Cure for Self-Absorption

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So why a picture of the sea? When I stand on the shore and look at the vastness of the sea and the horizon, I become very conscious of how tiny I am in this universe. And I am filled with emotions that I can’t really describe. Is that what happens when the soul is praying?

A sudden downpour, and for reasons I don’t really know, I remember days I spent at the convent (when I tried to become a nun.)

One of the things I liked about being there was doing the evening prayers with the Sisters. We read from the Breviary and then there was a part for personal intentions, where the Sisters (and later I, myself, having learned from them) prayed for other people we did not really know – the ones in hospitals, those who were traveling, the lonely, etc.

Looking back, I find when we think of those who are suffering and try to feel what they are going through, then we not only realize that other people are suffering so much more than we are, but also we become less self-absorbed and consequently avoid magnifying our troubles.

Right now I’m hearing someone complain about his job, and I think of those who are desperate for a job.

I pray (to God if there is one) for the people of India suffering from the heat wave, that their suffering will come to an end.

(Now I know the reason for remembering: a friend texted me about cloudburst, to which I replied “better than heat wave in India”, then I remembered days I spent in the convent.)

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Love and Anger from Boredom

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One day many years ago, when I was still young, free and single, I spoke with a colleague/friend who was only a few years older than I, about a boy who had been calling me almost every day for several months and then one day just stopped. I was telling my colleague/friend, who was married with two toddlers, that I could not stop wondering what happened, and that I could not sleep just thinking how it could just end like that. She looked me straight in the eye and said to me, coldly, “You do not have real problems, so you invent problems.” (I miss you, Nancy GRO.)

I do not know how anyone else would react to that, but I laughed. And even now, I laugh when I remember it. Indeed, that was not a real problem.

A few weeks ago, I re-read “Notes from the Underground” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and I highlighted the quotes below as I know I have been guilty of these things myself too many times in my youth, and a couple of times in adulthood.

“How many times, for instance, I’d take offense, out of the blue, for no good reason, deliberately; I’d know very well that there was nothing to be offended at, that I was playacting, but in the end I’d bring myself to such a state that the offense would become real.”

“Or else I’d try to force myself to fall in love; in fact, I did it twice. And I suffered, gentlemen, I assure you I did. Deep down in your heart you don’t believe in your suffering, there is a stirring of mockery, and yet you suffer – in the most genuine, honest-to-goodness way. I’d be jealous, I’d be beside myself…And all out of boredom, gentlemen, all because I was crushed by sheer inertia.”

We sometimes think people have offended us, when, in fact, if we had important things to do or think about, we would not even remember what they said. And sometimes, when people have nothing to do, they imagine being in an amazing place, with an amazing person living an amazing life. And then this imagination can lead to the illusion that one is in love, when in reality, there is nothing amazing about the subject of one’s imagination.

Idleness can lead to love or anger, both of which may be mere illusions.

One ought to have time for quiet, for introspection, (I maintain that being quiet or introspecting is not the same as having an idle mind) but one also needs a distraction from the tediousness of daily living – a distraction that needs action. Hence, the need for a hobby. As an introvert, I am happy to add photography and guitar-playing to my list of hobbies that include reading and writing.

What’s your hobby?