I am awake and listening

It began last night, in talking with my friend Steve, in the cold air after an evening of conversation and pastries, a deep despair and depression. I don’t know when it started or why, and I suspect the details of it aren’t really important, anyhow. But, the feeling was very strong and very real and I just couldn’t escape it. I felt lost, small and worthless; everything I valued about myself seemed unimportant.

Today, I struggled to shake this feeling. I prepared the girls’ lunch and brought them to school as I normally would, but I just couldn’t shrug it off. It grew inside of me, until I finally raged against my frustration and spoke to several people about it. One of them, Torben, directed me to the text of Listen, Humanity (PDF) by Meher Baba. I was clearly gripped by existential angst and I described this to my therapist today as a feeling of “being adrift, without goals.” As I read through the text, this jumped out and grabbed a hold of me:

“As long as you do not wake up from a dream, you are dream-bound to feel it to be stark reality. A dream becomes a dream only when you wake up; only then do you tell others that the life you lived in the dream was just a dream. Good or bad, happy or unhappy, in reality the dream is then recognized as having been absolutely nothing.” (p. 36)

I recognize the damaging nature of my overwhelming misanthropy, but I feel powerless to escape it. I have been ignorant to the love freely given to me, surrounding me in the form of good friends and good fortune, because I cannot see why I should ever deserve such love, as worthless as I am. But, I am discovering that that is not the nature of love–it is not earned, or deserved, or otherwise conceived through recognition.

“Love is meant to be experienced and not disclosed. What is displayed is not love. Love is a secret which is meant to remain a secret save for the one who receives it and keeps it.” (p. 19)

I have nothing left to say.


  1. very thoughtful post. recommend that you read miguel de unamuno the spanish existentialist. one of his aphorisms which i often think of is: love must be spoken for it to be love.

  2. Javier: thanks for stopping by and commenting, and thank you so much for the pointer to Miguel de Unamuno. Just based on these quotes attributed to him, I definitely need to check out his writing. I wonder if my Spanish is sufficient to read his untranslated works.

  3. unamuno wrote in a style which is austere and precise. even in his poetry the words that he chose were explicit and their meaning was not affected by the “overtones” of other words in close proximity. he never put words together in a petri dish so that the meaning would only reveal itself referentially. his writing is linear, like a gregorian chant. you should attempt to read him in spanish. if you have a larousse spanish/english dictionary at your side i think that you will hear his melody.

  4. hang in there :/

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