At 54, one feels one ought to retire. Time for Vanaprastha. Time to get off the racket of the world. Time to switch off.
Why? I’ve worked enough. I’ve done a lot of things. Began writing at 5. I continue to write. Never could publish because publishing poetry does not count in this world. Plato was right. Somewhere I read that he said “If you meet a poet entering your city, garland him, feed him some good food, send him on his way. Be nice to him but don’t really bother about him.”
So too with my short stories.
People read my writing and say “Hey, man, get it published.” Should I rub shoulders with the cocktail circuit people who actually use their networks and connections and power to DECIDE what really SELLS? The thought of it sickens me. I’ve talked to people. But you gotta be cool and with it and belong to a certain class and lick the right boots in some subtle manner to really get published. I’ve seen this happening in a lot of other spheres too. The way networks are built follow the ancient feudal patterns of heirarchy, respect, the pecking order and at the end of it “He who pays the piper calls the tune”. I am yet to meet someone who might bother to enable publication of my poetry or short stories. Apparently, I am not “well-connected” enough.
Alright, so I was in journalism for 20 years writing on everything but especially art and culture for leading Indian English newspapers. I taught a lot of Mass Communication, Mass Media and Journalism too on the side. Then I left journalism (people said my writing was good) to teach in an art and design school. They said I was a great teacher. Twelve years of teaching and then I move again. This time I am in the biggest design firm in India. Trying to figure out my role in this place.
What am I to do with my varied life, the knowledge that explodes inside my head, the despair over the route the world is taking. Somewhere in between (now I know this is really politically incorrect these days) I had an authentic encounter with the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. I began working for Him. Moved through a variety of Christian groups including a Norway-based cult that believes it is possible for human beings to become sinless. Interesting times. Some 20 years of “ministry” too and you see what is happening in Christendom. Another reason to despair. The same human difficulties are there everywhere. I haven’t lost my faith or His Presence but things fox me nowadays.
Is there no solution to the human condition except work work and more work? In a world where the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. The Earth is dying, I feel it in my bones. Why seek to sustain what is dying? The birth-work-earn-procreate-death wheel has been turning a long time and is now technology powered. They say the Noosphere is being created. A world mind. I am not sure what kind of mind this will be. More tyrannical than what exists in all its subtlety? When I was young I sensed the disatisfaction with the way the globe was turning. Now young people are once again out there to Occupy Wall Street. The wheel keeps spinning.
There is only one question left for me to resolve. How to escape the wheel?
The answers are spiritual. The earth needs spiritual people. How does one take up this work?
Tired of working to renew the world’s resources and solve problems, one must turn inwards and Godwards. Find the secret Jesus had. Fulfill it in oneself.
He never worked to get a paycheck. He had wisdom. Embodiment of certain values that have disappeared almost entirely.
Well, they say it is a New Age. I may yet see what the New Age brings. But perhaps I would prefer to turn elsewhere.
That’s the edge.
The turning away.
To discover afresh the values Christ proposed and embody them.
It is a razor’s edge and politically incorrect because one knows one cannot live by Bible-belt logic or Armageddon scenarios.
It is within and if it multiplies within, perhaps something will go out of me to heal people and the world.