Meet Me at Zero

Sure I’d made decisions before – I wouldn’t be alive if I hadn’t, but this time it felt incredible to mean it wholeheartedly. Yet why did I always have to be forced into a corner before acting or was there another way? Surrendering into the humiliation surprisingly revealed something unexpected: humility. I’d rediscovered the fine line that separated the two.

Maybe I hadn’t seen it before now because it was too simple for someone with an ‘over-complicated-personality-disorder’ or ‘OCPD’ (I bet that wasn’t in the DSM!) Making mountains out of molehills was a specialty of mine. I was special all right – special needs. Even when my ex-roommate chastised me for feeling ‘special’ about finding a place to live, I wasn’t mad because he was right and wrong. It wasn’t special and everyone did it, yet for me it was. It always brought up feelings of abandonment, rejection, dejection and unworthiness.

If necessity was the mother of invention was it also the mother of intention? Were all three directly proportional to one another? Awed by the real world application of mathematics – the way it should’ve been – the only problem now was to match drastically high needs with sufficient intent. The ‘fake-it-’til-you-’make-it‘strategy worked, but seemed too short-term and, besides, hadn’t it got me into enough trouble already? I wanted something longer lasting.

In a vision, I was riding a train; tracks converging along the perspective. It stopped at a station where I instinctively felt need, inventiveness and intent converged. Suddenly other axes appeared superimposing themselves on each other. I tried aligning them with me at their center, but I felt myself being pushed and pulled through time in a spiral-like manner. Yet unlike the Mayan hieroglyph, what if I had more than one arm like a many armed-statue of Vishnu? Judgmentality arose when one arm dismissed the other because it was doing the opposite action! Yet, if all arms were ‘active’ at the same time, was I feeling the pushing and pulling of judgmentality because I didn’t know what it felt like to be at the center of my coordinate axes, at zero!? I always associated zero with nothing, but what if the Arabs were right and it really was a state of perfection that contained everything – including nothing as well?

Alone in this ‘NothingVille’ of a town, I recalled the idea of the Zero Point from treatment where everyone met as equals without character defects, shame, guilt, jealousy, pride and the like. I didn’t really know if it existed or not, but it sounded logical and pleasant to the ears. If living had left me battered, bruised and betrayed, why had I left in the first place if it was so wonderful? Was it possible to do anything without moving from the origin at all? More importantly how could I get back? My mind strained to remember vector math from high school. It was as if I had to be an addict before deciding not to be one. If that were true, why do anything at all if it only had to be undone? Was it true for the good things as well and who decided what was good and bad? Even I had to question the sanity behind the seemingly tormentuous game of ‘Doing and Undoing‘. Yet what else was there?

According to Krishnamurti’s, The Ending of Time, the real problem lay in the act of becoming. My mind raced with new concepts where leaving the origin birthed thought, idea, desire and becoming itself. Yet, it felt like such a painful way to learn. I wouldn’t have chosen that way myself, but then again I wasn’t God (thank God!) Still it didn’t explain why I had to play that game in the first place. Was that the meaning behind the phrase playing the hand I was dealt? Despite not knowing what cards I held, I hated my hand. I wanted a new hand from a new deck or even a new game. I mean there were other people in the world who could play ‘Addict‘, why did I have to? I could’ve and should’ve been born doing something else, something different … something better? As those words slapped me in the face, I shook my head at the sound of my own disgusting display. Now I knew why I was an addict: selfish pride.

Ironically, I felt better, lighter and fuller as though facing the truth had actually done some good. Intrigued, what if I could face all my truths, undo all the wrongs I’d ever done and clean house once and for all? Would I? Of course, I would … wouldn’t I? Wouldn’t I jump at the chance to live free of the pain and suffering of my current life? Everything brightened. In a moment of clarity I saw how I had to become aware of my suffering first in order to find the intent not to. If distancing myself from the origin left me diluted, scattered and unfocused, why did I let it get so out of hand in the first place? Or was inventiveness developed by making it back? What if I couldn’t? My heart cried for help.

Everything brightened again and I turned to my drugs and stopped. It was weird how I wanted to do them, but wasn’t supposed to either. Yet why couldn’t I do both? What a stupid question, I thought. ‘Poor Mike wants to have his cake and eat it too. Ha! Ha!’ Despite the seeming contradiction, the nagging feeling I could do both was hard to shake. I searched my memory banks, but couldn’t find any answers to contradictions and paradoxes. In university they’d been relegated to the realm of the exotic and unsolvable. Maybe this was my chance to learn something new, something not in the textbooks. In a moment of truth Shakespeare reached out from the grave and taunted me with his most famous quote adapted accordingly: to use or not to use that was the question. Which one did I want the most? ‘To thine own self be true’ came the reply, but how?


© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –

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