I Am No One

I am no one. Unlike most other humans, I do not identify as any one particular individual who is separate from other things and people. I am one with everything. Your consciousness and my consciousness is the same thing. The only difference between us is these characters that we are all playing inside our heads.

For a long time I was someone and man that was miserable. Throughout my life I have had many different identities or personalities. Ben the professional tennis player. Ben the failed professional tennis player. Ben the architect. Ben the anarchist revolutionary. Ben the artist and writer. Ben the recluse and introvert. Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben……. What a bunch of bushtit that was.

Why bushtit? Because all those identities or personalities I was identified with did not really exist. Where are they now? Where did they go? What does the tree or the bird care about Ben the architect? What about all those personalities that existed two hundred years ago? Where did they go? These identities are just dreams of our imaginations. As my professor at UC Berkeley once pointed out, “Ben all of your opinions and beliefs only exist within your head, they have no separate existence outside your head. That sky up there could care less about what you think.”

I realize that our personalities or identities do have a social function. They make it easier for us to identify one another and to have things sold to us. Many believe that our separate identities (our ego) are the lungs of capitalism. In order for capitalism to breathe, we all need to purchase these identities that feel unique to us. But it is all a bunch of bushtit.

Being no one is quite wonderful. When you are no one there is no one to bother. I realize that few around me understand so I let them think that I am somebody. I want others to do what they want and unlike the actor Jim Carrey, I have little need to push my agenda or experience on anyone else. I am only writing this because, well……I want to.

You see being no one (not identified with being a specific character in my head) gives me a lot of time and freedom. I no longer have to be caught up in the very time consuming struggle of needing to be someone. I am free to just exist, to enjoy the moment, to not need to strive to be anything more than what I am now. No One. When you are no one, there really is nothing to get done. I mean sure I still clean my house, care for my garden, read books, go to work, listen to music, dress well (I enjoy wearing nice suits everyday) but I am not doing these things to be somebody in the future. I am doing them because I enjoy it in the moment. These various tasks that compose a life well lived bring me pleasure. When I was trying to be somebody, I was always trying to get someplace else and as a result was not able to enjoy these smaller aspects of my life. Now the smaller aspects of my life mean everything.

A person is only irritated being where they are at if they want to be someplace else. If a person has no desire to be someplace else there is the absence of irritation. Ever since I became no one, I have only wanted to be right where I am.

You may be wondering how I became no one? It took a lot of time. Ben the tennis player, Ben the architect, Ben the writer and artist, Ben the failure, Ben the anarchist- these identities did not go away easily. I felt like I needed to be somebody in order to live the life I wanted to live. How wrong I was! I didn’t get that it is impossible to live “a good life,” as long as you are trying to get someplace else. The Ego is never satisfied. It always wants more. It is never happy where it is at and it does not want to give up its pursuit of being somebody. It is relentless and caused me a great deal of unhappiness. Over time and lots of hardship, I was finally able to let my Ego go and become no one. It still comes back from time to time, but I notice it and send it on its way.

I have no place I want to be more than right here. Nothing I have to do. Nothing more I need to achieve. Everything feels full right now. I am free to live my life as it is in this moment without looking to the future. Once you become no one, the future is just a dream that you wake up from.

It can be tough at times because society demands that you be someone. People don’t know what to do with no one. It just makes everyone nervous. People need me to be Ben the architect in order to hold on to something. Fine. I let them do that but once you become no one, none of this matters because who are they doing it to? Society and all these people who put you in boxes, judge you, label you, demand things of you, force you to be someone you are not can not get to you once you are no one because there is no one there to get to! So I let people do their thing, because I am no thing.

It really is quite a wonderful space to dwell in, and even though the outside world is going mad because of their egoic identifications and never ending strivings to be someone, it’s ok. It is just that way things are. Doesn’t bother me since I am no one.

Eventually everyone gets the point. The unfortunate thing is that most don’t get to enjoy the point because they are unable to separate themselves from their ego until they are dead.

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Lazy Person

You are a lazy person. Maybe you can’t help it. Maybe it is just the way you are. I don’t think this is true, but I suspect that you do.

Antithetical to your own popular thought, you are a lazy person. I know you do not think so. I know that in your mind you contrive fantasies of a very engaged and capable person who does a lot. After all, how could you live with yourself not in a continual state of despair if you didn’t fool yourself like this. It takes a very logical and advanced mind to reflect back to itself the truth of its own being. Most mortals continually lie to themselves all the time. It is a preventative strategy against the pit of despair.

