Archive for August, 2011

Shades of Gray

Somewhere in the distance, I see a little girl running freely through an open field, laughing as if she had no worry in the world, moonlight cascading around her. Chasing after her, I see an older girl, laughing too, with similar features and a familiar face… my face. That little girl is me… and the elder girl is what I want to be. I see two versions of myself laughing and enjoying the moment from where I stand and I wonder, is this how it feels to be outside looking in? No, rather, I’m inside looking out. A pang of pain hits me deep inside as I cry my eyes out wanting so much to be out there. Everything around me seems so small and dark, as if it were all caving in, and then everything went silent. I could no longer hear the laughter of my two shades or the sound of my anklets as both of my shades chased after each other. What I feared most, happened. The thought of an infinitely silent world always frightened me. As I sat there in my dark, silent bubble all alone, I realized that this world is, in fact, infinitely silent. The color is in us, the sound is in us, so if this world was to be void of “us” would it not be infinitely silent? When I considered the short duration of life in general, swallowed up in the eternity that lies before and after it, when I considered the little space I fill and see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am and remain ignorant to, I sat frightened, and astonished because there was never a reason to be afraid. I’m one person amongst trillions and trillions… so small in this universe. The infinite silence I feared for so long, suddenly ceased to matter. My bubble no longer existed and for the first time I felt alive because I wasn’t like the sad child staring out the window during a storm hoping for sun anymore. The storm had passed. The little me was the calm before the storm and the older one, the bright sunshine after it. I was and am both of those girls, the younger one waving at me from where she stood, smiling. Reminding me that this is what I used to be once, carefree and alive. The older one holding the younger one’s hand, waving as well, showing me that this is what I can be. The look in their eyes and the smile on their faces was so inviting, as if asking me to join them, so I did. As I neared them, they took hold of my hands and fused into me, leaving nothing but one, single me. I always thought truth was a candle inside a multicolored lantern. Everyone looks through a particular color and assumes they have seen truth, but the candle is always constant. I was one of those people, but then I thought, what if what we see isn’t the truth and only color-blind people see what’s really there? It wasn’t until I saw it that I realized, the color of Truth is gray because it comes from a combination of light and dark, the good and bad, pleasant and bitter… but think of the many shades it produces. The little me was white, pure. The me trapped in that bubble was black, lost. When the two fused, I became the elder me that I so desperately yearned to be… gray. I laughed, I danced, I cried. This is my journey… happiness to self discovery, and I’ve lived every bit of it. 🙂


I sat in silence, admiring the serenity of nature, until I felt the rays of the sun shift to something behind me. The still, green leaves of the trees smiled down on me, but when I turned back around, I saw the lonely graveyard merely 20 feet ahead, and below my feet, the crunching of dead leaves. Some had lost their color completely, others had just recently fallen but I knew their fate. Behind me was life, in front, death… and in between the two, I sat. How similar I am to those changing leaves. Still living, yet always near death.

This was my biggest realization as I sat in the graveyard. My walk from the lake to the graveyard, in itself, was a series of realizations. They were things I already realized and accepted, it’s just that I never realized them in-depth. Earlier in the morning when I’d just woken up from a rather interesting dream, I wondered where exactly it came from, but as I sat in the graveyard, I understood. I sat and wondered what dusk was and I realized that… dusk, is just an illusion, because the sun is either above the horizon or below it. And that means that day and night are linked in a way that few things are; there cannot be one without the other, yet they cannot exist at the same time. How would it feel, I remember wondering, to be always together, yet forever apart?

That’s when it hit me. Our body and soul must go through the same thing. Always together, yet forever apart. From Socrates, I learned that the soul is always trying to find freedom from the body to find Truth because it’s encaged inside. Yes, they must work in unison until the day they are to part, but they are also linked in a way similar to day and night; it’s just that, the sun much like the soul is giver of life. When either one is absent, neither night, nor the body can exist.

In a profound sense, every man has two halves to his being; he is not one person so much as two persons trying to act in unison. I really feel that in the depths of each human being there is something which I can only describe as a child of darkness who is equal and complementary to the more obvious child of light. As a child, they’re afraid of the dark, but as an adult, they’re afraid of the light. Ignorance and truth, so to speak, but again, they are two parts of one whole.

I find myself, now, standing at the foot of two paths once again. I can stand here and look down both as far as I can, but which one should I choose? Neither path is simple, but they both lead to the same place. My journey will not be simple, but that is precisely the problem. Both roads are less traveled by, so which one will make the difference? They’re identical, yet so very different… Every life story has an identical beginning and an identical end, but what happens in the middle is what matters most. Previously, I spoke about finding your “self.” I’ve found my “self,” but what’s next? The path I take, is it going to take me to the next level or will it simply continue leading me down a path that I’ve been traveling on since my “self” discovery? I know I’m nowhere near the highest form of thought yet, but I do realize that I’ve started working my way up.

