Tenuous Sanity


(Artist: Tomasz Kopera)

“Let’s tell the truth to people. When people ask, ‘How are you?’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don’t want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.”

(Maya Angelou)

These times arrive when an old world crumbles and a new world has not yet constructed itself, and the mind hovers in the empty space in between. Uncertain.

If you pull up enough floorboards or knock down enough walls to see what is concealed, perhaps there must come a wind from an unknown place that might be unsettling.

Not sleeping does not help.

My teacher said that a strong ego is needed, to go into not-ego. To be a Void walker you need to have an unshakable idea of a false self. It is false, but it is necessary. A sounding board. An anchor. It is a life-line of sorts. Ego is a gift from those who raised us. The sense of an irrefutable ”I”. An ”I” that can feel secure, sure, uncontaminated with doubt. I count. I have meaning. I have substance. I accept. I need. I exist. Some of us got an incomplete or careless gift. And so when the wind from the Void arrives it can feel merciless.

There was a time when for a long age this fragile I had no substance at all. On waking each day, every construct would have to be reformed. Waking is the wrong word. It was a desperate gasping for air after submersion. The questions would start, not words, but some more primitive reflex in the reptilian stem. Animate or inanimate? Mineral or flesh? Dog or human? Adult or child? Female or male? Okay. Got it. Got the general outline. Now this one arises and can stumble forth.

It was disturbing. I never relaxed into it. Perhaps I should have. Perhaps it was a missed opportunity. But obliteration while still breathing felt terrifying.

It never feels too far away, that annihilation.

Some days it roosts at a distance, in some red autumnal tree, and whoever is watching it can be comfortable with it. Whoever is watching it can admire it. Whoever is watching it can feel happy that it is there. Some days it flies far away and adventures in places which cannot be imagined. Some days it sits on my shoulder and whispers into my ear. Even those days it is possible to make friends with it.

But some days it climbs all the way in through my ear and starts to pluck asunder my mind, so that there are no longer truths, no longer supports, no longer boundaries. The old terror arises. The existential grief. Do I exist? And what does it matter?

Those days the ten thousand things seem tenuous. Sanity is but a faint hope. It is a wish upon a star. The echo of a story somebody maybe once told to myself.


(Artist : Tomasz Kopera)




Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

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