Friday, January 18, 2008

Catching Down

A few years ago, as the Norwalk virus stormed through my social circle, I realized something important.

Now granted, I came to this conclusion while I was still sick, after spending a whole night in my bathroom, so between the illness and lack of sleep I might have been borderline insane. But here's what I realized:

Throwing up due to illness is a strangely spiritual experience.


Spirituality is about freedom. You achieve it by looking outside yourself, even forgetting yourself. It is a long hard road of letting go, and realizing that no one is liberated who clings desperately.

And that's where vomit comes in. Because no one, absolutely no one, can sit hunched over a toilet bowl and think:

"Wow, I am really in control of MY LIFE."

That moment does away with some other statements, too. Like:

"Nothings gonna get in my way!"


"I don't have time for this, I have important things to do!"

When you throw up, those thoughts are completely drowned out by a much louder, more primal voice that says: "ACTUALLY, YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF ****. YOU ARE AS FRAIL AS ANY LIVING THING AND NO MATTER HOW BUSY YOU ARE, YOU'RE GOING TO BE SICK, RIGHT NOW, NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. YOU HAVE FIVE SECONDS."

So there you are. No more faith in your own little plans. No concern for your belongings, your status, or your dignity. Not worried about the future, not burdened with the past. Absolute presence, wholly focused on the present. An empty vessel.*

It's not a bad start.

*Ba dum, bum.

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