This publication can be found online at http://awareness.media.mit.edu/pub/kris-journal.
Personal Notes on Meditative Practices, Memories, and Reflections
Kris Menos

Me at Steven Holl’s Chapel of St. Ignatius in Seattle, WA

Metalogue [Saturday, May 14, 2016]

Participation in this class has had a profound and indescribable impact on my being. I believe that practicing proactive methods of self-awareness and differing approaches to meditation has helped me to literally rewire my mind and body, reformatting my default emotional state— mental and physical—into one that is more comfortable, relaxed, at ease, and most importantly, more content.
From a pedagogical standpoint, this class has been truly unique within the context of my academic experience. As a student of architecture and design, many classes that I’ve taken have endeavored—whether they are aware of it or not—to teach a combinatory form of heuristic and heuretic logic. If heuristics is a form of logic that is derived from learning and reason, and heuretics is a contrary form of logic derived from invention and imagination, then teaching a student to engage in the two forms simultaneously is a rather idealistic intention. From this class I have experienced, for the first time, the potential for heuristic reason and heuretic imagination to work in discursive cooperation with one another. This has been allowed to occur through the combination of the class’ controlled interpersonal dialogue and discussion, and its more freeform personal meditative practices and reflections. In order to grasp this form of learning, it was necessary to stop looking outwardly to the design of the world, but rather within to examine the nature of the self.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
Carl Sagan speaking about the 1990 “Pale Blue Dot” image of Earth taken by Voyager 1 space probe from a distance of 6 billion kilometers. [Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (New York, NY: Random House, 1994).]
I have a vivid memory from when I was six years old. It was on the morning of a school day, some months into my time in the first grade. I woke up to a ray of light shining through a crack in my bedroom curtains and onto my eyelids. In the subconscious of my sleep, I had been experiencing a deep sense of restful, soothing comfort. In retrospect I only became aware of this sensation because of the stark contrast of the thoughts and feelings that I experienced as I came to waking consciousness. With my eyes still closed, a complex rush of intuitive thoughts and feelings—not necessarily describable in words or imagery, but in an abstract form of stream of consciousness—overwhelmed me as they rushed through my mind and body: I’m only in the first grade, and there are 12 grades of this? What is the purpose of this education? What does it lead me to? Where is the meaning in all of this? Why should I care about my life? What’s the point? What is the purpose of this daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, yearly cycle? I felt trapped in the monotonous structure of an existence that I didn’t understand: helpless, hopeless, and meaningless. The warmth of the sun’s rays on my face spread down and throughout my body, and grew in heat into a tense, throbbing, and feverish sensation, particularly in the lymph nodes of my throat, underarms, and groin. I opened my eyes and threw the covers off of my body. In a moment of simultaneous unspoken realizations, I had felt the gravity of my powerlessness, my insignificance, my lack of experience, my lack of awareness beyond what I was experiencing in that moment. I simultaneously wanted to burst into tears, yet questioned why there would even be a point in doing so. I convinced my parents to let me stay home from school on that day, and on the next day, and on the next, until the entire week had passed. In many ways, I still feel like I go through my waking life in this state of consciousness, yearning to attain the innocent comfort that I know exists somewhere in my subconscious.

