Swimming In Freedom

This is Angry Tablecloth, and I can’t read minds, but I can see into hearts.

Ever feel like you have been placed on the seat of a dunk tank facing a mob wanting you to drown? Ever feel like you have been placed in a dunk tank in a desolate location, faced with an ever increasing urge to smack the bull’s-eye yourself so to end the isolation? I know from personal experience just how tricky it can be to successfully navigate such precarious positions. This is why I am going to share a few words of advice that may not only help others survive, but thrive in life because of such positions.

Firstly, take off your clothes, and hop into the water. Don’t be shy, now. There will be at least a moment of vulnerability, and the potential for mockery and/or outrage from onlookers is present, making this a step possibly best taken when most heads are turned. Then again, a courageous display of heart may garner a few admirers, or may even sway the entire audience. Then again, you may possess the strength to pull yourself back into that chair time and time again with little fatigue, aided by the occasional kind hearted spectator, making this not such a bad place, after all. Choose whether or not to choose your own adventure. The risks and rewards are as varied as the individuals taking them.

Now it’s time to take a deep breath, swim to the bottom of the tank, and open the trapdoor below. A person with good vision can see the door from the seat. This door may open via a password, possibly a mantra residing within, or through physical efforts, or a shift in perspective to see how and why the lock functions. Drowning at this stage is a possibility, so proceed with care and determination. Swim back to the surface and submerge again if needed. Serendipity may manifest if one of the admirers tosses in some scuba gear. It is also possible to evolve a set of gills, which is a measure that can be taken prior to any of these unfolding events, but this is being approached from the point of view of someone who feels preparation time is highly limited.

On the other side of that trapdoor is an ocean of nearly absolute freedom. The common ground humanity treads on can be rather ignorant of this “unverified” ocean, but it is a factual house of awe to those who experience it first hand. Those who are able to pry that trapdoor open in a frantic rush, without focused intent, will often hurry to the surface, and swim towards the first piece of land in sight. Those with gills, and those who notice the abundant oxygen tank supply, can bask in a liberating atmosphere free of an ego unable to last long in this environment.

The old North, West, East, South paths are accompanied by two other prominent directions with innumerable angels in between to explore. (These other directions do exist on land with separate values. A discussion for another time, perhaps.) There are many exotic sights, sounds, and sensations to discover in this realm. The more that is explored, the more your swimming technique will improve, furthering the feeling of freedom. Dive far below to discover indescribably stunning gems. Take a few to share with others or to simply serve as a reminder, if desired.

This is a vast ocean, seemingly endless to many, and so it is possible to become lost. Rising to the surface, and using the stars above as a compass is helpful in this regard. Then again, home might be under the sea. You may be able find who you truly are and want to be by loosing all sense of who you were. Whatever the case may be, watch out for lures and nets intent on using your unusually nutrient rich body for their own purposes. Hard not to view it as a shame that some would rather dine on you than what you have been dining on. Suffocation for selfish preservation reduces the overall air supply.

At some point a want to return to a densely populated area can emerge, whether it is due to a lingering nostalgia, or the urge to help others lose their water wings, among other reasons. Upon returning to shore you may find your land legs have a new strut. You also may be somewhat shocked by the behavior of others.

There are many overcrowded places with people in ankle deep pools, aggressively positioning themselves to strip the ground of the diamonds beneath their feet. Why they do not go a little deeper, or work together when this overly competitive display leaves most wanting, and the land barren, can initially be very perplexing after residing in a place with limitless riches, though it is understandable with some simple observation. Do be careful with any of the gems from the depths you may have in your pockets. What is glorious and inspiring to you can be disturbingly alien to others. Others may inflict harm in an effort to take these riches for themselves, never understanding the real wealth is in the location they reflect. A wrong move can end with you being placed back in the dunk tank. The difference now is that you can take a deep breath, close your eyes, and know that the ocean you left has never left you.

To dictate the ease on which such a path can be traveled is to cast judgement on others, and I am not here to judge you. I will not assert that every rainbow traversed ends with a pot of gold, for the same reason. I do hope that if you do feel trapped, as I have before, that you will try giving into something greater before giving up. The results will likely surprise you as they did me.

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Right Here, Right Now

This is Angry Tablecloth, alright? Alright. All day? All night. Out of sight? In the mind. From the heart? Through the spine. For the blind? For the signs left behind by the seers ahead of believers. Don’t ask me what that was. Okay, let’s get serious for a bit, as I share a few more thoughts on enlightenment, and being present minded. I may still trail off on the occasional absurd rant, but that is to be expected by this point, I think.

The potential to see deeper within, and further beyond conventional reality does exist. This may not be something everyone is able to do, as a close friend of mine argues, but I see no reason why someone capable of comprehending these words is not capable of realizing this potential. If you can drive a car then you can find enlightenment; if you are not able to do so then you already possess it. (More of a nice thought than a fact, perhaps, but there is merit in contemplating that thought metaphorically, personally speaking.)

The illusion of enlightenment being difficult to achieve has value. Uncertainty and ignorance are elements that allow for a creativity that would not exist otherwise. They can also stifle creativity if allowed to run rampant. As I had mentioned roughly a year ago, hunger has a value to be celebrated, until it transforms into starvation. Without physical hunger there would be no chefs, or Sunday brunches with your aunt, who will not shut up about how well her daughter, the big-shot lawyer who is the same age as you, is doing, right before asking about your writing career, knowing damn well you haven’t made a penny off of it, yet, because you just talked to my mom yesterday! I overheard the whole conversation! I’m still living with my parents! Doesn’t that say it all?! I don’t know what lingering issues you have from growing up together as sisters, but I didn’t ask to be a part of this perverse competition between the two of you! Wait, what I was talking about? Right, so balance is important, and it is a balance of limitations that allow for this unique world to be.

This world of ours is ideal for pursuing enlightenment, however the word is defined. It is far more challenging to achieve an enlightened state if distracted by an earthquake, as it is if lost in a paradise unfounded by wisdom, where there is no concern for such matters. (I believe this is a Buddhist point of view I am borrowing from.)

There can be multiple locks attached to a door of prosperous truth. One key that is always required can only be found in the present moment. Whether tackling scientific facts, or philosophical understandings, this is true.

Heightening the experience of the present moment can be as easy as it can be challenging, because it essentially requires nothing more than being present minded. Practice is a skeleton key.

Know that it never hurts to look through the peephole, before turning the knob. Keep a set of keys comprised of curiosity, sincerity, alertness, and consideration close in hand, and those doors will open in time. Soon enough the thought of your cousin, sitting in the corner office of the firm she’s a partner in, laughing at you with a level of condescension perfectly mirrored by the way she looks down on the “insects” below from fifty stories above, as she clinks a champagne glass with her mother, will not even bother you all that much… I hate brunch.

Learn from the past, live for the present, and dream for the future. Whether you only find a majesty in down-to-earth moments typically reserved for heavenly bodies, or the gates of a tangible heaven, the glory of this moment can shine through, regardless.