The voice berates me. He is exceptionally belligerent today. He hurls any insults that he thinks will stick. But I know his game. I have decided to call him Aries, but I get the feeling that he goes by some other name which I will learn in the future. Aries has some part to play in my life, but I\’m not sure what yet. I offer him my pen and paper, and he begins to write insults in all capital letters—EAT MY SHIT YOU COWARD…YOU ARE TOO WEAK TO CARRY THE SIMPLE BURDEN OF YOUR OWN LIFE… That\’s enough, I say. You\’re a disembodied voice with nothing to contribute.
I\’m sitting at my desk. It\’s early in the afternoon. My room is hot. I\’m trying to read Sophist by Plato. I cannot concentrate. The voice in my head is too loud.
But he refuses to leave. So, I decide that I will dismiss him through brute focus. I sit down on the floor in my room. I sit in a quasi-lotus position and stare at a point on the carpet. My jeans are heavy and do not stretch; they restrict my movement. There is a river of cars outside. A truck at the grocery store around the corner is noisily deloading supplies.
Good, I think to myself. There is no such thing as distraction—not in this moment.
I continue to stare at the the same point in my carpet. There is nothing special about this particular point, but my eyes fall there naturally. I can feel my heart pulsing through my entire body. I can feel my nerve endings tingling through my arms and legs. I can see my thoughts rising; I watch them arrive and pass. I sense the presence of the disembodied voice. The voice and its unique texture seems to melt into one thing—me. My vision is nearly blacked out despite the fact that my eyes are open. Color momentarily returns when I blink.
I stand up. Twelve minutes have passed.
I do not believe in mindfulness, but what I am doing here works for me. Pragmatism requires no faith or belief—only theory and application.
I return to reading Plato. I loudly say \”Fuck you,\” and give a sincere belly laugh when I finally understand his point that I have been mulling over for half an hour; Plato is often as profound as he is tedious.
An hour passes. A different ghost whispers, \”You\’re a diamond in the rough.\”
I thank the ghost, but I find the complement hard to accept. I am worried that the ghost is merely a fragment of myself congratulating myself with onanistic intent. But I do my best to cherish the kind words the ghost brought me. I wish him well, and I ask him if there is anything I can do for him.
The ghost says, \”Think of the most beautiful rose.\”
So, I think of a rose—blood-red petals, lush and thick leaves that are saturated with green, thorns that are unforgivingly sharp, and as a surprise, the rose smells of bergamont. I give the ghost the rose as a gift, which seems harmless;—I can always think up another.