Origins

Self-portrait on Ullal beach

I don’t know if it is something particular about Mysore, or simply about immersing oneself further in yoga practice, but it is as though my whole life, my whole 26 years of memories has culminated together and keeps playing through my head. I am thinking about people I haven’t thought about in years. I have flashes of experiences forgotten. My dreams are full of old ghosts and unfamiliar faces.

I had contemplated abandoning this blog. Indeed I had contemplated abandoning life altogether. My body decided to give up on me last week, leaving me weak, powerless and unable to take care of myself. As I lay on the bed staring at the fan whirring round and round above me I wondered whether my mind should follow my body’s example and give up too. No matter how hard I tried, I could not think of one reason why I should attempt to keep myself alive.

I was just waiting. Waiting for someone to make it all better, or failing that, waiting for the end of it all.

But somehow my body rid itself of the virus and my mind too rid itself of those thoughts. In fact I have begun to feel better than I have in a long time. My heart feels content. I am happy in the present. I am excited about my practice.

This blog was intended to document my explorations into my sense of self. But all I have found is that I no longer know who I am. Just waiting for the answers to appear and fill the space with a tangible identity. I hoped to fill in the gaps of my personality, to somehow provide an origin where there is simply questions. To not have a sense of where you are from will always give the individual a permeable quality; they will never know where they begin and end; they will never know who they are.

Michel Foucault would claim that the search for origins is a misguided pursuit anyway for ‘What is found at the historical beginning of things is not the inviolable identity of their origin; it is the dissension of other things. It is disparity.’ (Foucault in Nietzche, Genealogy, History). I cannot deny that some part of me decided to leave in order to find something. But it turns out that Foucault may be right and that all I am finding is disparity. Disparity between myself and who I was hoping to find. And disparity within myself; confusion and contradictions that are not easily eradicated.

As the days and weeks pass my ambivalent relationship with India remains. This is a place that can capture you with its beauty and devotion and yet frustrate you with its corruption, inequalities and relentless nature. It is also a place where finding calm and serenity is a constant task despite the hoards of hopeful faces like me who arrive expectant and waiting for self-realization. As I sat on the peaceful Ullal beach at sunset I awaited the hoped for flurry of profound thoughts. Instead I was interrupted yet again by a young Indian guy trying out his English and asking the question that never grows old: ‘Where are you from?’.

Though ‘Where are you from?’ may turn out to be just the profound realization I have been searching for. I contemplated that I don’t really know where I am from, my sense of origins, but it didn’t seem to really matter anymore. Sitting on a bus for the 8 hour journey to Mangalore and the 8 hours back to Mysore I found the chance to think (though admittedly half the time was consumed with thinking about how long I could hold my bladder and the accompanying thought of escaping the bus and finding relief in the lush green bushes outside). I watched the whole world go by gazing out of that window, the confusions and contradictions I felt within myself mirrored in the confusion and contradictions of the everyday life outside. Any thoughts I had tended to tail off and merge into the endless and beautiful landscape of the Coorg. And my self – who I was, who I am, where I am from – merged too into the green hills and valleys until I could see and feel the disparity no longer.

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One thought on “Origins

  1. One thing that I really related with was the travelling part and trying to hold in urine! So many times I have travelled in India and I make sure to drink less fluids to avoid that problem! But seriously… glad you wrote this particular blog post…. I think what you wrote about finding oneself and disparity is quite fitting and made me think about it too…

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