I have a chronically ill relative in my care, one whose health is unstable and gradually deteriorating. I love this person very much, but their needs, both physical and psychological, are challenging, time-consuming and sporadically depressing. I try to balance this with sources of hope in my life: my association with inspired and inspirational people, my quest for new ideas and modes of being, my exercise of compassion toward my relative and others, but especially in my aspirations and personal life goals. Aspiration is a form of desire, of working one's will in the "universe," and conflicts to an extent with both my understanding and practice of Buddhism, and with my basic realization that all actions are ultimately futile, that the answer to T.S. Eliot's question from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," 'dare I disturb the universe?' is moot - because it ponders an impossibility, that humans are grains of sand on an infinite beach (insignificant specks), and any pretensions to the contrary are silly unaware hubris. These 'aspirations' (from the Latin word for 'to hope') involve avocational associates I've cultivated over the last several years, especially those involving the realization of my life partner's ever-expanding vision. This is a really interesting and eclectic group, and I derive a great deal of satisfaction and knowledge from this association, especially in assisting them with a wide variety of projects and events. While I am committed both to the long-term care of my relative and to assisting associates in achieving their dreams, neither of these commitments directly corresponds to my own aspirations in life, that which I wish to accomplish before my eventual deterioration and demise. I spent many years "asleep" in a sort of self-imposed internal exile, sedated by alcohol, distracted by fantasies, in a self-soothing solipsism devoid of greater intent and larger awareness. In getting sober, 'waking up' and engaging with others in action, I temporarily escape the depression and hopelessness of both my relation's condition and the universal condition of all that exists. My personal aspirations, that which I hope to achieve in life, involve ideas and creating a new form of human culture (now THAT is hubris!). I think all of this is silly. Why is it not possible simply to exist? To be in the here and now, fully aware, with no other purpose or intent than to simply breathe and experience?
Tags: aspirations, commitments, obligations
Current Location: Georgetown, Texas