I overheard two women chatting in a restaurant at lunch today.  I know it’s not polite to eavesdrop, but I can blame it on being a writer and my interest in people and dialogue.  Anyway, I pretty much ignored the two of them until I heard one of them say she had been to see her fortune-teller.  I stopped devouring my burger and leaned back in my chair under the pretence of stretching my belly to accommodate the 16oz of meat I was stuffing into it.

They were telling the same story I’ve been hearing for the last 8 years: there are no more good men left on this planet! And all the good woman are left to pick over the scraps in hopes that there might be some redeeming quality about them.  I can’t turn around to see what these women look like and one is a low talker and the other a high talker so I’m only getting half the story.  The fortune-teller tells her some stuff that’s not all that interesting.  The story ends with the high-talker resigning herself to her fate: “I’ve come to a point in my life where I just have to accept who I am,� she sighs.

Her words were heavy as if soaked in the sadness of believing that she could never have the life she wants.  Instead, she must settle for whatever she can get.  That to me sucks.  And I wonder what has she been through that she has come to this point in her life.

I watch them go up to pay their bill and the one friend strokes the arm of her friend in a gesture that says, ‘I feel you.’

I feel her too, now.

Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? – Morpheus, The Matrix

How do you know that what you are experiencing moment to moment is actually real and not just a complex construct of your mind?

There is a thought in therapeutic community that we are not who we think we are and that we are all living in a massive trance state with only rare moments of being truly awake.

The theory goes that the problems you have, or think you have, are always about yourself.  You become the object of our problems. But in order to be the object, you have to be something; and that something is always an idea or a set of ideas.  The idea is only a suggestion of who you are, but it is not you.

For example you might look in the mirror and say I am fat, or I am not handsome enough, or host of other you might say about yourself.  In order for you to say you are fat, you must have in your mind a self-image of what you imagine you should like, an ideal self.  When this ideal self doesn’t match what you see in the mirror, then feelings of unhappiness or discontent follow.  Basically what you have done is tied your identity to the problem.

To liberate your identity from the problem ask yourself, “Who is the ‘I’ that is fat?� The ‘I’ or imagined ideal self is an illusion born of a myriad of personal, social, religious, and cultural influences.  You could, in theory, walk away from the illusion.  But then who would you be?

You can find out through a process of self-inquiry.  And a great place to start is by asking your self the question, “Who am I?�

What you will eventual find is that who you really are cannot be comprehended by thought.

One day you’re going to wake up and you’ll be dead.  All life is folly.  Your time here is transient.  From the moment you are conceived, the big countdown to the end starts ticking and you haven’t even tasted your first breath.  Life moves towards death.  It seems almost ludicrous to get attached to anything, or anyone, or to life itself for that matter.  Life is precious and precarious.  You can be snuffed out in a moment – the next moment or the moment after that.  Maybe you’re lucky and fate has arranged your cards such that you get to languish around into your 80s or 90s but you know what, you still die in the end.  The whole equation life = death, makes everything we do, everything we strive for or worry about, seem insane.  What’s the point?  Why go through all the trouble of trying to collect and hang onto all the scraps you fight for every day?  Why not just get naked and party hard?

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand – strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO – What a Ride!â€?  I can’t find the person who wrote that, he or she comes up as unknown.  They were probably to busy living hard to bother about leaving a note to get quoted!

I think I might be on the brink of becoming a hedonist.  It seems insane to do otherwise.  Why not get the maximum enjoyment out of life and do the things you want to do? Or as the Grateful Dead sang:

I may be going to hell in a bucket, babe
But at least I’m enjoyin’ the ride
At least I’m enjoyin’ the ride
Yeah, at least I’m enjoyin’ the ride
Yeah

Saturday morning, I can see a little blue sky peeking through the drawn curtains of my front room.  The blue conjures a feeling of mountains and open spaces and I suddenly long to be outside.  I realise that I haven’t planned anything for the weekend apart from attending my daughter’s play on Sunday.  Usually if I don’t plan something, it means I will end up on the computer for most of the day with intervals of time spent reading or playing PlayStation with my son.