Sunday, June 29, 2008

You Do A Little Dance, Then You Drink A Little Water

Sometimes I find more reasons to avoid doing the things I need to be doing than there are stars in the sky. I am a natural procrastinator. But out of practical necessity I have learned to be superhumanly efficient with time when I need to be. Okay, maybe superhuman is an exaggeration but to me it feels superhuman. I can waste time like nobody else. Today almost half the day was gone before I realized what time it was and I had done little more than eat breakfast and spend some time fooling around on the guitar. By fooling around I mean trying to master the guitar solo from Purple Haze. I recently indulged and bought a couple guitar gadgets and have finally been able to nail the tone from this song which, quite honestly, makes me feel like I’m channeling Hendrix right here in our little office/workout/music room.

Not to sound grandiose or anything but HO-LEEE-SHIT does it feel nice to play Hendrix and actually (somewhat) sound like Hendrix. Seven years ago I probably would have sold my soul, had that been an option, to be able to play some of this stuff that I can play now. I guess when you put your mind to it and have a love for something you really can surprise yourself. Who was it now that said you’ve gotta have love?

There are two states of sound that assure me that there is more to this world and our existence than what meets the eye: music, and complete silence. Music can give you a little taste of heaven, and silence, quite possibly, can give you the whole thing. My musical tastes span a pretty wide range but there is something ethereal and divine there that affects me like nothing else can. Nothing but silence that is. It’s been said that it’s the silent spaces between the notes that make music. The same probably goes for everything else.

Playing around with my new toys this morning I was creating sounds that one minute made me think I was about to blast off in a spaceship and the next that I was already zigging and zagging on the outer stretches of Saturn’s rings. I’ve never tried LSD but I’m pretty sure anyone under the influence would’ve thoroughly appreciated my psychedelic, green-tea fueled jam session.
I find time to pretend I’m Jimi but can’t find time to do other things that might actually be of some importance. Life has been a little hectic the last few weeks and I’ve slacked on the meditation. Of all things, this is what I have slacked on. I could just as well be writing an essay on how important it is to be regular with certain things like meditation but instead I’m writing this, talking about how I’ve managed to not find time lately.

Trying to maintain balance and stay centered in a world that is designed to distract and confine you is probably the most important thing any of us can do. There is a lot of confusion right now, a lot of unhappiness and frustration in this place where most of us have more in the way of comfort than any reasonable human being could ask for.

There’s a great quote saying something like “we live in a society that has mistaken comfort for civilization”. We are drowning in our own excess. We are surrounded and invaded by things and noise; the average attention span being reduced to about the same amount of time that it takes for Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua to pass gas. Without constant stimulation of some sort, some of us begin to go a little crazy. Alone with one’s thoughts is an uncomfortable experience that can pretty much be avoided altogether thanks to modern technology. I anticipate coming technology that will surgically implant tiny television screens inside of one’s eyelids so one’s eyes won’t even have to be open to catch the “exclusive” and latest Hollywood gossip on the Insider. Tiny speakers will be inserted directly into the ear drums and by pinching your earlobe in a certain manner you will be able to download streaming video and music, all powered by Apple of course. There may be side effects to some of this but Merck will be right there with a pill to counteract it. AstraZeneca will produce the pill that counteracts the side effects caused by Merck’s pill. Wal-Mart will start offering drive thru Botox and lipo. You’ll hear and see ads for all of this on the tiny devices that have been implanted into your eyes and ears. There will also be iPods for dogs. (I sincerely happen to think there’s a market for this.)

Well, it’s no wonder I have a problem managing my time. I had nothing in mind when I sat down to write this blog entry. I just knew it was time to write something and here I’ve wandered all around and somehow ended up in my own dystopian vision.

Though we have a lot to show in the way of things and comfort and every conceivable manner of indulgence, we have a major deficit when it comes to authentic happiness. This, in my opinion, is the result of our culture of distraction, triviality, and misguided priorities. We need silence in our lives to counteract everything else. If thirty minutes a day is good, an hour a day is better; just to let the water settle.

Today I pretended to be Hendrix. Last weekend I was pretending to be Michael Jordan as we played in Hoop-It-Up and managed to lose 4 straight games, never by a margin higher than two points. These things were distractions for me and, though they were fun, I neglected something that is far more important. I neglected that little space of time reserved each day to feel what it’s like to be truly human and alive and not just another pin-ball in someone else’s machine. And…I paid a price for it. Towards the end of the week it was tangible; something real, pulling me away from sanity, sucking me into a world of chatter, discontent, and irritation.

Tomorrow starts another day and a recommitment to get back to what I need to be doing, enjoying that beautiful silence where sanity resides and stepping away from the flashing screen, in whatever form it takes.


Anonymous said...

There is a lot to be said for 'taking it easy' Ben.
ps. How's your job dalliance going?

Anonymous said...

may the silence become you.

Ben There said...

Hi Tony,

After about six weeks of limbo I have decided to stay with my current job. Once I told them I had another offer they really went all out to retain me. It wasn't just about the money either. Now that it's all behind me I know I made the right decision and don't have any regrets. Thanks for asking.

Candycane said...

i was cracking up about the apple, merke, and wal mart visions you have. how hilarious and probably true you are! Drive thru botox!! I'm there!! Just wait, one of these days a gynocologist is going to set up shop right next to the eye doctor at Walmart! They won't be joking about the "one stop shopping". Hey hun I'm going to the store for milk, bread, new tires and a pap smear!

Ben There said...

Hey Candice,

You should check out the movie "Idiocracy" some time. It's funny and kind of makes some good points. In the movie you can get literally everything at a Wal-Mart/Costco like place, including a college education and law degree. Probably gynocology too.

Candycane said...

i will have to check that out, sounds funny! A law degree! hahaha, I'm sure the days are coming!