September 17, 2014

Get Lost!

“Get lost!” You can’t seem to get through life without hearing that at least once. The command usually means that you should exit, either literally or metaphorically, and the quicker the better. It’s especially hurtful when the person who says it thinks he means well.

“Get lost!” The expression conveys pain, resentment and all sorts of negative feelings and is guaranteed to get your back up, no doubt about it. Yes, you know where you stand when someone bawls “Get lost!” at you.

Perhaps there is something hidden in the meaning of the word “lost.” You don’t want to be lost, just as, in the same way, you don’t want to lose something or somebody. Yet, we’ve all lost something at one time or another; and especially if the loss was of something precious, it was surely painful. Maybe, for example, you remember a time that you thought you lost your mother. Perhaps she only disappeared around the counter of the local drug store, but for the brief moment she was out of sight, you felt such fear and pain. The pain sank into you and though, as an adult, you imagine that you’ve long forgotten it, it remains. The feeling of emptiness that went with that sense of loss is never far away.

Now comes the difficult part: What if you happen to click onto one of those spiritual type web sites only to discover that it is absolutely imperative that you really lose yourself, your precious personality, your imagined charisma that you love so much, in order to find something like a “pearl of great price”? The very idea might be just one big turn-off, so much so that you decide to hang onto yourself with all of your might regardless of whatever type of Nirvana “carrot” is being held in front of you. You may even be told that there is something those Zen Buddhists call “original face,” which - if you could only get rid of your discriminating ego - you would be able to see; and then your dread and fear of loss would be gone forever. Imagine that! Gone forever - all that fear and dread that causes you to suffer.

Maybe you might also have heard that all you needed to do was to “Let go!” Ah, you say to yourself, if only it were that easy. Of course, it is possible, on the other hand, that if you feel brave enough, you might try to experience this and discover whether there’s actually something in this idea of “letting go.” But where on earth would you start?

And another thing... what’s all this talk you’ve heard about polishing mirrors and bricks and sitting on your haunches for hours on end trying to answer questions straight out of Alice in Wonderland? What’s that all about? You may have heard that those guys, those Zen Masters, seem to have the whole thing sewn up. And you ask yourself, “Who the hell do they think they are when I am so screwed up in so many ways?” You may actually feel real anger coming on, but in your heart you know that this will not do. You also know that everything you do is always intended to keep you hanging on to your self image and that the very notion of letting go of yourself is somehow wrong. It’s as if you can’t stop loving yourself so much. Maybe you just have to admit that when you look in that mirror and see yourself looking at yourself, you know how much you care for that image - even when you can see signs of decrepitude and that slow loss of your ‘good’ looks.

Suppose, say, for a brief moment, you look really hard and just forget who is doing the looking. The face now seen so clearly in the mirror is surely quite another’s. But who really is that guy?

You have to answer this: Who - is - that - image - looking - at?

Suddenly, such clarity! Here it is! You’ve been “lost” all along and it didn’t hurt a bit. Now you’ll never mind it anymore if you’re told to get lost. Now you have the realisation that “Get lost!” was never a curse but a blessing that led to this.. Freedom!