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Open vistas

What follows is an entry from my journal.

I walked up the mountain to catch the moon rise. Just last month, I witnessed two full moons at my mountain, though the phenomenon remains as awe-inspiring as ever. I find these moments fulfilling and empowering. When I witness those horizons, I feel more comfortable with openendedness. I do not limit my thinking to the realm of the familiar. Nor do I trouble myself with issues that I know are irrelevant in the grand scheme of my life. More importantly though, I do not become invested in a particular outcome. Things will run their course, anyway.

The vastness of this world inspires me to not assume dead ends where there are none and to not imagine them to be there when I am in doubt. To every fatalistic thought about the state of our affairs, I respond with an eagerness to lead by example, to remain restless the way nature all around me is, and to take even the one chance out of the hundred. Why give up when I can do more and when every other form of life I know of struggles to maintain its form? I shall try my best, while I can.

As I scale the mountain, I realise this is a difficult climb. I do it every day and find it normal to proceed without pausing, though I know it is an impossible challenge for the uninitiated. The mountain trail is a metaphor for solitude. There are times when no-one will join you on your path. Do you feel sad and seek to find company instead? Or do you venture forth regardless, accepting how things stand? And if you do choose to be with others, do you not regret not fulfilling your potential? Are you not lacking something, as if a part of you is curtailed?

Solitude is not the same as loneliness. The way I understand the latter, it happens in the midst of others. You decide to be with them, perhaps out of need or fear, only to realise that nobody seems to comprehend you. Sure, you can communicate about certain issues, but you know it is not enough for you. You want more, you need something else. Loneliness is when you realise in despair the mismatch between your needs and the inadequacy of the stimuli in your milieu. You feel lost, as there seems to be no place for you anymore. “If even they do not understand me, who will?” This is the sort of feeling you get. By contrast, solitude is the mere fact of being alone. It does not mean you are unsettled by the absence of others in your daily life.

How can there be people atop the mountain, friend? If you expect to find everybody there, you are a fool for misjudging the case. Traversing the path requires that you accept the trade-off involved. Whether there will ever be fellow travellers is not for you to decide or foreshadow. There is no room for contempt, no sense of elitism. These, I think, are misguided, as they are about other people and how you mistakenly insist in appraising yourself relative to them, as if there is no other possibility. Suspend judgement. Enjoy the moonshine’s beauty and note that the path is simple, provided you accept who you are.

You cannot live the life of another. Everyone operates within confines they had no say over and cannot undo either unilaterally or at all. If I were a swallow, I would have to cross the sea to find more temperate climates. My small wings would make it hard for me to cover long distances. Each time I would accidentally touch the water out of fatigue, I would know that I was an inch away from my demise. Yet I would continue flying in recognition of what my condition had made unavoidable.

Since I am who I am, I will keep exploring the landscapes in my area, I will feel joy once I hear the frogs again, and when the next moon rises I will try my best to reach the highest peak one more time. Not to prove anything, not to apologise to anyone for not being like them, but only to remain honest about the little things that work for me; to admit that I like this regardless of others, for it springs from within and finds its telos therein.

Open vistas help us change our attitude. We literally gain a different perspective and are then inspired to meditate about our woes. For example, I spent several weeks without electricity at home. Most people tend to complain when they are in an uncomfortable situation. I have learnt to look at the bigger picture. It is why I remain calm in the face of uncertainty. If the cosmos is arranged thus for me to be in this place at this time, I might as well see what is in store for me. I take it as an opportunity to grow as a person, to model my mindset after the surrounding mountainscapes. To complain in such a case is to not want to see what may be in the horizon.

As I type these words next to the candle fire, I hold the image of the night sky in my head. It keeps me grounded. I am thankful to have witnessed this and shall always be content with what I have, for as long as I have it. Let others measure worthiness the way they do. And let me continue on my path.