Monday, February 22, 2016

How does one quantify the results and effects of meditation? For me, in my current stage of meditational infancy, the most palpable and therefore describable features of my experience have been in the form of sensory perceptions of the mind: sensorial memories and imaginations that are largely visual, but also sometimes auditory or olfactory, and more rarely gustatory or tactile. I see images, and hear sounds, and smell odors, and occasionally taste flavors, and feel textures, though I am not sure if I am actually using my eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin to do so. In moments of deep meditation, some of these sensorial perceptions are highly abstract and seem unreal, arising from beyond the constraints of my conscious mind, although not necessarily existing in my subconscious before that specific moment per se. I understand these experiences as moments of imagination and creation. In my mind’s eye I will see jarring compositions of abstract forms with varying textures and colors, and with impossible light and shadow conditions. Seemingly without pattern, the activity of these forms flutters from static to kinetic in a state of consistent transformation. As a designer, this kind of phenomenological experience can be a fruitful technique for exciting the mind’s imagination.
There are also instances in which these sensorial experiences have previously existed only in the subconscious of my dreams and inner thoughts, and the act of meditation has pulled them out for my conscious mind to become aware of and grapple with. One of these visions I had not previously consciously remembered or contemplated since the time I was a young child. Shortly after I experienced my existential crisis at six years old, a recurring dream began: the frontal image of a face, plump and round, but with the extents of the face extending outside of the frame of my mind’s eye, as if the face were not on a round head, but rising out of a smooth flat landscape. The texture, color, and scale of the face made it appear as if its forms were composed of large dunes of sand in a desert. The face was still, with eyes closed and a subtle smile with lips closed. It looked like it felt safe, comfortable, and at peace. The image of the face emanated cool warmth, and I experienced a calming, soothing, pulsating sensation over my forehead and into the front of my brain. This was accompanied by a low humming sound.
Then, as I looked further, basking in the details of the image, a sudden flash would occur, and the face would immediately transform. The humming turned to high-pitched shrieking. The location of the eyes, nose, and mouth would remain, but the smooth sand-like textures and forms of the face were replaced with a machine-like, skeletal aesthetic composed of steel and chrome beams, rods, sockets, gears, and ball bearings that appeared aged, mangled, and covered in grease and soot. The eyes were now open, and staring directly at me with bright metallic ball bearings gleaming intensely. With an absence of lips and a clenched jaw, the grinning face’s mechanical teeth were exposed menacingly. In retrospect, the aesthetic of the jumbled and overwhelming composition somewhat resembled Piranesi’s “Carceri d’Invenzione” (“Imaginary Prisons”) etchings, and Libeskind’s “Micromegas” architectural drawings. Experiencing distress and discomfort, I would attempt to bring the image of the smooth face back to mind, succeeding only momentarily before uncontrollably reverting back to the machine face.
From this lack of control over my mind, I would feel severe anxiety. I don’t recall how I would break out of this binary cycle of flashes, nor do I even remember pondering this recurring dream during my waking life. I do remember waking up feeling unrested and unsettled, and struggling to recall the specific nature of the dream that had caused such feelings. I sense that it had an influence on my waking life and vice versa, regardless of if I was aware of it or not. Even now as I write this entry, in the moments after this previously forgotten yet familiar imagery has just been re-revealed to me in a short meditation session, I can already begin to relate one of my current physical behaviors back to this early dream. I found that as I visualized the imagery in order to describe it, my jaw muscles would keep clenching up tightly, and I would have to keep reminding myself to relax them. During intense thought and study, this is something that I’ve recently realized is a recurring habit of mine, as if the act clenching my jaw is an attempt to establish control of my brain through increased tightness and rigidity in my head. Being able to remember and confront this memory at present feels extremely liberating, like I’ve stumbled onto a clue for understanding the early developmental stages of myself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

In the short time since I’ve initiated a practice of regular meditation, I’ve felt myself grow more reflective and less reflexive. In conversation, this is particularly true with respect to the act of response. Tonight during dinner my fiancée became frustrated by my prolonged pauses in conversation. She interpreted my thoughtful apprehension as a lack of caring about the subject at hand. I explained that on the contrary, my silence was an indication of my deep care, and a desire to respond with the utmost of clarity and sincerity. Perhaps we as humans have become anxiously dependent on the endless and almost instant loop of input and feedback. When I am feeling out of element and meeting someone new or unfamiliar, whom I don’t yet feel comfortable with and perhaps might be intimidated by, I feel a great deal of anxiety at any point of pause in the conversation, particularly while I await response. My reactive reflexes bristle in agony, and I grow utterly conscious of myself, to the point of distraction: What do I look like to them? What do they think of me? What will they possibly say? Then what will I say? I find it curious that I have an easier time with conversational silence when the formulation of response is on my shoulders. Why am I comfortable or confident in what I have to say, but wary and unsure of the reaction of others?
I must admit, I hope to grow more able to toggle between reflectiveness and reflexivity, and perhaps even achieve some cohesive simultaneity of the two: both living in the moment, and being aware of the moment. Although deep down I know that holding this desire inside myself, as motivation could actually be antithetical to achieving it. I suppose that above all, I just need to figure out what state of being will help me maximize my ability to lead a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Nothing to report in particular. I’m meditating regularly, sitting in silence for no specific length time, as long as it feels right. Sometimes while I’m standing, cooking, doing dishes, etc. I’ll shift balance between my feet, and think about the swaying ocean of blood in my body, my center of gravity, weight distribution, and breathing (some of the Chi Gong basics that we’ve been exposed to in class with Peter Wayne).
Note to self: I need to figure out how to build less expectations of other people, I think it gets in the way of my ability to be happy. This likely also applies to the expectations that I’ve built for myself.

