This Painful Bliss

Do something long enough and eventually you’ll have a moment. The moment. That little slip of time when everything is perfection. Buddhists monks fasted and meditated and mistook this moment for enlightenment. But you can get the same thing on a fixie if you stick at it long enough.

There is no enlightenment. There is no knowledge. There is no personal growth. You grow up and you grow old and you grow dead. Everything you ever thought and did goes with you. That includes your revelations. Just remember, people took drugs and had the same revelations anyone else had sitting cross-legged with incense burning. Joan of Ark had revelations direct from angels and went mad killing Englishmen. That’s real cool if you’re French but kinda sucks if you’re a pom. Which just shows, one woman’s revelations is another man’s murder.

You know how people say, you can’t take money with you? As though any of us ever wanted to. We just want to stash it and splash it. Well same is true of wisdom. Doesn’t matter how smart, how much better and more adjusted to life you are. How powerful your insights. You can’t take that with you. Even liking those enigmatically soulful posts on Facebook can’t help you take all that wisdom into the next life.

All you have is those moments of transcendence. You can’t control them, you can’t summon them, when they come to you you can’t hold onto them.

You probably know someone who has a story. Maybe they were out surfing and a pod of dolphins appeared and surfed with them. How did that happen to them? I went surfing once and it didn’t happen to me. Bloody ingrate dolphin. Perform for me! Well the guy with that great story went surfing every day, got up at 4am in summer, stripped off a wetsuit in the middle of winter, surfed perfect waves, slop, busy breaks and breaks with no-one but his mates. Then one day the dolphins appeared. Fucking. Perfect. (Or he was just lucky and it happened day one of his holiday in Byron Bay. In which case, go fuck yourself.)

(A pod of Dolphins.)

See the thing is, you have to be there for it to happen. And the more you’re there the more likely it is to happen. Within your lifetime.

You also have to develop the necessary skills and fitness for it to happen. You can’t surf with pods of dolphins if you can’t surf. But it’s more than that. You can’t do anything well enough to experience a tiny moment of perfection if you don’t do it well enough. Fuck the dolphins okay? They were a bad example. You don’t need dolphins. It doesn’t come from dolphins. It comes from within (and a little without). And it’ll come to you on a bike if you ride long enough.

You don’t have to be perfect to experience the perfect moment. It’s just a synchronous moment when all the elements come together and suddenly you know that this is the perfect thing to be doing right now at this very perfect moment. You don’t have to be perfect but you do have to be good enough for the elements to come together. When everything you do requires no thought and your efforts become effortless, that’s when a moment might just visit you. If you’re lucky.

And it’s just a moment okay? God didn’t get involved. He’s busy. He’s not watching you ride through city streets singing Passenger to yourself, ready to sprinkle some magic dust on your head to summon up a moment for you. Don’t make it more than it is. It’s just a moment. It’s a perfect moment but still just a moment.

How many bad waves you have to surf to get that one great ride? One day you’re sitting out the back fifty metres beyond everyone else because you know every half hour a set breaks out there. You’re losing faith though and just about to paddle back in when it comes. When it comes it’s so great and you ride so far you have to pass through customs and excises on your way back. But you don’t have your passport  so they send you to Nauru where you spend three years being processed. Then they send you to Cambodia where you set up with a local governor running drugs and guns to make a living out of all that poverty. You save up enough money and make your way back into Australia the same way most illegal aliens do (that is, as a backpacker) and you use your new found resources to overthrow our ruthless and corrupt government, set up the Republic of Australia and serve three years as its first president. How may waves you surf before you get that one?

(Narau detention centre where you lived three years.)

Imagine you’re on your bike singing Passenger to yourself and the transcendence happens. That moment can’t happen if you’re huffing and puffing and you’re pissed off and you’re sure any moment one of those cars is going to dispatch you back to where you come from. (Probably will too. If you don’t belong out there then don’t do it.) That moment of perfection, you’re at the centre of it. It’ll only come to you when you’re good enough for it. And even then…well it’ll come if you do it long enough, that’s all we can say.

Those Buddhist fucks got one thing right. Enlightenment comes from suffering. You can never have that moment without going through the necessary steps of suffering. Because when the moment comes looking for you, if you’re wrapped up in a warm bed it’ll move on and find someone else. And you’ll miss out on this painful bliss.

One Comment

  1. MICK

    Great post matey….really enjoy your blog

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