Only strong minds can exist in this pit of despair and not be destroyed by it. Most prefer to avoid it. Distract themselves from it because their minds are too weak to handle it.

Your laziness controls you all the time. It grips you by the throat. It causes you to not do what you would like to do. It causes you to not be the person you would like to be. Instead you sleep and sit more than you would like. You consume things more than you can control. You say things and then do the opposite. Your ability to control yourself in the way you would like is outside of your own control. You live in the center of this paradox, which causes you to lose faith in yourself. So much energy is exhausted by continually doing the things you set out not to do. Much confidence in oneself is lost when we continually avoid existing in the ways we would like. Our laziness wins over us, and we become the person we would like not to be.

The paradox of laziness is that it costs you energy. As much as you feel like you are preserving energy by not living in the exact way you would like, by letting go of control over the person you want to be- you are depleting yourself of energy. It exhausts large amounts of life energy to continually go against your best self. To throw yourself under the proverbial bus again and again, saps a person of vitality. You do not see this but the daily failure to be the exact person you would want to be (thinner, stronger, more organized, healthier, creative, intellectually engaged, financially independent), to be fully in charge of all the decisions you make, causes you to lose faith in yourself. Few things exhaust a person like a chronic feeling of bad faith directed at themselves.

Laziness is what grows out of this chronic, self-directed feeling of bad faith. It is like being punched again and again, day after day, by a relentless opponent. Eventually you will give up and just take the punches. All your strength and self-esteem is lost and like a punching bag gone flat, you take punch after punch. Under these conditions who has the energy to do much? Who has the motivation and strength to really sail their ship in the direction they want it to go? No way. I would rather just rest and space out, you say.

Just give up and sleep more than you should, drink more than you want, make yourself sick with stress, watch more tv and porn than you want, have the body that you are not happy with, eat as much as you want, lose the will to organize your life, let things exist on the verge of chaos. Just go with the flow of your lazy life without ever doing anything about it. This is the fate that you lazy person have chosen.

I know you think your life is better than this lazy person. I know you think you do a lot more than you really do. As I said, it is necessary for you to think this way or else you would slip into the pit of despair. Your illogical (delusional) thought processes are a survival strategy. You must avoid thinking logically about certain things because if you did you would have two choices. You would either have to slip into a state of complete existential dread about the meaninglessness of all life or you would have to claim agency, develop a stronger and more disciplined mind and actually change your life (push against the currents of laziness). For the lazy person the option of existential meaninglessness (especially in today’s bleak world) seems to be a much easier option. Do enough to just get by, to just keep your head above water and then let everything else go. Accept living in a state of chaos. The lazy person loves the easier option.

You lazy person know what chaos is, right? I mean, chaos is many things. There is the external chaos of the natural world that we are subjected to all the time. We live in a chaotic universe where anything can happen at any time. We think we are the ones pulling the strings in the external world but this could not be further from truth. You really think that person meant to trip and fall and break their nose? You think they really saw that comming as they were lost in thought a moment before? What is really going on is that nature is pulling the strings all the time and we are victims of this event though are entire lives are often a futile struggle to prevent this from being so.

But we do have greater control over our internal state. In the same way that a water skier glides and jumps over the unstable water through which she surfs, we can do the same internally if we chose. Even though the sea around us is completely unstable and chaotic we do not have to give into this internally. You lazy person have given into the internal and external chaos. You have lost control over yourself. You have become weak inside because you are continually going against yourself. You think one way but you do another thing. You say one thing but you do the opposite. You want to achieve one thing but instead you give up on achieving anything once it gets too hard. “fuck it,” you think to yourself. If you had a best friend who was continually making specific plans with you and then again and again did not show up in the way they said they would- you would lose faith in them. You would resent them. You would stop showing up for them. Why should your inner self be exempt from this?

Laziness is a result of this resentment towards oneself. You have lost faith in your ability to confidently show up for yourself. So why not sleep and eat and drink and fuck and do nothing more? Trying to get a handle on things exhausts you because you are not able to ever show up for yourself (your aspirations) and thus you have given up and become lazy. Just take things as they come, you tell yourself. Keep doing what you can because it is too hard to do anything more. Just make the best of things. Live for the moment. What’s the point of anything else?

Sick Bed Poem, #3

I enjoy the ways
The shadows and light
Project themselves on the
White comforter with books,
A magazine, and empty
FruitStix package and my
Gradually recovering body resting
On top of it.

