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Reflections on the Mind and the Heart

Life has been, to say the least, very interesting to me recently. A healthy dose of happiness, a substantial offering of stress, and a hell of a cocktail of unpredictability. But these life experiences have led me to where I am today, and by experiencing them I have grown stronger than I ever thought I had the capability to. For a long time, I was convinced that reason was the solution to life. And for another time, I was convinced that pure feeling was the solution. But neither of these are entirely true, and I keep coming back to this idea, present in almost every religion and spiritual practice: moderation. I once believed that the heart and the mind were bound to battle one another, engaging in an endless, confusing, and completely fruitless war. But this is not the case at all. In fact, the mind and heart are not enemies, but rather two partners that may dance together beautifully if you allow them to. If you allow both your mind and heart to find synthesis, and you make a balance
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Notes on Culture and Primitive Man

Primitive humans, through their lived experience, lived lives that were wholly satisfying: they engaged in work that was meaningful and personal, they had constant challenges and mental stimulation, an unrestricted sense of autonomy, and a sense of adventure belying the entire thing. Humans had no choice but to derive meaning from a life that was exhilarating at every moment. Every choice was meaningful and required an unparalleled trust in one’s ability to overcome the next obstacle. It was an enduring but highly satisfying test to see if you had what it took to have mastery over life.  And in our chase toward rapid industrialization, we have lost the personal touch of what it means to be human. Many of the activities we engage in are indeed surrogates for that which were once accomplished and deemed satisfying by primitive man. Take video games or movies, for example. One engages in adventurous, dramatic, action-packed, or otherwise exhilarating genres to induce pleasure in oneself.

Life as a Commodity

Lately I’ve been struggling quite deeply. I’ve been between jobs, and similarly to how my furlough status during the start of this pandemic allowed me to re-evaluate the life that I’ve been living, this “break” of sorts has done the same once again. This world often makes very little sense to me, and the more sense I try to make of it, the less I understand it. We all want to be happy, to spend time with our loved ones, to be free to chase after our passions and desires, and yet we sell the hours of our lives without a single moment of contemplation. When you apply for an interview for a job, you are reaching out to that person to ask, in some deeply concealed form, “How much is my life worth?” Then that person has to come up with a response and make a justification for your life being worth X amount of dollars. It matters not how much you have struggled, nor the victories you’ve achieved, nor the impact you’ve made. Your life is a neat little numerical value. Does that not strike anyo

A Common Enemy

Many works of art in history have demonstrated an idea of human unity: the idea that, if faced with a disaster that seeks to destroy humanity, we will all forget all of our minor transgressions and band together as one race to fight the enemy head-on. Whether the media presents it as an alien invasion, a meteor, a great evil wizard, or some other seemingly insurmountable threat, the core concept remains, which is that through our collective power, we can stand up to any enemy, no matter how terrifying or powerful. This is especially useful in the act of warfare. The way Americans united against the Japanese threat by interning Japanese-Americans in camps on their own soil. The way the profiling of Muslims increased after 9/11, as Americans were thoroughly convinced that Muslims are far more dangerous than other people. The amount of civilians and innocent people that have been eliminated from the face of the Earth for no other reason than in the name of “freedom” and “democracy,” which

A Day of Freedom

I did something quite out of character the other day.  I called off of work for no reason other than a spontaneous urge to do something interesting. Typically, I'm not one to call off or miss a day unless I am so ill or concerned that I could not possibly work effectively. When asked about that trait, my punctuality, or my overt lack of work-life balance, I often respond with something along the lines of, "Showing up on time is the bare minimum." And oftentimes that response is met with a bewildered look, probably because a simple glance at my face shows my true feelings: abject misery, exhaustion, and deep despair. It's abundantly clear that I need to take a break, but the world must keep spinning, I must keep paying my bills, and I must continue to take care of my own needs and the needs of those I love.  But let's not belabor this point, for this is not to be a sounding board to describe my deep unhappiness with the state of the world or the uncontrollable aspe


Every so often I have this moment — this fleeting moment that seems to provide me with complete clarity. It happens at random times: while driving, after waking up, maybe while eating a meal. A moment in which I’m acutely aware of everything around me, free from the lofty expectations I set for myself, free from the baggage of my past, and free from the tainted lens in which I often view the world. This moment is something of an anomaly and I don’t quite understand it. But it feels liberating. It feels like pure unadulterated consciousness, in which life really does feel like a sacred thing to experience and hold dear. Perhaps I’m not present enough with myself. Perhaps I’m so pre-occupied with my ever-growing list of responsibilities that it’s hard for me to take a moment to rest. I exist from moment to moment, engaging in what’s necessary to prop up my ramshackle life, but it feels as though I don’t know how to live . And to be honest, I don’t think I ever have. I’m in a constant sta

On Owning a Pet

A couple of months ago, I took in a cat. I was in my last hour of my shift, and my coworkers and I saw a small cat dart past the window and underneath a car to hide. A couple of my coworkers are cat people, and in their well-meaning and compassionate nature, quickly went outside to investigate. His meows were loud, and he sounded like he was calling out for help. They took him behind the building, where we had food and water set up for another cat that had been frequenting the building for some safety and refuge.  About 10 minutes later, my curiosity got the best of me and I had to see the thing for myself and headed on to the back of the building. The small orange creature was walking away down the alley, but seemed to be slow and tired. I picked him up, which he took surprisingly well to, and placed him in the shade near the food and water. He took a few drinks of water and splayed himself in the corner against a wall. He was a dirty and ratty little cat, with a blood-red eye he coul