It is 10:19am on a Tuesday morning when this interview begins. I have already eaten breakfast and meditated. It will probably be no surprise to you that I am again sitting at my round kitchen table and am dressed in the clothes that I slept in. I am not sure why this is the place that all of these interviews are conducted. It seems that I am most open to interviewing myself in the mornings. As the day progresses, my head fills with all the things that I need to do so I am less inclined to stop what I am doing and sit down to be interviewed. Mornings are a convenient time for me. My mind is freshest in the morning. I feel that I am more willing to be honest and open in the mornings. By the afternoon, it seems as if my ego is in full swing and I am less willing to be open about my life. After one in the afternoon I notice that I get more defensive, judgmental and negative. I would like to add that I am working on this. In the mornings when I wake up I do a loving kindness meditation where I try and fill my body and mind with positive and loving vibrations. My meditation teacher tells me that if I do this consistently, every morning, positive and loving vibrations will be imprinted in me and I will no longer be such a jerk come mid afternoon.
Interviewer: Good morning Randall.
Randall: Good morning to you.
Interviewer: Good morning.
Randall: Good morning.
Interviewer: Wow, you seem rather up beat this morning.
Randall: Thank you. I do feel in good spirits.
Interviewer: And to what do you owe this emotional sea change?
Randall: What do you mean by emotional sea change?
Interviewer: Well a few days ago you were suffering from a low-grade depression and now you seem up beat and well, relatively happy.
Randall: Ah I see- you mean how is it that I have gone from Z to A?
Interviewer: Maybe not Z to A but from Z to R.
Randall: Ok whatever I don’t want to argue over the alphabet. I think I get what you are asking me. Yes for a few days I was stuck in a depressive state but fortunately I was able to think my way out of it. Along with the help of a few friends I realized some things about myself that I had not considered before.
Interviewer: Such as what?
Randall: Well for one my life is not nearly as bad as I often think it is. I occasionally sink it to these ruts where I compare myself to others and I even tend to envy them. But I realized that this is a very misguided thing to do. Who knows what these individuals deal with in their life and just because they have fame or financial success does not mean that they are any better off than I. I realized it is futile to compare myself to them. We are all human and we all have our own struggles to deal with and it is silly to think that their life is any better off than mine because they have more money.
Interviewer: So basically you realized that it was the way in which you were thinking about your life that made you depressed as opposed to the actual realities of your life?
Randall: Yeah the reality of my life is very good. I am in many ways a blessed man whose problems are manageable. Things are not out of control. I may not have a lot of money, I may have huge student loans that I need to pay back, my health may not be 100% but still I am doing well. You know what realization helped me most?
Randall: The realization that I never was the kind of person that had making money as a priority or goal. Most of my adult life I have shunned the idea of living for the buck. I dreaded living a life that was all about earning cash. To me this was how to get on the path towards a quiet life of desperation. Instead I wanted to live fully rather than work hard. I wanted (and still want) to spend my afternoons wandering around with no destination in mind. I wanted to be able to have the freedom to do what I wanted rather than have to do what a boss or society tells me to do. Chosing time and freedom over career and money has set me back financially- but what it has given me can not be compared or measured.
Interviewer: This is true my friend. I would not describe you as someone who has wasted their time.
Randall: NO that is the thing. I feel like I have spent my time wisely. I feel like I have lived a full life and done things that mean a lot to me. I do not feel like I live a quiet life of desperation.
Interviewer: So you realized that your life is very blessed, that you live a full life rather than comparing yourself to people who may have accomplished more in terms of financial and worldly success?
Randall: Yeah. I realized that deep down those things are indeed meaningless to me. Financial and worldly success really do not mean anything to me but like everyone else- I have been conditioned by the society in which I live and occasionally I fall into the trap. Fortunately this time, with the help of a few friends, I was able to pull myself out and get back on track. I also realized that for being someone who has lived more for the moment I am lucky to have the things that I do. I consider myself to be an artist, a writer and a wanderer who has not made very much money from these activities. I am lucky to have a beautiful wife, an amazing house, a car and a fridge filled with food. Most artists, writers and wanderers that I know have not been so fortunate. So really I have nothing at all to be down about. I know now that there are people in my life who love me for who I am and will support me in being who I am rather than punish me for not being who they want me to be.
Interviewer: You have people in your life who punish you for not being who they want you to be?
Randall: Oh yes. Most of my life was spent in this climate but I don’t want to talk about it. It is not important anymore. What is important is that I found a doorway out and I have come to a place where I feel supported for being who I am. This is an incredible feeling.
Interviewer: Yes must be very liberating.
Randall: It is. It has also taught me a lot about love. I have learned that love is supporting another individual to be who they are. When we are being critical, judgemental or unaccepting of another because they are not being who we want them to be, we are not loving them. In fact we are hurting them.
Interviewer: Yeah I would say that this is a good definition of love. It seems to me that in today’s world it is really difficult for people to love each other.
Randall: Yeah it is. Everyone is so hurt and angry inside that they are stuck in a continual cycle of projecting their hurt and anger onto others. This process is never-ending. I think that it only ends when the person who is hurt and angry works really hard to diminish the hurt and anger within themselves for the good of others in their life.
Interviewer: You mean the angry and hurt person changes who they are mainly so that they do not continue to hurt the ones that they love?
Randall: Yeah, I think this is correct. Of course they do it for themselves also because when we are liberated from our hurt and anger our lives can become so much fuller and richer. As long as we remain angry and hurt our lives are diminished because we are missing out on having the kind of relationships and experiences that a person who is not filled with anger and hurt can have.
Interviewer: How are you doing with all of this?
Randall: What do you mean?
Interviewer: Well you talk a lot about other people and what they can do. I am curious how you do with this.
Randall: Well to be honest, I have a lot of hurt and anger inside of me. Much of my life has been lived under this influence. I am someone who has to work hard to be loving. I literally need to be mindful of my thoughts and actions because my automatic response to others is one filled with judgement, criticalness and over all negativity. I need to really watch this and make a conscious effort to be loving and accepting instead of judgemental and critical. This is why I do a loving kindness meditation each morning and it is also why I really envy people who are able to be so loving and accepting towards others.
Interviewer: But is it true that they are able to be loving and accepting towards others because they are this way towards themselves?
Randall: Yeah, ultimately I think this is true and I am working on it. I have 41 one years of having a critical and judgemental voice in my head and I am working hard to exorcise it. To become loving and accepting towards myself- this is my goal as silly as that my sound.
Interviewer: Does not sound silly at all. I wish you well in your endeavors.
Randall: Thank you- I think it will be a life long journey.
Interviewer: Without a doubt it will.
Interviewer: Well this interview went rather well, don’t you think?thank you for meeting me for our interview today.
Randall: It did, yes. I rather enjoyed it.
Interviewer: See these interviews can be productive rather than just argumentative.
Interviewer: So what do you say next time we meet someplace different- such as the garden or the living room.
Randall: Sounds good. Why don’t we meet in the living room next time?
Interviewer: Ok. Sounds good. See you there.
Randall: Until then.