Defense of Music

Three o’clock.

My self flagellation seems to have come to an end for now. Freud used to say that bad dreams were occasioned by masochism. So, we voluntarily punish ourselves when we think we deserve it. Conscience is a strange and disposable thing. I wonder what I did wrong that I should flog myself with painful thoughts? But guilt is only a perception. It could be that I felt bad for not wanting to work a regular job. I emailed Dominic about this yesterday morning, but he was actually quite cheerful to hear from me. Apparently no regrets on his side, thus I should let myself off the hook. And he must be aware of how I love my music. The guilty conscience comes from experience with my family, especially my brother, who said openly that music is no way to make a living. On the other hand, there was my mother, who always encouraged me to use my gifts. Also there’s the church, which understands that different people have different abilities and different vocations. My brother doesn’t acknowledge any other aptitude than math and science, unfortunately. He has a big blind spot for the arts. I feel bitterly towards him for being so obtuse. The one whose opinion counts after all is me. And I have a lot of other support now that I don’t speak with my brother anymore. I realize that I will never get the approval I need from my brother, so from now on I have to just forget about it. Joseph Campbell said follow your bliss, and since I have but one life to live, I choose to do what I was born to do.

To Trust Nature

Ten fifty. It again occurred to me that sobriety is the open highway. Addiction to alcohol is the severest form of attachment to material things; to drink is to desire. Once free of desire, a person is free of everything and is close to what Hindus call moksha, spiritual liberation. After that, life is a big adventure into uncharted places. There are no more must see movies or must read books; no must listen songs. Your mind becomes a more accurate mirror on the world. Even on the darkest, stormiest day or night, sobriety is intrinsically light. I sometimes wonder what in the world I’m doing, and where going, but I remind myself that it’s only been two years, and the rest of my life calls me towards something entirely different. I must trust nature to lead me where it will, and know that it’s for the best. The important thing is to move forward and not back, keep your eyes focused ahead. Whatever happens, be fearless and go with it. The worst that can transpire is you die, but even then, your death will be like that of the yogis.

Debt Paid

Aesop is my hero because his forgiveness is divine. It’s certainly not human. I still have to learn to forgive people their trespasses and the things about them I disagree with. To grow a thicker skin, it seems, and not personalize everything that appears to be a threat. I think my mother must have been quite messed up but I never thought to assess her or compare her to other moms. Love is blind. I’m frankly glad that the past is behind me, so maybe her ghost needn’t be appeased anymore. The holiday depression is over with. Mom used to tell me that music was all I was capable of since my illness, but I’ve already proved her wrong. That was a relationship fraught with great pain. Now my debt to the past is paid, I can move ahead. I wonder why this year’s holidays was particularly difficult? Someday when I’m stronger I will unburden myself of some of my old books and music… or maybe not?

My Resolution

Six o’clock. I hope I can sleep tonight. Last night I had nightmares about J— from church. I couldn’t relax. J— has been particularly self righteous for his Christianity, and that never flies with me. I don’t believe in exclusivity or in setting up divisions between people; certainly not Christians and non Christians. I realize that I’m a secular oddball, a person in a peculiar situation, hence my views won’t be representative of many. But I’m standing firm on how I was raised. My beliefs are second nature, and I cringe when I hear J— bemoaning the perfidious Jews or telling a racist joke. But I fear that I’m in his line of fire. I forget what I dreamed specifically, but it concerned me being accused of heresy of some kind. Funny that I listened to Rush’s “Witch Hunt” yesterday morning, as that is apt for my current state of mind. I’m probably magnifying my perception, distorting it to unreal proportions. Dunno, but I felt uncomfortable last night. There must be a way to ease my troubled mind, but deep down I’m not afraid of anybody. I’m a 53 year old man, and my resolution this year is independence and self respect at any cost.

2020s

I’m watching the blue and pink sunrise through my front window, there behind the tree line. The dawn of a promising new decade. I’m only playing life by ear these days. I’m gathering all the information I can, just putting myself out there and observing the ripple effects. Scoring for schizophrenic people. We shall overcome the stigma and disabuse the public of the lies they were fed by the media. Only a few mentally ill people give the rest of us a bad name. There are many good people with severe disorders. Judge us not by our diagnosis but by the good things we do. Appreciate the human beings we are. There are no good or bad people, only good or bad behavior.

Contemplating

Giving up alcohol is kind of like giving up every attachment to material things. It is such a spiritual liberation, experienced at a visceral level. If Christianity could be more like the Eastern religions, then I might be more interested. You don’t see terminology like “moksha” in the Christian Church. With Eastern practices, especially zen, no mediator (such as Jesus or the Church) is necessary. The only savior is yourself. There are a few Buddhist temples in my area, but that may be too formal for me. I always thought Hinduism made a lot of sense. It isn’t my project to renounce selfish desires totally, or not yet. I’m not sure that doing so is really possible. It certainly never worked to have abnegation and altruism shoved down my throat. What I’m coming to believe is that a spiritual plane exists, and that metaphysics and morals are conjoined. However, I know I’ll have to arrive at enlightenment independently. Reinvent the wheel. I don’t believe that Jesus is the way for me…

Gratitude

Seven forty. I rested in bed for three hours and had some strange dreams about Freudian things. I was again transported to fall 1989, a time before I had any church experience. Back then, Freud and Darwin were all I knew and accepted, with only a smattering of Christian existentialism. For some reason, the thought of the devil kept intruding on my secular ideas. But our society is organized that way, with secular life being supposedly fallen and evil. Church is there on Sunday to redeem our souls, to renew us and send us back out into the fray each week. Church attendance has given me a different framework to think within since June 2017. I honestly don’t know what’s next. I’m just following where my Vraylar leads. It seems to me that job search with Dominic will bear fruit. The church taught me that in this hard world there are still havens of kindness and mercy. It was like a spiritual hospital for me. Everyone was great. It has been a new kind of experience for me, and doubtless at some point I’ll go back. Our Redeemer was there when I needed it. I was damaged and in poor health when I arrived, but now I’m sufficiently recovered that I want to try my wings again. And of course, WordPress still helps me to fly…