Monday, February 29, 2016

As I go through the world I find myself more clearly perceiving the underlying processes of making that are embedded in my surroundings. While walking to the market, I couldn’t help but notice the inscribed remnants of a craftsman’s circular saw, which had cut away the pavement of the sidewalk to uncover the soil underneath and plant a tree along the road. In a brief moment as I recognized the marks, this process played out in my mind. I saw that the first cut had not been measured to properly accommodate the area required for the incoming tree, requiring a second cut and unplanned additional time. I noticed that this same problem had also occurred in a perpendicular manner. I chuckled to myself, thinking of the craftsman realizing their mistake, cursing to themselves, and perhaps trying to make the proper cuts before someone like their supervisor catches onto the error. As I kept walking, my mind zoomed out from this minutia, to wonder, how much of this planet is actually left untouched by human hands? Considering our effect on the atmosphere, I think it’s safe to say that most if not all of the living organisms have felt some consequence of the Anthropocene. How do I find happiness in this awareness?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

I’m having a hard time with the task of seeing something new each day. I find it hard when I try to force myself or make it a chore. When I notice something that I haven’t noticed before, I tend to feel pleasantly surprised, as opposed to feeling validated in my expectation. I wonder if the act of searching might actually impede the search. Ideally, the reflex to search for new things could be built into my subconscious tendencies through the process of inception.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I haven’t been writing my journal entries as regularly as I’d like. I tend to write my entry just after a meditation session, and in that moment everything that I write feels true. But to be honest, once I go back into the world, and return to look at the entry later, I feel somewhat embarrassed by it. My mind seems to go through some subliminal process of fortification and desensitization in order to reacclimatize to the judgmental social constructs of the world outside of my mind. I know I just need to get over it, moved past caring. I’ll post soon.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

I’ve realized recently that my default emotional states tend to be negative ones: annoyance, frustration, anger, anxiety, depression…I see a person on the bus sitting with their boot on the seat in front of them, and I pass through all of these states. Don’t they know that somebody else will inevitably sit in their boot mark? Where is their compassion for their fellow human beings? What if the person who sits in that seat next is in their best clothes on their way to a job interview? This pisses me off; I should go over and say something. Why does this bother me so much? Why does such an insignificant situation make me feel this way? What if that person has a reason for putting their foot in that position, like leg or posture issues? And I’m selfishly sitting here with a healthy body, thinking negative thoughts about them, and not being grateful for my own privilege.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

In some of the transitional moments of my day, I’ve continued to use some of the tips that Peter Wayne taught us in the initial Chi Gong session. While waiting for the bus, or the elevator, I’ll focus on my breathing and gently sway my center of gravity to feel the ocean of blood flowing through my body. I find the method very calming and focusing, and that does a good job of getting me away from my tendency to default to a negative state of mind. A suggestion for others doing some form of Chi Gong practice: while standing on an ascending escalator, I’ve found the swaying especially invigorating and focusing. This gets me mentally prepared for whatever task I have to do at the end of that escalator, for example arriving at the grocery store to shop for the week’s meals.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

