Can you measure a soul? Can you even see it?
The dye is cast,
And the fabric is sodden red.
Amongst the other clothes,
It stands out.
We sat, and you shared the bad news.
Upon reflection, I can’t believe your calmness.
All men die, trust one, one knows,
But to claim the inevitable as some grand design…
There’s pain of the flesh, pain of the soul,
She’d have always said stay, despite the cold.
So I light a fire that roars softly,
The ash wood crackles,
I told myself then, that the wood I see,
Was once a living tree.
He was poisoned slowly while they cut and crafted
A chasm was made away where he was casted
Three hundred trees were carefully planted
Mischievous were their roots and their trunks were slanted
His mind was scraped and thoughts distilled
They collected his words with passion and thrill
With deception thereof, all was rendered
A spurious tale then they tendered
Yet the peaceful spirit, they could not break
The magnanimous heart, they could not take
With three hundred trees, on his back
He leapt forward, away through the gap
A fire was lit among the trees
Quickly it spread riding his spine
He held on to the ledge and let himself burn
But a part of himself he did not let turn
All the cruelties he managed to endure
When what he saved was taken away
To the edge he could not hold on anymore
Alas! During the fall all he could do was pray
Bright light split through the chasm
He felt her and yearned to gaze upon her
With a great cry he fell below however
In darkness he was silenced forever
Time seems to have frozen. There is always a permanent state of wonder. Like the continuous falling of leaves from a tree which never runs out of leaves to shed, during an endless autumn. The days become colder and darker and the slowly decaying leaves surround the doomed tree. There is no wind to carry them away. The still air laments between the empty branches . The tree however, has to withstand the autumn. It cannot withdraw from the fate that awaits it. The winter that will follow seems like a distant tale told by wanderers who take shelter under the tree.
He sat under the tree in the endless time counting the falling leaves but if you asked him how many have fallen so far, he would not know. Repressing everything related to the tree, the falling leaves and the never ending autumn, had become a way of life for him. Because regardless of the fate of the tree and the frozen time, he could not sit there any longer. The world does not wait. The day came when he had to get up from under the tree and continue the walk of life. Pretending to never have known the tree and its fate. Silently stepping on the decaying leaves on the ground around him. One step at a time he walked towards his path. A path he had never meant to have taken and did not know where it led.
Is it ok for him to come back and count the falling leaves every once in a while? To see if the autumn has finally transformed into the long dreaded winter? He does not know. But he will always think about it. He will always think about the silence in and around him. A normal walk on a normal path is not what he was destined for. Maybe he will never travel on the road he wanted to, for that road was built for two. But there is one thing he is sure of. When he got up from under that tree and started on the path he did not ever plan to go on, he left a part of himself under the tree. While this was not easy, but he wonders if the falling leaves will ever stop and the part he left behind will follow the path he took to find him at the end of his journey.
What exactly is self-love? I have often wondered. We hear a lot about self-love, but how do we really define it and to what degree can we indulge in philautia without becoming selfish or narcissistic? While researching on this, I came across Aristotle’s definition. He states that people who love themselves to achieve unwarranted personal gain are selfish/erroneous, but those who love themselves to achieve virtuous principles are the best sort of good. This helped me understand a lot about self. To expand on this definition, it can be established that self-love is not about personal gain. It is about achieving virtue. It is about having a state of mind, where virtue is dominant. It is about, respecting oneself and loving oneself enough to reach a plateau of moral, ethical and virtuous principle. To define these principles, we need to delve deeper into moral philosophy. However, when you focus on taming yourself, it is essential to derive satisfaction from the day to day good deeds. To love oneself, it is important to see yourself as a source of “good”. To become “good”, you need to first learn to forgive and be patient.
To reach this realization, an individual must go through a life experience which forces one to ponder over oneself, their purpose and their situation. I have found that those who are quick to produce conclusions and are often satisfied by their view and opinions only are the ones who have not yet reached the maturity or the life experience required to practice philautia. People who will go the extra mile to justify their actions, their words and their reasoning, but they will not stop to take in the present reality or the “bigger picture”. They often like to pretend that things are not in their control. They come in your life and make you believe what they perceive is and will always be correct – even about yourself. To escape them you have to understand your worth. You have to understand self. It is dangerous to give such people the power to play with your emotions. By learning to master your emotions, you can alleviate the negative effect they tend to create on your life.
For him, the case was no different. He was always a strong person, but at certain times he could not master his emotions. He always practiced self-love to an extent but never really understood the true meaning of the same. Hence after the debacle, he started taming himself. He distanced himself from the darkness created by the narcissism of people, who he thought once cared for him. During the recovery, he forgave and during the taming – he focused on realization. He focused on how to be virtuously superior than his former self. He spent his days trying to have a positive impact on everyone he met. He practiced patience in everyday activities. The last time I met him, he was adamant on producing nothing but peace through his actions. “I believe in making things happen with one’s own effort and persistence” He told me. “But now I have grown enough to understand that some things are not worth it” I listened to him speak rather triumphantly. “The endeavor that creates good, is always worth it. But the tasks and people associated with it that only demand fuel for their narcissistic gains are not” I smiled and took a hearty sip from my cup of coffee and questioned him, “How do you tell one from another?” There was some silence and then he explained, “It takes wisdom to be able to tell one from another. Normally, we get into situations far too deep to reach a point to be able to make a sound judgment” He looked at me and concluded, “to have that wisdom – we all must spend a lifetime in the wrong situations and with the wrong people” . . .