NO REFUGE IN BLISS

 

Life is funny. On one side of the spectrum people fighting to save their lives, stuck in no man’s land, staring death in the face.  Getting up in the morning to the sound gunfire, not birds. On the other, at exactly the same moment, people worrying about whether their hairdresser’s appointment will be possible. It must be wonderful to have a life in which trivia assumes such monumental proportions, where dinner list invitations are clutched like they were security blankets and the housemaid’s insolence forms the staple grist for conversation. It must be wonderful to have no greater anxiety in a day than worrying about what clothes to wear or whether it’s time to buy a new car or feel excited that you spent a mini-fortune at a Sale.

 

Rich people, indolent people, the lotus eaters of the world, fat and sleek and amazed forever that everyone is not as swathed in exquisite nothingness as them.

 

The best part about such people, for whom life never shuts a door but simply keeps opening windows, is that they can bring everything else down to their level, trivialise it with such panache and ease that you can come off sounding absurd and off-key, almost phony just for caring. Talk to them about Iraq or discuss global warming and they tut tut and wish to know what you are doing for the weekend…there are great weekend deals this year.

 

It always depressed me. Not in the clinical sense but in the incredible imbalance of values in our world.

 

It must really be wonderful to be so delightfully ignorant of everything except your immediate wants and desires and blessed enough to get them answered by lackeys responding to the imperious whim. No causes, no goals but today, to live life floating on material morass, unfettered by the folly of questioning it.

 

It must be wonderful never to be jobless or be short of money, or untouched by grossness, never to be helpless and vulnerable, to allow thought and knowledge of the other kind to penetrate the curtain and work you up. Wonderful to be placid and unmindful, just finger the pearls around the neck. If they break, so what? Go get another.

 

And then there are some of us who don’t wake up in the morning because they never went to sleep in the first place. Thinking of solutions to massive human hurt, stunned by the wastage, the prodigality of the haves against the nothingness of the have nots.The suffering and the exploitation, not just words but the actuality of it, the running artery of millions of lives, the sheer futility of fighting these odds.

 

In all my reading Buddha said the one thing that is certain is that there is misery in the world. It will always be there. So his father locked him in three palaces with orders that he should not see sorrow or loss or grief or death or pain or suffering.

 

Closeted, he enjoyed the bliss of ignorance until one day he went into the countryside and was confronted by the reality of life. It shook him. Bliss died away.

 

That’s  why some of us, regardless of age , have a heightened view of things, a distilled rage that is unable to blind itself to ignorance and therefore by logic denies us bliss.

 

For me, ignorance was not a harbour, never a refuge, I wanted to make the difference but I ran out of that one vital commodity…time. You have it. Do something.

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