Man In The Box

photoI am a man in the box. It is a box that I have made myself. It has its own logic and unique structure that took years to conform. It is a stubborn box that does not like to change its shape nor does it like it when I make certain revisions. My box has a very specific idea of the world and it is in this shape that it wants to stay. No matter how much I clean, fix, mend, adjust or renovate- my box always returns to its former state of disarray and disorder. My box is a universe unto itself. It has its own date and time and it does not care if it conflicts with yours or mine. It deviates from almost every norm and code and does not seem to care about such concepts as good or bad, right or wrong. I do know how it is that I have ended up in this box, but now that I am here I feel like I am always struggling to stay alive.

Within my box, I am perpetually alone. I can often hear the discordant sounds that can only be heard when the mind becomes silent. A wind chime that slow dances in the wind, the box settling into the agitated earth, a solitary bird call, a cats yawn or yell, a metallic bird flying overhead, distant voices alive and dead, siren sounds and occasionally I will hear a star falling.  When I am in a mad rush to get my box cleaned and ordered I can no longer hear these wondrous sounds but instead I am lead by anxious thoughts that will not let me just sit down and breathe. The thoughts torment me with the things that need to get done in order for me to become the man that I wish to be. These thought refuse to let me be just who I am and at times my thoughts will fill my mind with sexual fantasies that erect in me a load that I almost always have to release in the bathroom. As I clean my box, these thoughts knock away at me from the deepest rooms of my soul and my only defense is to continue cleaning until I can hear no more. I scrub, wipe, mop, sweep and dry until there is no more dust, dirt, grease mold, bacteria, stains, odors and lingering cobwebs left that I can find. I work my heart into a frenzy in order to free myself from my mind.

It is only when my box is clean and tidy and filled with the luscious odors of gardenias and lavender that I can be still and content. I can then once again hear the stars falling from the sky and my box settling into the agitated earth and now that everything is in its right place, everything is as it should be. Even though outside my box chaos and entropy may be lords inside feels fine. I sit quietly, sometimes in the lotus posture, besides my space heater and feel and listen to the calming expansions and contractions of my own breath. I become drunk on my own breath and sit as calmly and effortlessly as a man without a worry in the world would. It is in this state that I will often times remain for hours or days, content with who and where I am (without a single spark of desire that wishes to be someone else or somewhere else) and proud of the box that I have made.

Unfortunately, one can only sit still for so long before things begin to fall apart. I get back up, dust off my numb and pulsating legs (which I usually have to drink green algae and magnesium to relieve) and notice that my box is no longer as clean as it once was. The cobwebs, dust, dirt, odors, stains, mold and bacteria that were once long gone have returned with vengeance. I immediately return to work. I clean on my hands and knees and can no longer understand the peace that once was mine. I scrub with an effort of determination that wipes away all my joy but still the thoughts that emphasize words like failure, sick, poor, worry and death are relentless and refuse to let my body and soul be. I struggle against the forces that want to take from me what I once had and I end up turning my box into a living hell. In my distress I open windows, light candles, play Mozart and Bach on my record player and force myself to breathe deeply and bring my attention to the gentle notes emanating sounds from violin strings- but my box is shaking with fear and only a few stiff drinks will settle the trembling earth beneath my feet.

Sometimes I have a tendency to drink one to many. I knock into walls and fall onto the floor. My laughter returns from the void and I want to dance. I smoke cigarettes and talk to myself about philosophy, art and politics as if I was engaging three others in stimulating conversation. My thoughts are still and my soul is once again filled with lightness and joy and free to swim around in the swimming pool of inebriation. For hours I will wonder around my box drunk and in love with the world inside my front door.  I look at everything that I own with adoration and gratitude and I celebrate the life that I am living with song and dance. I dwell in my pleasant memories like a lone sailor quietly drifting out to sea and I remember faces from my past with a heart the beats with fond nostalgia. Free from my fears and the burden of daily responsibilities I relish away my time in a drunken revelry like a man who is living his final day to its fullest. When my time is up I will pass out wherever I maybe and in the morning awake with nothing to show for my hours of glory and celebration other than a clouded memory of fun, nausea, aching temples and a lingering thorn of shame and longing somewhere in my gut.

