It has rained much lately. Korea has a rainy season during the summer and we are in the middle of it. This weekend has been wet, very wet. I feel soggy inside although I have only left my room once this weekend.
Soggy but not wet from water. Soggy with laziness. I feel fat but not from food. I feel tired but not from activity.
I am an active person who also enjoys being still. I have not been active or still this weekend. I have been sitting but not still. The only thing that is active is my mind’s need to avoid feeling, being. I am not present while sitting heavy for hours. I had a long deep nap from the exhaustion of non-activity. Non-activity. There must be a name for activity that isn’t, inactivity does not quite cover this state.
Many years ago while living in an intentional community of hard core activists except me; one of the community members used to laugh warmly and appreciatively at my desire to sit and be still and do meditation while they were out doing their thing to change the world full of anger, rage and self-righteousness. I would sit. I was not soggy then the way I am soggy now. Then I was full of presence, focus and depth with a mind willing to be with itself, at least sometimes. One night sitting up late listening him play guitar and trying to sing folk songs, we were laughing at where I fit into the community. Then with his brown eyes below his long reddish auburn hair and fare skin bursting with excitement, he yelled out in the middle of a Woody Guthrie song, “You are a Passivist! Not a pacifist, you are the opposite of an activist. A Passivist!” He was so ecstatic he found a way to identify my spiritual and personal way of dealing with change at that point in my life. That became how I was identified back then. Who knew I would less than ten years later become a slothful man in South Korea hiding from rain and himself after existing as a man who used every season and natural experience as an opportunity to get know myself and our world better? When did I become slothful? Lazy? Gluttonous? How does this happen? Why is resistance to greatness so seductive and powerful? Is this why so few can find and then hold on to answers; the real answers that the rest all sit around filled with alcohol or caffeine intellectually pondering over without any real experience or personal knowledge with words like existentialism and Darwinism rolling off their tongues like the granola they ate for breakfast?
How did a mystic become a mystery to himself?
And more importantly, what does it take to return to such a state of being but with the added knowledge and experiences to integrate, creating maybe one or two steps further along the staircase of life? Can we ever return to the Garden of Eden once we have eaten the apple and still be true to each other and ourselves? Is there a way to go back AND go forward?