Monday, March 28, 2005

Death & Rebirth

by AJ/Skald

We all go through cycles of death and rebirth. One of the tremendous powers of travel is that it accelerates the process. Loss and gain come much more quickly when you are travelling. Each departure is a mini-death. Each arrival a mini-birth.

Both events are difficult. Mini-death requires letting go. We must let go of friends. We must let go of old comforts. We must let go of confidence and a feeling of surety. All we have known disappears in an instant.

(Re)birth too is traumatic. A new identity, a new life, new expectations, new challenges... all await. In the beginning, nothing makes sense. Everything is strange and difficult. We feel clumsy, confused, and overwhelmed.

In general I enjoy these processes but I wont pretend they come easily to me. I suffered loss, sadness, and pain when I left Thailand. Ive been a total idiot since setting foot in Japan.

If nothing else, this is good for the ego, which is to say, it helps to deflate it. When old opinions wont fit the situation- youve got no choice but to let them go. When you stumble and screw up incessantly, its hard to puff yourself up.

Eventually travel forces you into that very Taoist/Zen position of admitting you dont know: you simply have no fucking clue whats going on, why its going on, how its going on, and where its going to. Nor do you have any clue as to what you should or should not do about it.

Thats the point of surrender.

From there, theres nothing left to do but listen, see, and feel without any particular opinion at all.

The death of concepts. The birth of awareness.

Back to the wide-eyed ignorance of infancy.

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