“In this endeavor to wed the vision of the Old World with that of the New, it is the writer, not the statesman, who is our strongest arm. Though we do not wholly believe it yet, the interior life is a real life, and the intangible dreams of people have a tangible effect on the world.”—James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name
I don’t want to die with songs in my heart that I never sung.
. . .
I spent most of 2016 searching for answers. I could not verbalize the questions, but that didn’t matter—I was hungry.
I had a job, friends, my mom had survived kidney failure and was doing great. Things that had stressed me for the year before were gone, solved. I was earning more money than I needed. I was getting twice as much done at work with half the effort. And yet, I felt a deep lack of satisfaction.
If I extended the line that my life was tracing into the future, I could see myself reaching a gray zone—not the crashing and burning of young stars who can’t handle fame, nor the generosity and magnanimity of heroes of our time like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., but a dull, gray area.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted or what I was looking for. But things converged piece by piece. I wanted to exercise more, for example. To exercise frequently, I would need more discipline and my best idea to build discipline was to start to meditate everyday. Similarly, the answer to get the other things that I wanted led me to the same thought: I need to start meditation.
I took a course on Buddhism, read about neuro-linguistic programming, practiced lucid dreaming and the Silva Method, meditated with a Buddhist group. It wasn’t a straightforward process and I felt lost most of the time, but eventually I reached the destination of that one-year journey–I found a spiritual path, or the other way around.
The path I found was new to me, and yet, if I looked back at my steps, I could see how I had followed it in one way or another. It was a new path where I found old passions. Respect for the Earth and its creatures was in me since I was a kid. Finding a path in which this was an important principle made me fall in love. And in love I felt. At the exact same time, I found my spiritual path and my wife, the loves of my life.
. . .
In simple terms, my path as a framework to guide my decisions. A more intimate explanation, though, in that the path is a loving and stern master who has a mission for me—the quest for ever expanding love.
Within two months of committing to meditation and my spiritual path, I quit my job. Another circuitous journey landed me working to further renewable energy in the world. A job with a purpose, no doubt. But the path is calling again.
I’m restless in my comfort zone. Old love interests are pulling my sleeves: music and writing. I’m an expert at what I do and somewhat inept (for the moment) at these two disciplines. Why would I leave my comfort zone at the age of 41? Culture.
Culture shapes our views of the world. We’ve seen ourselves, the human species, as separate, as superior to the world of Nature. We’ve also privileged the individual over the wellbeing of society. The result we’re seeing is injustice and inequality. We need a change in culture.
I want to make art to effect a positive change in society. My role models are not the ones who became famous, but the ones who sought to contribute to the betterment of our world. The ones who selflessly fought so that the situation of others could improve. I believe that artists have the power of changing the culture and the responsibility to make the world a better place. I want to be one of them.