No matter where I go or what I do, in my box I always end up right back where I began. Day turns into night and night again turns into day and I am continuously left alone to deal with who I am. No matter how many distractions I may preoccupy myself with during the course of a day I always come back to the life I am living. My box is stubborn and will not twist or alter its shape no matter how much I change things around. Everyday, like a loyal servant, I clean and open the windows so that light can come into my box and shine against the freshly cleaned walls and floors. but I am always faced with inevitable night that fills my box with darkness. Since I have confronted the irreversible fact that I am stuck in this box, I am learning to become comfortable with these cycles that I have no control over. Even though my box refuses to move, shift, tilt, sway or stretch I can accept the things that are beyond my control. Within my box I can embrace the moments when I am still and at peace as equally as the moments when I am filled with fear and worry and driven into drunkenness. The more I embrace all of my experiences the more I see all of these cycles not as dualities that oppose and work against each other, but rather as textures filled with layers of love, fear, passion and dispassion. This is the continuum that I prefer to think of as life. Within my box I will continue to accept my experience as apart of this continuum and fill my box with love, hate, joy, anger, worry, sadness, bliss, terror and anything else that contributes to my experience of life. I will clean, scrub, care for, and tolerate my box until the day that it is time for me to pack my bags and find another place to live.

The Sex Life Of A Computer And A Man.

me I have decided that I am having an unhealthy sexual relationship with my computer. As much as I want to deny this fact, I can not because it is truth. If I really contemplate the nature of this relationship I can tell that it has been going on for a really long time. Much longer than I would like to admit. Unlike most relationships, my sexual relationship has become more addictive as time has passed by. What once was a once a month or so sexual interaction, has become almost daily at this juncture in my life. The relationship is one sided, I do most of the work while the computer simply projects images of my sexual fantasies onto the screen. When I am finished having a sexual interaction with my computer I almost always feel a pound of guilt and shame, like I am doing something I should not be doing or should be doing with my wife rather than alone behind a locked door.

Tomorrow I have decided that the relationship will end. Today will be our final sexual interaction and then tomorrow I will block any sexual information or imagery from coming through my computer. I know that this is a rather sudden and harsh measure to take considering the duration of our sexual relationship, but I feel like this is something I must do. I will do it over lunch. I will take my computer with me to a very nice café and do it after I write a few emails and check my facebook account and blog. I found a sex blocking program on the internet that will take about five minutes to download onto my computer. As the program is downloading I will explain to my computer that I am a different kind of man now. I will tell it that I no longer want a life where I am pre-occupied with our sexual interactions. I want a life where I am in charge and focused upon my wife, work and personal growth. With all of my linguistic acumen I will try to get my computer to understand that the sex life we share is bringing me down and making me feel like a loser. It just is not healthy for a thirty eight year old male to be having such an obsessive sex life with his computer. I need real physical interaction rather than simulated sex and I only hope that my computer will be able to understand this conflict of interests.

I have a feeling that I already know how my computer is going to respond. It will malfunction for a while causing words to be typed in incorrect spaces and the screen to go out when I am in the middle of doing something important. In the past when my computer and I have been through similar situations it has always malfunctioned either to get my attention or to punish me for what I have done to it. It is annoying and I usually have to take my computer to a shop, spend lots of money to get it fixed- but I figure that if I can forever stop having sexual relations with my computer that it will be well worth the financial investment.

My therapist and I figured out that so much of my valuable time is taken up by having a sexual relationship with my computer. For a week I kept track of the time that I spent sexually engaged with my computer and the final results were shocking. I could spend this valuable time working on a novel, making a painting, sitting in meditation, walking in nature, making love to my wife- but instead I have been choosing sex with a computer. Even though I have tried this kind of break-up many times before with my computer, what will be different this time is that I realize how big a toll my sex life with a computer is taking on the rest of my life! The last time that I tried to break-up with my computer I was not armed with a therapist, self- awareness and a program to download onto my computer that will block anything sexual from coming through. This time, unlike times in the past, I am well prepared for the task at hand.

