I am intimately familiar with a deep phlegmatic weariness. It’s in the counterstroke to any elevation of emotion; it’s the scrapes and bruises gotten in the fall after you feel exalted, serene, or cheerful. The weariness comes from repeated interminable slippage, emotional floundering that arises from contact with tilted souls.
If that weariness is illness, the urgent ER visit and following recovery are both parts of writing as medicine.
There’s a dozen little hills you can climb easily, almost anytime you want, to buoy your spirits. My personal favorite is meditation, but the small-hill rising in that is just a convenient footnote to the greater work. Peaceful music can also bring you to poise if you’re calm enough to hear it, and exercise can get you calm enough. Any minor achievement can bring a flush of fulfillment, especially cleaning a mess. When we straighten and clean a physical mess, an inner process parallels that reordering and unscrambles our hectic heads.
But however you find yourself in optimistic views, a brush with someone who’s stuck (hopefully temporarily) in an ugly self-centeredness pulls the stop cord on the bus. Someone else’s ego triggers a reaction in yours, you missing the fledgling whirlwind and a storm develops. You get stuck in uncomfortable mental cycles creating arguments and imagining ways to dominate the other person. It’s ugly, it’s harder to stop once you let the storm gain momentum, and it’s slippage. It’s a battered ship, a quaked earth, and a tilted tombstone.
Slippage is a fundamental contaminating disorderliness at the mental level. Your personal hygiene, house-keeping, and neatness are surface things, slippage happens underneath. Excessive external orderliness can be symptomatic of a losing fight against slippage. Whatever your transitory coping techniques, slippage recurs again and again. The recurrence is the weariness, eternal slipping and hoisting oneself upright.
Some retreat to monasteries, others to booze. Younger people generally retreat for other reasons; they haven’t yet fully understood the meaning of slippage. Television is the popular, socially-approved method of retreat. But it’s a gateway drug to vicarious living, and it’s best to limit your exposure.
The weariness of slippage is very different than the angst-struggle of the rut, although that struggle can also be very tiring. The dreaded rut, that nefarious whirlpool of life, happens when routines and limited vision lead you to circle the same track endlessly. The rut’s worse than slippage because the rut sucks your life away like some mythic vampire, but the tiredness of the rut is better than the exhaustion of slippage because it means you’re surfacing. When awareness arises in a limited way while you’re in a rut, you feel both angst and bitter weakness – and that means there’s a chance you might slip the track if you keep at it. For the most part, though, people in ruts don’t feel anything. A rut is a condition of sleeping automation.
You can only feel the oppressive weariness of slippage if you’re awake, but of course that makes it seem all the more acute.
Writing as Medicine
Once upon a time, I wrote because I had a love for the written word. Don’t get me wrong, I still become entranced by visions into other people’s minds, when the writing’s done with guile and craft. But that love, that entrancement… it’s not my motivation anymore.
Now I write for the same reasons I meditate. They’re both cleansing, I must do both of them. When a storm fully develops in my mind, writing pours it out. The ink on the page can be an burst blister, a purged thought construct, and a profound unleashing of inner energies into the outer world. Revising improves the content but is also the treatment. The first draft is the emergency room visit, but the editing is the recovery.
Writing is the longest-lasting cure to slippage I have found. Meditation is preventive medicine that keeps you out of the rut and enables you to withdraw from the whirlwinds of reactive thoughts before they become full storm systems, but writing… writing terminates storm systems. They move out of you into the world, and rarely if ever return.
Every single little collision of egos is slippage, but it’s also inspiration. All disagreements are fuel. Fuel not only for writing, but fuel also for the burning man… accelerants for starting fires that abolish entire villages of the ego. The mind rebuilds, of course, but there’s no end to this kind of fuel. The weariness of slippage is overcome through burning, and creativity lights the fires.
If the sages are right, and I should ever be free of attachment, the ultimate end of slippage will be named enlightenment. That’s the promise of the burning man, that’s the truth of Brahman, and that’s the kiss of Nuit.
Until that day, there’s writing.
You might also enjoy:
- A Rant Against Life Purpose – programminglife.net
- Life is the Ultimate Self Improvement Guide – programminglife.net
- Blurry Flowers and Corrected Vision – programminglife.net
- Enlightened Self-Interest: When Your Values Overlap with Other People’s Values – theemotionmachine.com
- To Build (or Break) a Child’s Spirit – handsfreemama.com
- Leaning Into the Spirit of Discovery – mindfullymusing.com
If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it.