At first, I used to think that I’d found a new topic to ponder. Can we really define our “self?” What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we’re not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all journeys of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous. There is an eternal landscape of the soul, so why do we merely look for the outline? Once I’d gone through the process itself, I understood that what I was looking at was much more complex than the basic outline. I’d gone in search of the outline, but came back with the full form.

Somewhere in the graveyard, I saw a candle sitting next to someone’s grave, and instantly I had a new thought to ponder over. What are light and darkness? What is fire? Over the years, I’ve learned that one thing is certain. No matter how fast light travels, it will always be greeted by darkness, waiting for it to arrive. Label me if you must, but I will make one thing very clear. I am not a pessimist, nor am I a depressed soul. I’m merely a wandering spirit in search of Truth and Beauty, noticing things and asking questions along the way, and this is just one of the many things that I’ve pondered over. Light travels at 299,792,458 meters, but it’s always greeted by darkness. What would the purpose of light be if there was no darkness to welcome it, silently allowing it to spread itself and illuminate every corner that it touches? Life, here, can be seen as that light. Death is pre-destined and in a sense; it merely allows life to continue until it is destined to take over and become life’s relief.

As for fire, I wonder if it could be easier to explain my thoughts if I were to give fire the form of a human. Fire is the harshest element. It takes up so many forms. It can burn like passion or burn everything down in destruction. In any sense, it burns whatever it comes in contact with. Though, I always wonder, if Fire were to take the form of a human, how unfortunate it would be to not even be able to touch something with affection without turning it into ash. Something that cannot be gentle even if it so chooses, but fire is also the giver of life on those cold, frozen nights when it seems as if the world itself is trying to drag you into its dark and silent depths. Fire is the element that keeps the final chilling embrace of death at bay.

I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from all of my Philosophy classes put together is nothing ceases to exist. I understand that more now than I ever had before. Being cannot cease to be, it just changes forms, and as I sit here now, I see so much that stands as an example of that. These leaves are here today, gone tomorrow, only to become part of the earth. These people were once living and breathing, but have long been put to rest. Most, if not all, have already become part of the earth, but their souls live on. They’re not gone; they just changed forms is all. When my dad was dying, I remember telling my mom the very same thing. He’s not gone. He merely changed forms. Starting off as an embryo, moving onto become a fetus, then a baby, eventually going through a series of accidental changes, until finally, he was at the last stage… substantial change. Even then, however, he left only his body behind. His soul was completely free and still present.

I am a dreamer by nature. You see things and ask, “why”, but I think things that never were and ask, “why not?” I’ve been asked what my purpose in life is. That’s a complex question with a simple answer. My purpose is to find Truth and Beauty. Sometimes I feel like a person standing outside a glass wall looking in. What if everything we believe in, materially, and how we see the world, ideally, is all a big farce? There are so many unanswered questions. Philosophers of the past proposed questions that were disregarded as irrelevant or unimportant, but how do we know those same “irrelevant and unimportant” questions couldn’t have changed the face of the world we live in now?

As I sat there while the hours passed, and the sun went down, I looked up and saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I’d ever seen, and I wondered, “how many of these have I missed?” Have they always been there, but I’m only noticing them now because I finally understand Beauty? I sat there at that strange hour trying to contemplate the reason why I could not get myself to leave until I set my eyes on the burning sky ahead of me. That sunset could not be duplicated. Every color, every hue, captivated me to the point that I didn’t even realize when they’d transformed into a whole new array of shades. At that moment, I wish I could have dipped my brush into the sky and set it across my canvas but I’m no magician, just an amateur artist. I could never recreate that beauty. Those colors would clash if I tried to put them together… if I could ever have the ability to create them. Where do you even find such colors? Do these colors even have names? Surely, you can’t just invent a color, that’s absurd, but those colors I saw were unlike any I’ve seen before. Colors I cannot even give a name to. Sometimes I wish I could combine two of my senses and paint the scent of the earth after a rain shower, but realistically, I understand.

I was once asked how I can believe in the soul when I can’t see it. “How do you know there’s a soul when it can’t be seen?” Well, I see it as a clear prism. If you shine a light through it, you see a rainbow. Similarly, your body is that prism. When the light of Truth shines through the impurities, your soul can be seen. Much like a match stick, it has fire, but you can’t see it unless you strike it, or like alcohol which has the ability to intoxicate, but you’d never be able to see it. The soul is like the wind. It has the ability to move things with such force and sometimes it just breezes past gently, but you can’t see it. If I deny the existence of the soul because I can’t see it, then logically, shouldn’t I deny everything that I can’t see but know exists?

The longer I sat there, the more of my life I saw gliding past my eyes. I see how much I’ve grown as a person, not just physically, but also mentally. My thoughts that once used to be restricted are now free and matured. Before, I used to look at a tree and see it for just that… a tree. Now I see a tree and see its story unfold. In summer, the leaves are full of life, but in autumn, the bright red leaves have a story of their own of life and death. Some will fall and some will remain rooted to their origin, but their end has been decided. Everything falls into place eventually, and that’s the most important lesson I’ve learned.