John had not been feeling well lately, but that evening he suddenly decided to go to a jazz concert by the sea. Sitting just under the big lighthouse, he enjoyed the swaying palm trees and the waxing gibbous moon gliding gracefully through the clear summer sky. He was sitting alone, but the music soothed and distracted him, the fresh summer breeze comforting and refreshing. Yes, he thought, it had been the right decision to overcome the resistance and drive for an hour to get there.
Listening to the music, John realized how much he was feeling lonely, bored, empty, and exhausted. His life seemed so misaligned compared with the lives of others around him; they always seemed to be able to find some meaning or satisfaction in their daily existence. But, perhaps worst of all, he seemed to have lost contact with the love he knew was inside. At the same time, to (apparently) make things even worse, John also knew he did not want to be in a close relationship with anybody because that would mean the loss of his own personal space. It was the one thing most precious to him and something he had managed to create and keep relatively untouched.
John had the impression that he was not creating anything of value in life. He saw how people around him were always creating or building something in their lives, whether on their own or with work partners, friends, or families. Everyone was passionate about something, even if it was solving problems in their lives. But John, well, he seemed to just be drifting along the riverside, seeing what happened on the banks but unwilling to engage in anything except when it was necessary. His life had no drama but no passion either; he was surviving but not LIVING.
Having felt this way since his teenage years, John often seemed disconnected from other people’s paths, incapable of creating his own, unwilling to force himself into anything, and not wishing to force himself out of anything unless it got too painful. He wanted to feel love, but not to seek it or depend on someone else to obtain it. His life felt empty, yet full of meaninglessness. He had a good job, yet he was not enjoying the fruits of it. People valued him, yet he found little value in what he did. If his life was supposed to be a reflection of his consciousness, his mirror was foggy and obscured, filtering and scattering the light that got to it and reflecting it back undefined and vague.
What was going on? Perhaps Creation wanted to experience how much its 3D expression could suck through John himself (why through him in particular, he did not know). Perhaps that was, paradoxically, the meaning of it all – to know so deeply into meaninglessness that some wisdom and meaning could be extracted from it. John had probably done everything a human could do to find transcendence, enlightenment, realization. But all that experience did not seem to have much effect, after all. That night at the concert he felt as though he was back to square one, knowing that there was more – something deep and mysterious, elusive and fleeting, simple but vast, mighty yet humble, expansive yet stable – but unable to find it. He had been here all along, nothing had changed. All the seeking, learning, and teaching, all the time, money and energy spent on getting “there” had only brought him back “here” to the beginning, right back home like the prodigal son.
Life is a freaking jazz solo, John thought. It’s seemingly chaotic but with some hidden structure guiding it; apparently goalless yet with an objective; full of opposites, yet always somehow balanced. Not knowing what else to do, John concluded that he would just try to enjoy a few simple things in life, because he did not like complications. He was at peace when immersed in the mountains and in the forests, for they brought solace and love-joy to his heart. He understood the language of beauty in nature and the arts, and he would sometimes sing simple tunes while playing his ukulele; nothing too special music-wise, but enjoyable, nevertheless. Those simple things were enough for him to be happy, but then life out in the world was challenging because he felt he had to continue forcing himself into rigid structures such as work, family, traffic, bureaucracy and more. These things would often burn him out and take away the joy of the simple life he longed for. But, at the same time, John felt if he had no family ties, no job, and no friends, he would probably have no reason to stay on the planet. Those things did not bring joy, but perhaps they supported his need to stay at this time of rapid changes. Still, he felt lost in the maze of human life, constricted in this reality of rules, and frustrated because he knew he was free somewhere deep inside.
Despite all these thoughts, the soothing music somehow started to cast a spell on John, and he eventually allowed himself to be carried away by the music into a spiral of new, swirling sounds. The summer night was delicious, and the moon was shining next to the lighthouse’s lantern pane. He began to relax and connect with his own free core, riding the music notes and gently rocking with the melodies and rhythms of the music. It felt good.
Then, in a sudden rush of feeling, he understood that the beauty of the music had a lot to do with the mystery of life. Just like the music – which was constantly creating, expressing, and disappearing into thin air in order to keep coming anew – John could also create without a purpose. The music was a perfect balance of energy flowing in and out; creation, expression and release, followed by the next creation, expression and release. Perhaps he could begin living that way too; living and expressing what he simply enjoyed, releasing where experience feels stuck, moving along the riverbanks to wherever ease and flow would take him in joy. Perhaps his creative expression did not need a goal, a shape, a thing, a role. Perhaps his expression was simply to have joy in whatever was in the moment. Perhaps he himself was his own meaning to be here, taking each step and making each decision based only on what created more joy.
John’s life, from now on, could be the same, he thought, but completely different at the same time, for somehow joy would change everything without any big earthquakes or shattering of his foundations.
Perhaps joy and wellbeing would take care of everything.
Perhaps his heart was all the support and guidance he needed.
Perhaps, just perhaps, HE was the answer to all his questions.
Perhaps all the questions were nothing but excuses to set out on adventures.
Perhaps another adventure was no longer needed.
Or perhaps, just perhaps, the true adventure was about to start in this very moment of realization.
Pablo Vega lives in Gran Canaria, one of the beautiful Canary Islands, and currently works as a teacher-administrator at a public school. He loves exploring nature, both hiking and cycling, and also enjoys playing beach volleyball with his friends in the afternoons and stargazing when the world becomes very quiet at night. Whenever he can, he goes on a road trip in his little van and enjoys the total freedom that experience brings him. You may find him on Facebook.