I find long-distance travel to be an extremely interesting phenomenon. When we read tales of the past, we of often shocked and yet enamored with just how long a journey used to take. When Magellan’s expedition first traversed the globe, it took an almost indescribable amount of time, from 1519 to 1522 – three years — and it cost Magellan his life and the lives of most of his crew. Only 18 of the original 270 crew members survived (1) Today in virtually the “blink of an eye” you are deposited to any of the four corners of the world. (2) Travel has accelerated to such a point that it seems almost commonplace to most of us, I am sure.
We are said to be flowing streams of consciousness, or are we? What reality do I really occupy other than the immediate moment, which itself is brief and fleeting? How do I find that elusive peace that all of us so desire? As the new semester begins to set its course, we are all afforded an opportunity to start with a clean slate. Our “whiteboard” need not be impregnated with anything that we don’t put there ourselves: pain, jealousy, envy or regret, to name but a few. These emotions limit our opportunities for self-improvement. The secret, I maintain, is to find yourself in the present and yet cast a determined eye to the future.
Hope: I often question what this word truly means. To me it suggests that, until the day I die, I can affect change; I can make a difference. Since I was a little boy, I have always believed that life, though somewhat unpredictable, has true value. At birth, you are presented with the concrete opportunity to achieve whatever you want: if you truly want it and accept its consequences. Agreeing to this premise, my sentient journey has been a roller-coaster of successes and failures: in short, a grand adventure. I acknowledge whatever I have been dealt. I have no regrets.
What are the beginnings of joy? Joy emanates from the center of you. That being said, how do you achieve joy on a daily basis in a chaotic world? You are forced to alter the way that you perceive reality. Joy itself is elusive and not easily acquired. The very beginning of this concept must be predicated on want: I truly want to be happy, contented, etc. Most of us, however, have grown up in a capitalistic system that is based on consumption. We are virtually pre-programmed to join the ranks of economic slaves and spend our lives in mostly useless tasks that make the owners of capital richer and richer and the working minions forced into a minor economic role, continuously trying to save money.
The other evening, as I was driving home, the sky was suddenly illuminated by bolts of lightning – quite extraordinary really! It would not take much imagination to realize how the “ancients” perceived this to be the “hand of God,” or gods. It all began like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture: a crash, a smash and a bang. (1) I was pulled back to my youth when I lay in my parent’s garden with my friend Blake to look up at the stars just prior to a storm. This was a time devoid of light pollution (2) so you could literally see into the heavens. Each star beckoned you further and further into the stratosphere. Every time you looked, the distance expanded – the starlets summoning you, as if to say, “Come embrace infinity.”