I am trying to start a project – studying for a course, the exam for which is scheduled a week away. Every time I put my hand to paper, my mind feels blocked. Everything seems easier than studying for the exam.
I ask myself why? And I realize there are so many things blocking me. The exam is interesting, but I feel burnt out. Yet, when I ask myself what I need, watching a movie, eating (again and again), going for a walk to ‘clear my head’, sleeping…. all of these seem more interesting than just putting my pen to paper, and opening my study material.
Why is this? It is because I am trying to jump from a state of zero to one, from doing nothing to diving into exam prep. It is simply too steep a fall. I hate the feeling of forcing myself to do anything. So, I decide, I shall not force myself to do anything. It is okay if I fail, it is okay if I don’t take the exam, it is okay if I forfeit the fees.
Now, there still exists a block. Why should I do anything at all? Why should I eat? Do I really enjoy eating or sleeping all day? Not really, after a while, the fun wears off. It is just…easier…to sink into food or sleep. Is it thus easier to sink into studying? No, studying is not something that I can ‘sink’ into – it seems to be a ‘step up’, it feels like I am building something, it feels like a burden. I do not want to do anything that is not natural, that is not aligned to emotions that naturally arise within me.
Why is studying or starting anything new a step up? Is it the first time I am doing this? I have already done some reading earlier. Yet, this is a new iteration of reading and it is new for me, from sleeping to waking up to studying.
The problem is that it feels steep, like a cliff. I need a gradual slope. But again, I don’t want to put any effort into climbing, even a slope. So, I decide, if I don’t want to put in any effort, I won’t. No success is worth effort. Effort is suffering. Hard work is suffering.
So, I go deeper. Where does work start from? To read a page, I have to read a paragraph. To read a paragraph, I have to read a word. To read a word, I have to choose a chapter. Choosing is hard – it is irritating, and hence requires effort. Let me not choose.
I will start with any word then. But to start with a word, I have to open the book. That is effort.
Let us deep dive further – opening a book is in the mind a task. Every task has steps- thinking of the book, then opening it.
Thinking arose from a set of thoughts, which arose from a single thought, which arose from an emotion. Just like a cell that forms an egg, then a zygote and then a foetus, every action has come from smaller and smaller pieces.
If I start small… really, really, small, there is no effort. It is no longer building, no longer a step up. I am merely allowing that very, very small piece to attract more pieces becoming bigger and bigger like a snowball.
I realize that I can break things down further and further, but even nothingness can be broken down into more nothingness. Molecules comprise atoms which comprise electrons which comprise things we don’t know about, but they comprise something. Infinity is infinitely divisible.
So, let me start with my deepest nothing.
Then I will allow it to just attract more thoughts.
And then it will attract my hand.
Which will attract a pen.
Which will attract the book.
Which will attract a word.
I look up the meaning of the word, which leads me to another chapter.
I read the next word naturally, which leads me to a sentence, which I cross-reference to another.
I then read portions of chapters in random order – organized reading is my enemy, so throw out organization and structure – let the nothingness inside me guide me in its gentle way. No more force, no more straining. No more outside-in forcing things, let things grow from the smallest nothingness inside me, inside-out, gently, slowly, without effort.
Every thought attaches itself to more thoughts and forms one layer.
Every layer attracts more layers, slowly and gently. But you realize it is happening exponentially now. Things are no longer linear, but yes, they are still slow. The world will be there before the exam and long after the exam. The world is infinite, and so am I. let my infinite nothingness create a ‘something’ out of itself. I am no longer the creator of my education, ‘nothingness’ is.
Let me surrender control of my education and mind to the infinite wisdom within me.
Let the infinite wisdom inside me guide my hand, my pen, my book, my memory. Let it educate me, for I can never educate my mind, only the universe can.
I begin, at the lowest of the lowest nothingness. But then, I realize, I can never ‘begin’ in a sense, for to begin, there has to be initially nothing (zero). But the universe doesn’t actually have a zero state. Even its zero state has a further zero state within it.
So, I realize, I can never actually begin studying, I have already started. Long, long ago. My actions have been merely too small for my Self (ego/ Atman/ Jesus nature) to notice.
I realize that I can only ever continue doing things, for there is nothing called start or finish. There is only continuing. There is only attraction and separation- I may do something, and then allow it to gently break away and form a new shape. My body may break away and form carbon under the earth tomorrow. My education may leave me and go to someone else. My memory is merely attraction of nothingness into something larger, and forgetting is merely separation of nothingness into more nothingness.
Let it come together. I no longer try to force my mind. I merely watch as it accomplishes what it wants to. I merely watch as my mind tries to learn, I watch to see if it succeeds or fails. I watch to see if it forgets what it has learnt and watch to see if it wants to refresh itself.
I continue to stop writing this article, for I had begun to stop many sentences ago. I continue to study for my exam, for I had already started many years ago.
…continued from before, and to be continued in the same or another form… Peace