“Stay in bed as
Much as you can
This weekend,” my wife
Tells me as I
Was cleaning the messy
House. “Ok, don’t need
Convince me to do
This.” Even though my
Ravaging illness is almost
Past, “There still needs
To be rest,” my
Wife tells me. I
Like her more for
This. She knows that
I was close to
Death.

She knows my life
Has become a shell
Of what I wanted
It to be. All
This rushing around towards
Things I don’t want
To do and empty
Money business was not
What I had planned
In my more youth-filled
Ideas of a life well
Lived. I prefer being
Out of the world,
Far away from the
Artlessness that most people
(Including myself) normally become.
I have made a
Mess for myself
I don’t know how
To clean up. This
Is why I clean
My house so much.
One becomes more aware
Of these things when
Sick in bed.

I will remain in my
Sick bed, a few
More days. I will
Watch shadows and light
Move around on my
White comforter, the only
Film I really like
to watch right now.
I will try and
Forget the outside world
Again and again and
Live closer to a
Feeling that feels alright
To me.

Sick Bed Poem, Part 3

All poems posted on Facebook first.

 

Who Cares

It

is

challenging

to

continually

post

poems

on

facebook

and

other

places

on-line

and

to

have

no

one

like

them

even

though

i

know

the

poems

are

good.

The

advantage

of

being

a

sick

poet

is

that

for

a

brief

period

of

time

you

get

to

not

care

what

anyone

else

thinks.

In

a

healthier

state,

i

would

care

more

about

my

poetry

not

being

liked

but

when

in

a

sick

bed,

who

cares.

I’m

doing

this

for

myself.

What

the

hell

else

is

there

to

do?

Sick Bed Poems, Part 2

All poems written while sick in bed and then posted on Facebook.

I Love Saturdays

I was preparing to

Take a nap on my bed.

While staring out the window

There was afternoon,

Blue sky and green plants

Swaying in the wind.

There was dog sounds, car

Sounds and time going by

Too fast sounds.

Then a naked lady with

Beautiful breasts and

Trimmed brown pubic hair

Walked by on the telephone wire.

This is why I love

Saturdays.

Slavery

It is 7:28am.

A time of

Doing nothing. Just

Sitting here with

My coffee, my

Fever, my body

Aches- listening to

Records and watching

The morning outside.

I don’t want

To do anything

But the day

Ahead is filled

With adult responsibilities,

Which just means

Things that must

Get done that

You do not

Want to do.

Poop and Pride

This morning while

Picking up dog poop

I stepped in dog poop.

I became angry, indignant

At something so beneath me.

“I’m no better than poop,”

I reminded myself

Because pride never works.

I became humble

And cleaned the poop

Off my shoe.

My Wife

I’m often grateful

For the absence

Of fear in

My wife.

I’m so riddled

By fear most

Of my life,

Always present.

This is why

I’m often grateful

For the lack

Of fear in

My wife.

Laconian Laundromat

I went into a

Laconian laundromat

With a bag filled with

Dirty clothes.

But nothing made any sense

So I left.

Sick Bed #2

Day four of

Whatever it is

Confining me to

This sick bed.

This sick bed

Is causing my

House to smell

Like a sick

House.

I gathered enough

Strength to walk

Out into my

Backyard and urinate

Under the avocado

And lemon trees.

I watched a

Hummingbird, remembered health

And then I

Walked like a

Sick man back

Into my sick

Bed.

God’s Drilling

When a boy

I thought the sound

Of an airplane

Moving across the sky

Was God drilling a hole

To get out.

Short Poetry

I’m not a very good poet,

Not like some poets I know.

That’s why I like to

Write short poetry.

Pencils, Erasers and Indignation

I feel indignation

Much of the time.

But then I remind myself,

We are just pencil lines

Drawn through infinite space

Soon enough to be erased.

The Plastic Clarinet

There is a plastic clarinet

On my dresser.

It is red,

With blue and yellow keys.

It stands there, erect

Waiting

For someone to play.

But I never do.

Not anymore at least.

Childhoods forever gone,

So I wonder why I still keep

The plastic clarinet.

Birds and Bicycles

Birds are bicycles

Moving across the sky.

Don’t believe what anyone else says.

When you are lonely

Get on your bicycle and go after them.

You will see what I mean.

Health Care

When sick

I try

Not to

Go to

Doctors.

Instead I

Spend hundreds

Of dollars

On natural

Supplements.

