Hardened Heart

We shuffle down the street, heads down. We wear gray business suits on rainy days. Trains gush into the stations, green lit, as we step on, unfocused on the strangers around us. The doors shut while we cram headphones into our ears, check our phones for messages, scroll through news feeds. In minutes and hours, we arrive at our jobs. We visit associates. We repeat stories to ourselves, narrowing our identities into predictable grooves. Our routines are comfortable, safe. They are normalized in the concrete walls of our cities. We have become so sane that we drink ourselves into an unconscious stupor to suppress our suffering. We emotionally harden, passing the homeless like they’re rotting meat, justifying our grudges to our friends, complaining. Always complaining.

We have forgotten our childhood. We have forgotten how to forget judgement. We have forgotten to be free. Weird. Insane. Following nothing. Grasping nothing. Seeking nothing.

We have hardened into our ideologies. Then when we're depressed, we distract ourselves from ourselves, swallowing pills (medicine), drinking beer, listening to the radio, binge-watching television, and checking social media to compare ourselves to classmates we haven't seen in fifteen years. Consuming more in our fractured attention. Following the urge of materialism, the greed-dream. Attaching to the habitual desire, which rises with our dissatisfaction.

We cling not only to our objects but to ourselves. Our identities. Our stories. Our moods. Our need to be right, smart, and sexy. Hailed, praised, and adored. This comes from our underlying fear. We’re afraid of being ourselves. And that means being embarrassed, wrong. Looking stupid. Being laughed at. This will happen when we’re vulnerable. When we're emotionally naked, honest, wind could burn into our flesh. Waterfalls could make us cry. When we’re vulnerable, we’re exposed. Open. We no longer have control. When we no longer have any control, we exist in uncertainty. We’re confronting the mysterious, shifting present. That present humbles us. It shows us who we are. There’s nothing there but us, no distractions, no stories. Just us.

What will we do without our stories? When our hearts aren’t kept under the burden of societal "sanity," when our minds are lifted from the need to control, to be right, to have power? What happens when we relinquish our power over others and ourselves, our striving to achieve a favorable result, and just be? Who will we be?

#mathewsilver #love #buddhism #attachment #heart #clinging #identity #justbe #present #mindfulness #lovingkindness

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