don’t know – that is an opportunity to see myself as I am in this world, not just as I wish to be. So that is good.
Even so, I shall admit that I took refuge in Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor again. If what I believe is true, then Bach was surely sent from Heaven. If I am wrong, it still has beauty in it, and that can hardly hurt. It is hard to see how you can go wrong with Bach, unless you have something more important to do with your time than refining your soul. For me, right now, I don’t.
That is kind of the point, really. There is no outward way I can think of to bring joy and courage and love to others. So I will do this, and I will share my mind with you. So that you can see that I too have days when I don’t feel like I have just eaten a big chocolate bar all the time. But it does not really change who or what I am. It does not really change my aspiration. And although the compass needle of my mind may waver, I will still turn back to that goal that lies beyond my feelings, my pride and my satisfaction, beyond myself and what is mine.