My daily meditation generally occurs in the morning. I’ll wake up as my fiancée prepares to leave for work. I wish her a safe and happy day, and we say goodbye. Then, I will clean whatever dishes are in the sink from the day before as I listen to music or a podcast. After this, I wipe down the kitchen counter and tidy up the apartment a bit. Then, just before I get into the shower, I will sit down on the living room couch or at my ergonomically supportive desk chair. I straighten my posture and align my spine, and close my eyes.
I haven’t been referring to a specific mantra, or following a specific technique, other than to focus on my breathing. Thoughts drift into my mind, and I try not to dwell but just allow them to fall away. Sometimes if I begin to feel tense or anxious, I will try to relax my body by moving my focus through its different regions up and down. At a certain point, I will stop thinking specific verbal thoughts, but rather experiencing visualizations and other sensations. As I’ve discussed, some of these images and experiences are familiar to my conscious mind, but others, mostly in abstract form, appear as new or foreign. At a certain point (I’m not sure when), the voice of my mind returns, and my senses dull a bit. When I feel ready, I open my eyes. I don’t follow a timer or track how long I’ve meditated for, but I’d estimate that it generally lasts for between five and twenty-five minutes. Then, I will get up to look south out of our apartment windows at the Charles River for a moment, put music on, shower, and start my day.
Lately, I’ve been feeling like it’s taken me longer to get to the calming experiential state that I’ve come to appreciate, and thus prolonging the amount of time that I spend with the voice of the “nagging monkey.” I’d like to try to figure out a way to not dwell in my thoughts so much, and see what other positive effects I can attain from meditative practices. In order to do that, I’m going to try changing up the regularity and schedule or my current practice. I’m curious how the change will affect my daily experiences. I’ll try to meditate in times during the day when the moment strikes me as appropriate, not just during the time when I’ve comfortably fit it into my schedule: perhaps for a few minutes before a stressful class or meeting, and in more of the in-between moments of my day.

Monday, March 21, 2016

As opposed to partitioning the meditation into a specific moment within my private morning routine, I’m finding that dispersing it into short moments throughout the day has had a more positive affect on my general mood and/or predisposition as I go through the world. It allows me to consistently re-center myself, and remind myself of my larger goal to be happy.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

As I’ve discussed, in social situations (and even sometimes in solitary moments) my default emotional state tends to lean toward some form of anxiety—through self-consciousness, fear of judgment, desire to please, etc. I’m starting to realize that I do feel deep empathy for others, but that I don’t intuitively direct this empathy toward my own condition. For most of my life, I’ve felt some kind of hole in myself, and I haven’t been able to understand why. Knowing this about myself, and understanding personally the existential depression that I experience on a daily basis, why can’t I just learn to give myself a break? (I do not mean to reduce the fact that I have been structurally privileged as a fair-skinned, able-bodied, heterosexual male of moderate intelligence from an upper-middle class background.) This all seems to be a mere matter of perspective, and having the awareness to shift that perspective in a more positive direction. In this regard, there is a quote from a recent episode of television that has stuck in my mind. In the third episode of season two of the HBO show Togetherness, the two best friends have traveled back to their childhood hometown, and they dig up a time capsule that they had left for themselves as teenagers. In a note that the two had written to their future selves, their teenage selves remind them that: “Inside every man there is a light, and when he lets that light shine, he lights up the world. And when he doesn’t, he lives in darkness.” (Please excuse the masculine pronouns.) I’ve found over the last couple of weeks that bringing this idea to the foreground of my mind from time to time has a positive effect on my general outlook and attitude. Being in this mindset helps me feel more readily able to rationalize a situation and relate to the other, yet more deeply feel experience my own feelings with regard to those ideas. I wouldn’t necessarily refer to this as a “mantra,” but perhaps more of a reminder. Ideally, my default would become closer to this kind of open and universally empathic state.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I feel I’ve been fairly successful with my meditative practice intentionally dispersed out of any fixed routine, whereby I never actually set out with the intention of having a session of meditation, but rather allow the moment to occur naturally and at random. I’ve found that at first this would happen while sitting on the bus, or in a momentary pause during other transitional phases of my day. However, this practice has slowly infiltrated other, more stationary or regularized periods of my day, such as when I’m working on my computer, or during an instant of quiet in class. As I’ve referred to it before, I like to think of this as re-centering my self (space intended), if I’m perhaps feeling a bit off kilter.
I must admit that sometimes after a meditation session, especially one that is particularly long or makes me feel especially good, I feel a combination of guilt or dread at the idea of the fact that I am being graded with regards to this process, and that I should therefore try to make this process evident in my journal. Realizing that I might feel this at the other end of the experience has on occasion prevented me from even beginning a meditation session to begin with, unfortunately. I’m coming to terms with the idea that it might be more important for me to just meditate regularly and freely, and allow the practice to begin to truly internalize in me, rather than trying to gain specific insights from each session or feeling beholden to the journal and the grade. This is really just a preconditioning from thirteen years of public school grades, assessments, and examinations, plus an additional several years of post-secondary school and workplace programming.