Throats sprays,

Immune herbs,

Nasal decongestants,

Colloidal silver,

Vitamin C,

Eucalyptus oil,

Reishi mushrooms,

Wellness Formula,

Zinc lozenges,

Raw honey,

And sometimes

A random

Lover.

I assault

My sickness

With every

Natural remedy

I can

Find and

Afford.

However now

That I

Am married

And older

Lovers are

No longer

Apart of

My health

Care.

Why I am Canceling Work Today

I’m a therapist.

When I am

Ill, your problems

make no sense

To me. Your

Problems, my problems-

All a luxury

Of health.

Strong Character

Most people

Judge but

That is

Only because

Their character

Is weak.

How many

Of you

Assholes write

An entire

Book of

Poetry while

Stuck in

Bed, sick

With flu?

This is

What I

Call strong

Character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sick Bed Poems, Part 1.

All poems written and posted on Facebook while sick in bed over the past week.

“Fuck”

After being

Up for

An hour

Or so,

Taking care

Of a

Few Sunday

House chores,

After being

Sick in

Bed all

Day I

Sat back

Down on

My bed

And said

“Fuck” out

Loud to

No one.

Health

I want you

Back so bad

That I’m willing

To lay here

In bed for

Days on end

To have you

Back with me.

Failed Experiment

I’m a failed

Experiment.

I was raised

To be upper

Class.

Wealthy beyond all

Measure.

My childhood and

Young adult life

Filled with Private

Schools, Symphonies, Tutors,

Museums, Country Clubs,

Five Star Hotels,

Finest of Dining,

Exclusive Summer Camps,

Brand New Cars,

Clothes Shopping at

Nieman Marcus and

Nordstrom.

But for whatever

Reason it did

Not feel right

And I dropped

Out.

Now I’m an

Older man living

A lower middle

Class life and

Sometimes I wonder

What I would

Have been like

If I were

Rich.

Sickness Favors The Poet In A Person

The thing

About poetry

Is that

It is

Impossible to

Write it

When you

Have much

To do.

Poetry comes

On its

Own time,

And if

You force

It, it

Is crap.

Poetry requires

Empty space

Within which

To arise.

A busy

World like

This world

Is a

World with

Absent poets.

This is

Why being

Sick in

Bed for

Days on

End can

Favor the

Poet in

A person.

Small Pleasures

It happened once when I was 6 or 7.

Today it happened again.

I was watching a fly,

Resting on a window

With the afternoon sun warming its belly.

I could swear I saw it smiling.

Sick Bed

The past two or

Three days I’ve been

Stuck in a sick bed.

Days ravaged by

Exhaustion and nights

Tormented by a stabbing

And swollen sore throat.

Writing poetry on Facebook

For a few others to read,

It’s a remarkable thing.

Who would have ever

Thought that a sick man

Could still be creative in

The world even while

Stuck in a sick bed.

A Thought From A Psychotherapist Sick In Bed.

If you knew

The stories

I’ve heard.

Again and again.

The vast majority

Of people are

Absolutely crazy and

Completely emotionally unhinged.

Centers of a

Made up universe

That only exists

In their self

Centered and deluded

Heads. And for

The most part

These are the

Ones who don’t

Or won’t or

“Don’t need” therapy.

Just a thought

From a psychotherapist

Sick in bed.

MTV Overdose

It doesn’t happen

Anymore.

But when young it did

A lot.

I would overdose on

MTV.

Often at 1 or 2am.

When this happened

I really

Believed I was

A rock star.

Sometimes the effects lasted

Days.

Courage and Likes

It takes courage to write

Poems no one likes.

But Note To Self:

If people liked your poems

You would not be the kind of

Poet you are.

Not Giving A Shit

If

Sickness

Has

Taught

Me

One

Thing

It’s

That

I

Need

To

Improve

At

Not

Giving

A

Shit.

My Wife Likes My Poetry

Almost every

Poem I

Write I

Read to

Her.

She always

Seems to

Like most

Of what

I write,

Which is

Good since

I’m always

Unsure.

Collecting Lemons

All the

Lemons had

Fallen to

The ground.

Some decomposing,

Some not.

I felt

Bad, the

Lemons took

So much

Time to

Grow Into

What they

Became. So

I got

A green

Plastic grocery

Bag, got

Down on

Hands and

Knees and

Began picking

Them up.

“Lemons are

A good

Source of

Vitamin C,”

I told

Myself with

Mud on

My hands.

Vitamin C,

Always good

For a

Sick man.

 

(Part 2 coming tomorrow.)