Deep down, I know that I have the talent needed to manifest my dreams. I just lack the work ethic. I am lazy and will come up with the most elaborate distractions to avoid doing the work that I need to do in order to manifest a dream or two. For a time longer that I care to admit I have been sexually using my computer as a device of distraction. Rather than sitting down at my computer and composing the novel that I desperately dream of beginning, I take off my clothes and sit naked in front of my computer instead. If you would of told me as a self obsessed teenager that I would still be doing this kind of stuff as an older man I would of taken boy scouts much more seriously and tried my hardest to make myself into an honest young man. But instead here I am some twenty or so years later still struggling with similar issues as I was when young. I do not suffer from the same degree of guilt and shame as I did when I was young (because I know that I am not a bad person) nor do I live in fear of hair growing out from the palm of my hands. Now I have a degree of extra confidence and I am able to express my needs without the fear of rejection. Even though ending this sexual relationship with my computer will be difficult, I have faith in my ability to end relationships that are no longer good for me. I have done this with many people before and I can’t see why now I should not be able to do this same thing with my computer.

My therapist tells me that ending the relationship will not be the hard part but staying away from sexual interactions with my computer over time and re-placing it with healthier interactions like emailing, facebook or blogging, will be the real challenge. I have already started a facebook account and I am now blogging more than I have in the past. I have been conditioned (a Pavlovian response) to get an erection every time that I sit down in front of my computer because I have had such a dominate sexual relationship with it in the past. In the future when this occurs, my therapists recommends that I take deep breaths, ignore my erection and over time I will not have sexual impulse-responses each and every time I sit in front of a computer screen. So starting tomorrow, my intention is set- no more sex with my computer. It is going to be a hard break-up, I know, but in the long run it will be best for both of us. My mother always told me that time will heal all wounds and strengthen the spirit and heart- for the first time in my life I am going to hope that my mom knew what she was talking about.

Transcendental Drinking

photoFor more time than I care to think back upon, I have been seeking enlightenment. I have looked for it in more places than you could imagine. I have engaged in various pathways to personal liberation such as silent meditation retreats, aura balancing workshops, weekly psychoanalysis consultations, mantra gatherings, daily morning meditation sessions and on and on. At one time I even sold everything that I owned and lived in a shack in the country for three years. I have hundreds of books piled in the corners of my small apartment that focus upon themes such as inner peace, mindfulness, destroying fear, living in balance, the power of the now and meditation. In every available spiritual crevice I have stuck my head, still after all these years- nothing has brought me closer to enlightenment than two beers and a shot of whiskey.

It was Ben Franklin who said that beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. If what Ben says is true than maybe he was on to something. It has been well documented that Ben Franklin read eastern philosophy and dabbled in the esoteric arts. Various historians say that Ben Franklin was interested in magic and others have written widely upon his interest in trying to transcend his reality through various spiritual modalities. One historical account that I was reading of Ben Franklin the other day, said that nothing was as effective as beer for Mr. Franklin to reach the desired state of enlightenment. This is why he is often referred to as the transcendental drinker.

Like Mr. Franklin, I consider myself to be a transcendental drinker. In all my many years of spiritual investigations, nothing has had the ability to center me like booze. Every day, through my various retinue of spiritual supplications, I strive to reach a state of being where I am free from anxiety, fear, worry and my chronic feelings of inadequacy. I do my daily mantras, breathing exercises, yoga postures and prayers- but still I am left with a lingering sense of the apprehension and negative emotions that I strive so hard to transcend. But when I drink (which is a daily practice of mine as well) within twenty minutes or after the second beer, my thoughts come to a halt, my fear is silenced and my normally guarded, anxious, angry and uptight personality is put away. Out will come a more outgoing me that has no problem talking freely with strangers. After a shot of whiskey to wash the final residue of my second beer away, I am fully grounded in the present moment without a worry in the world. The earth upon which I struggle on a daily basis is turned into a paradise and I am as close to being in the same state as any transcendent spiritual master I have ever read about. I become (for a few hours at least) what I would like to call- enlightened.