Friday, April 15, 2016

I’m beginning to discern varying levels of depth with respect to my meditative experiences, existing on what I would describe as a gradient between “thought meditation” and “feeling (or sensation) meditation.” Each mediation session inevitably begins on a shallow level of “thought meditation,” in which the mind is still calming from external stimulation, and continuously confronting then discarding an almost active flow of thoughts. I generally try to shed this flow by at first embracing it, then shifting my attention toward my breathing, and mentally occupying and relaxing my body, from my toes to the top of my head. At this point I am still in a state of “thought meditation,” as I am thinking about my breathing and concentrating on my body, but in doing so, I have also shifted into a state of “feeling meditation,” albeit still in the form of verbalized or visualized thoughts. However at a certain point, something indescribable happens, where the thought ceases (or is perhaps forgotten) and “feeling” takes over. This “feeling” is not ascribable to any one emotional state (i.e. happiness, fear, sadness, etc.). I wouldn’t refer to this “feeling” as a form of pleasure, but perhaps a kind of blissful neutrality. Then, perhaps as soon as I become aware of the “feeling,” thoughts resume, and my mind comes back to the surface. With respect to my experience of the world after this internalized experience, this neutrality has a more thorough and extended effect on maintaining a balanced and rational emotional state; even relative to the decidedly more positive experiences that I’ve had during more superficial sessions of “thought mediation.”

Saturday, April 23, 2016

As the semester begins to wind down, and deadlines approach for final projects, papers, presentations, I’m finding that the less spare time that I have, the more that I want to—and do—spend my time meditating or doing something calming and peaceful. I believe that this in turn has only aided in my ability to work towards my deadlines. I’m curious if this attitude will continue after the semester, once I have a bit more free time. I’ll keep that in mind moving forward.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

I experienced something new today, and wholly indescribable, but I will try. I’ve noticed lately in my meditation sessions that I have been able to shift from what I’ve referred to as “thought meditation” into “feeling meditation” with greater ease, maintaining this state for noticeably longer periods of time. This morning, I woke up earlier than my fiancée, and I felt too awake to fall back to sleep. I figured it would be nice if I went out to the living room to did something quiet, and let her sleep in. I grabbed my phone and went out to sit on the couch and read the often-dreadful breaking news stories of the last night and morning. When I got out to the living room, I saw that the curtains were wide open, and rays of sun warmed my skin. Without really thinking about it, I put my phone down without having activated the screen, and just sat on the couch and closed my eyes. I took a couple of deep breaths, concentrating on each one, and slowly relaxed my body, starting at my bare feet at the points where they touched the ground, and moving very slowly and intentionally up through each part of my body. When I reached the top of my head, thoughts ceased, and from this point I felt rays of light emanating omnidirectionally outward through space and through the rest of my body. And again, I can’t really put words to it, but it wasn’t my mind’s eye that was visualizing the light; it was as if I was literally feeling it, almost being bathed in it, like a newborn baby basking in a sink of warm water as they get bathed and pampered for the first time and simulating a return to the comfort and protection of the whom. For a few moments I was able to embrace this feeling, but as soon as I became aware of it the thoughts returned, and I lost it. I open my eyes and tears were running down them. I know that if I try to search for it again, or meditate for that purpose, it will not come back.
In recounting the experience now, I realize how important sun and light has been to many of my life experiences. Related to this, I am also aware that my body has a Vitamin D deficiency, as exhibited by a blood test on the shortest day of the year in the winter of 2014:
Blood test, December 22, 2014 (D.O.B. May 9, 1988)
Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY
Component:VITAMIN D, 25 HYDROXY
Value:19.5 NG/ML
Standard Range:30.0-100.0 NG/ML
A review of the literature suggests the following ranges for the classification of 25 OH Vitamin D status:
Deficiency <10 ng/ml
Insufficiency 10-30 ng/ml
Sufficiency 30-100 ng/ml
Toxicity >100 ng/ml

Saturday, May 7, 2016

In past years, this time of the semester has been highly stressful, and notoriously rough on my personal coping mechanisms. However, I can honestly say that while I do feel pressure over all the work that I have, I’m not experiencing anywhere near the stress levels that I’m accustomed to, and I believe that I’m doing better work as result. It’s too early to really state definitively, but I do believe that I am in the process of reprogramming my habitually default state of anxiety that I’ve referred to so many times. If I am feeling overwhelmed, I’ve been able to close my eyes and take a deep breath, to reopen them feeling in a completely transformed state of mind.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

