I was reading Thich Nhat Hanh this morning because Christianity never worked for me and I can’t grasp the essence of Hinduism.
I was reading his exposition of the four noble truths and the eightfold path. I was reading him because the positive existentialism of Viktor Frankl only gave me momentary catharsis, and nihilism is something I so desperately want to escape from.
So, the four noble truths involve acknowledging your suffering; delving deeper into the cause of your suffering; knowing there’s a path to eliminating your suffering, and transforming it into joy using the eightfold path.
I seem to go up to stage three and regress each time I try. I guess there’s beauty in being fucking miserable because happiness is an overrated product in this society of greed, hate, and materialism.
I mean look around you. Everything is transient, and purpose is ephemeral. And don’t give me a lecture about absolute and relative truth when all we do is breathe, eat, drink, smoke, work, fuck, shit and die. Maybe I sound like an adult Holden Caulfield, but I stopped giving a damn a while ago.
My friends, there are no Edenesque getaways with trees of life or whatever and even if you were to find one, you’ll find a Cherub with a flaming sword embodying the wrath of Yahweh guarding it.
So here you are, stuck in a Kafkaesque, surreal actuality which actualizes the clichéd, the truth is stranger than fiction, idiom. Here you are where everyone turns on you, or you turn on everyone else.
I could write pages and pages about the women I’ve slept with, giving them an allure; making them my muses or whatever using sonnets (both Petrarchan and Shakespearean) but there will never come a time for those recollections or sensual fabrications of memory.
I’ve measured out my life in coffee spoons, and yeah, I’m a postmodern Prufrock, riddled with angst, sexual tension, and never finding solace in anything.
So, I guess I’m just going to write about cigarettes since I’m the fatalist who’s an insipid Bukowski; selling his rhymes for free; addicted to his misery, and wallowing in his self-pity and depravity.
I’m smoking 555’s by the way. Don’t you just love smoking? I mean, the rush, the release and the satisfaction is often better than sex.
So, here’s to a life without meaning and one with cancer. Can I get an Amen?
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2020)