My two cats can only be who they are, no more or less. The controls of their lives are controlled by instincts that we can only sometimes admire. You can try to train them for small feats or even discipline them but they will only react against their environment and never betray who they are, cats. They comfortably live out their nine lives with me (thanks to my benevolent nightly shoveling) and end up where they began: as cats.
Moving to our supposed all powerful selves and discover through life that the ego that has forged most of it is but a pea in an ocean. Mixed metaphor? Not really because it’s accurate. This small pea which we firmly believe authors our life’s thoughts and actions floats on top of a deep and wide ocean that is the unconscious. Defined as yet to be defined the unconscious is the mind’s fullest self, combined with the pea.
Our brains are developed in our 20’s and the pea takes on all of life’s tasks as though it’s in charge. Reach 4o, 50 or 60 and you ought to have discovered an undercurrent of other stuff going on in this marvelous mind of ours. Life is rarely what we see and hear but is filtered by the supposedly powerful pea and greatly influenced by the mighty ocean.
I serious joke I tell is to avoid a driver with a left-sided dent. Guess where his next car accident will be? Yep. Left side, dented. You can bet your Apple stock on it. Married twice? Have drinks with her and she’ll have both of them all figured out, complete with useless stories, without ever using the pronouns, “me” or “I”. The peas for these folks are in control, or so they think.
Why the divide between pea and ocean within our beautiful minds? It’s beyond my pay grade but I know that it exists. If a union of the happens through personal revelations, all the more power to you. If it occurs through life’s experiences, as it surely will again and again, then you’ve better buy some oars because the water’s deep.
The natural American question now is, “What can I do about this?” “How can I unite my pea with my ocean?” “What drugs are available?” “I already exercise!” That’s the pea talking and it’ll keep coming up with solutions so long as the ocean is avoided. The wonderfully, powerful solution is anti-American but works every time: you do nothing. I know we like to do nothing until we get bored but this nothing empties us and reduces the already small size of the pea.
Underneath in this vast ocean lies our common humanity as well as our uniqueness. It’s not that the pea and ocean that are in conflict with each other, it’s a matter of awareness. You cannot plan “nothing time” as though a miracle will occur in your humble home. “Nothing” finds you and when it arrives will you allow it in even with all its doubts and confusions? I shouldn’t say “even,” but “especially.” I love when people approach me and use those words as though cancer was just diagnosed. Doubts and confusions are the minds gift to us to pause, sift, ponder, ponder again and possibly arrive at a new perspective, a new insight, a twist from our former way of thinking. For Christians, death and resurrection can only happen through, well, death and resurrection.
We search for peace, fulfillment and contentment as though the search will never be achieved. These qualities of life are available to us throughout our lives. They are the rewards that “nothing” brings to us. The “nothing” that enlightens the dented-left guy to realize. Realize what? That’s his journey, that’s his problem. My twice divorced friend? Guess where marriage three leads her unless a little ocean waters her pea. (Please don’t take that sentence out of context.)
My cats are both sleeping now, happy and blissful. I don’t know if their happiness is the same as mine but mine can be gained through life’s homework, done each day and handed in on time.