In another Media Lab class that I’ve been taking this semester—“Human 2.0” with Professor Hugh Herr—I was in a project team that produced and tested a software that uses a Microsoft Kinect sensor to detect the center of a user’s face and find the difference between the horizontal distance to this point and the horizontal distance to another fixed point on their body below, to track the user’s postural range of horizontal lean and hopefully enable to the user to maintain a desired range of lean through in-the-moment notifications. I used the software to track my posture and movement during a meditation session. In two lines measuring distance over time, the graph depicts the changing depth between the sensor and my face relative to the changing depth between the sensor and a fixed point on my chest. The graph shows that while I moved slowly forward and backward in space over time, I exceeded the notification threshold only three times over the course of more than 30 minutes. (The three red squares indicate the points during the meditation session when I surpassed my desired range of lean, which was calibrated to be fairly tight.) I don’t have a figure for what the total average rate of notification for all experimental users, but I can comfortably wager that one notification per ten minutes of use was substantially below the rate of notification for the user who was not meditating during monitoring (instead, they would be lightly browsing the internet on a computer, or sitting passively). I plan to continue using the software to further explore these kinds of differences. In more extensive research, the notification system will be turned off, so as to only track the data and not disrupt the user’s processes to see a more natural reading of postural habits (especially to keep from disrupting the user’s meditation session, as I experienced).

Saturday, May 14, 2016

To conclude my journal (for now), I’ve placed what I’m calling a “Metalogue” at the journal’s beginning to provide a bit of introductory hindsight. I certainly plan to continue with the practice of meditation, and of course to inevitably continue seeking self-definition through self-awareness. Above all, I just want to be content, and I believe that this class has set me on a path to achieve it. I recently resumed another meditative practice, as I have started drawing again. I’m currently working on sketches for a couple of pieces that I would like to do to represent the facial visualizations that I experienced as young child and described in here in my journal. I’ll post images when I’m ready to share.
Finally (again, just for now), I wanted to thank Joi and Tenzin and everybody who participated in the class for a truly unique and amazing experience. I’m looking forward to our future meetings! And please, do keep in touch.
Kris
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Joichi Ito 4/6/2016
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Private. Collaborators only.
Selection made on Version 2
I have a vivid memory from when I was six years old. It was on the morning of a school day, some months into my time in the first grade. I woke up to a ray of light shining through a crack in my bedroom curtains and onto my eyelids. In the subconscious of my sleep, I had been experiencing a deep sense of restful, soothing comfort. In retrospect I only became aware of this sensation because of the stark contrast of the thoughts and feelings that I experienced as I came to waking consciousness. With my eyes still closed, a complex rush of intuitive thoughts and feelings—not necessarily describable in words or imagery, but in an abstract form of stream of consciousness—overwhelmed me as they rushed through my mind and body: I’m only in the first grade, and there are 12 grades of this? What is the purpose of this education? What does it lead me to? Where is the meaning in all of this? Why should I care about my life? What’s the point? What is the purpose of this daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, yearly cycle? I felt trapped in the monotonous structure of an existence that I didn’t understand: helpless, hopeless, and meaningless. The warmth of the sun’s rays on my face spread down and throughout my body, and grew in heat into a tense, throbbing, and feverish sensation, particularly in the lymph nodes of my throat, underarms, and groin. I opened my eyes and threw the covers off of my body. In a moment of simultaneous unspoken realizations, I had felt the gravity of my powerlessness, my insignificance, my lack of experience, my lack of awareness beyond what I was experiencing in that moment. I simultaneously wanted to burst into tears, yet questioned why there would even be a point in doing so. I convinced my parents to me let me stay home from school on that day, and on the next day, and on the next, until the entire week had passed. In many ways, I still feel like I go through my waking life in this state of consciousness, yearning to attain the innocent comfort that I know exists somewhere in my subconscious.
I have a vivid memory from when I was six years old.
Very cool memory. I think “yearnings” are healthy and a “yearning” to connect to “true nature” and the unknown are one of the things that drives us. I think it’s great to be aware of this and allow it to be our guide.
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Kris Menos 2/20/2016
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Private. Collaborators only.
Coincidentally, I just realized that I turned 6 years old in 1994, the same year of Sagan’s publication.