Today I went outside, started the car to let it warm up, came back inside and proceeded to look for the keys for 5 minutes. The other day I spent longer than a few moments trying to get into someone else's car in a Chapter's parking lot before realizing it wasn't mine. I am constantly misplacing my wallet, phone, gloves and hat. I can never remember which side of the street you're supposed to walk on (facing traffic or opposing it — I've been trying to remember this one since I was 5) and it often takes a feat of massive concentration for me to remember how to get to certain places that I've been going to for years. Once, I even called home from work, heard the cell phone ringing in the pocket of my coat (we have no land line), pulled it out and stared at the incoming call number (me, at work) unable to understand why someone was calling me from inside the building while I was calling out…
Am I an idiot? Very much so. Though I prefer to tack on the term savant at the end, even though I haven’t yet managed to create anything to justify such an addition. In my mind, however — even at nearly the halfway mark of my life — I know I’m a genius. Or, at least, that I’ve always been capable of genius. That’s how I defend my idiocy. Whenever someone witnesses any of the myriad examples of colossal absent-mindedness like those mentioned above, I just say: “It’s OK. I’m a genius…” And this of course clears everything up completely. Ahhhh, a genius! Of course… And all is forgotten. ;)
The only problem is, I’m totally not a genius. Not demonstrably, anyway. And if you’re a genius only in your own mind, and doing things like calling your own phone without realizing it, doesn’t that just make you a crazy person?
That’s what’s happening here, I think. I’m a crazy person. Just a dude who probably has an undiagnosed learning disability (or two — ADD and all it’s off-shoots were not a ‘thing’ when I was kid) and severe delusions of grandeur. Just someone who’s been teetering on the verge of institutionalization for the last 20 years, running around like a maniac and leaving nothing but a string of broken relationships and unfinished projects behind him.
The whole thing, it’s just so… unoriginal. Any genius worth his salt would’ve had a bonafide breakdown by now, or produced a work of terrifying and terrible clarity, or gone out in some mad, legendary bang, confetti and streamers and setting-dreamers-on-fire and all of that…
Me? It appears I’m just getting old thinking about all of it. Life is getting busier by the day and the idiot part of me only seems to be getting stronger, while the supposed ‘genius’ part is nowhere to be found — apart from my own mind, of course. This is why I’ve turned to mindfulness and meditation at this point in my life: out of utter desperation. And, while I may be experiencing a relative amount of success in those areas, overall I’m still far more Rain than Man, if you know what I mean. Yet I’m out of options. It’s either put this shit together through the tools of higher consciousness, or bust.
It’s just that it’s SO. TOUGH.
There’s a quote I remember reading somewhere, by whom I can’t recall, that says something along the lines of It’s easy enough to be mindful, but it’s remembering to be mindful that’s hard.
Hammerhead to the nail. I’d say I get about 1 to 2% mindfulness in everyday. The rest of it — crazy old me. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. Look around. We seem to be hardwired for forgetfulness as a species. As in, waking up with the same state of mind we always generally have, being totally unaware of it, and setting about our day as the bundle of deep unconscious processes that make up our personality, our perspective and our world-view. We then go out into the world and interact with others doing the exact same thing, only in their own, unique version of 'self', as it has come to condense in them. Some of them we get along with, others we don’t. Some of them bring up good things, some of them bring up bad things. This type of triggering extends all the way from conversations at the water cooler to bloody conflicts over holy ground. The whole human race, it seems, is just meeting itself, over and over again, in different levels of forgetfulness, and dealing with the results on that same level. Just as I'm dealing with my own problems with severe absent-mindedness, the rest of the world is dealing with its own inability to wake up from the patterns that plague it.
At the same time, the potential is there, if only we could see it! Just as I know I am capable of achieving genius, so is the human race! So are each one of us. And, considered in this way, it’s actually not genius at all (it never really is), but simply an expression of our inherent and incredible uniqueness, our natural selves, expressed in the manner they were always meant to be.
But we need to wake up. Individually. And for that to happen we first have to realize that we are in fact sleeping. That our default state, everyday, as we go around being us is actually unconscious. Most people, when you use that term, unconscious, still think of it in a Freudian manner, as in the deep recesses of the mind that are unknowable to us on the level of thought, yet let me argue, from my limited perspective, that it is the very thinking mind all of us operate in everyday — that we think is conscious — that is, in reality, just an extension of that deeper level of unconsciousness. We think we’re awake, but we’re not.
And how do I know all this? Because I go around doing things like looking for the keys I just started the car with. When you catch yourself in a state like that, it tends to have a jolting effect, like the strange full-body shocks we all experience from time to time that pull us out of sleep, or hypnagogia, so suddenly.
So, if you’re like me — so absent-minded you’re lucky it hasn’t killed you yet — do not despair! Your idiocy may just hold the key to the very awakening of genius, not only in yourself, but the whole human race. If you choose to think about it in this manner, the next time you’re caught red-handed doing something inexplicably retarded, you can simply say:
“It’s OK, I’m a genius… and I’m going to save the world.”