If I had to sum up the grand obsession of my life for the last five years, it would boil down to this:
I’m not a particularly tortured soul. On many counts, I’d be even be considered happy. None of that, however, mitigates the fact that there’s an almost constant drone of anxiety humming in the back of my mind.
(On most days, it’s a five-note monody; on really bad days, it swells to a full-blown symphony.)
There have been periods in my life where I felt enveloped in a cocoon of serenity: one was the two month period right after my “retirement” from the corporate world when I did nothing but write stories while waiting for the first semester of my graduate studies to begin; the other was the one month period shortly before my graduate comprehensive exams when I did nothing but read texts on metaphysics.
There are moments when I wonder how I can replicate the circumstances of those periods all over again. But then, I remember that replicating circumstances is precisely not the point. There’s little value in a tranquility that can only be maintained by living in fishbowl-like conditions. No, the kind of peace I want is the kind you see on the statues of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in the Angkor temples of Cambodia: that massive, implacable, imperturbable kind of peace. The kind of peace that can swallow all the pain and suffering of the world and go on smiling benevolently and compassionately.
As far as grand obsessions go, I think this one’s worth the effort.