Acid Heroes

April 12, 2010

Ace at 46

Filed under: Random Archives — Ace Backwords @ 2:17 am
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Originally published December 10, 2002

When I assess my life at age 46, I have this persistent sense that I’ve come up short. I sort of look at my life as a very, very interesting try, but that I’ve come up short. On all the barometers that I rate my life — women, sex, career, social life, happiness, love, pride, etc. — I’ve somehow ended up short of the mark that I aspired towards.

Probably the most gnawing of my failures is my lack of love; lack of self-love most of all. Because there’s a level of self-loathing that I’ve never quite been able to overcome. All too often I look in the mirror and simply don’t like what I see. It goes beyond mere vanity (and there’s certainly plenty of that). It’s more a sense of embarrassment.

One of my great Guru’s many great lines was: “Without love its all useless.” And doesn’t that say it all? Without love, you can amass any number of “successes” but they add up to little more than a series of zeros without love. With love, it’s the equivalent of putting a one in front of all the zeroes you’ve amassed. Suddenly they all add up to something impressive.

Even more beguiling: My conception of this world is that the planet Earth, and everything on it, is made up of pure, solid gold. Only it’s all covered with the thinnest layers of shit. Mostly, we seem to get caught up in the surface shit: the pain, the suffering, the heartache, the loneliness, the wars, the strife, the sicknesses, etc. It may just be an inch-deep layer of surface shit, but it’s certainly compelling, and extremely difficult (for me at least) to avoid being entangled and immersed in it. I think this is why most of the great Spiritual Masters have recommended meditation. For you have to look within to go beyond the surface shit to get to the inner gold.

Over the last decade I’ve had two friends commit suicide. One jumped in front of a train, and the other hung himself on his fire escape. Now I’ve had hundreds of friends over the years, so its not like a large percentage of people around me are dropping like flies — and this may have just been the law of averages catching up on me — but the two suicides had a deep effect on me. For both guys were bright and talented and really good guys. So it left this residual affect of sourness along with the sadness. This sense that maybe life just isn’t any damn good. It certainly wasn’t for them. They added up the worth of their lives and felt they had come up way, way too short of the mark.

Certainly, life is a spiritual battle for many of us. And we’ve all known people who’ve won and lost that battle. What so many of us seem to be lacking is an intrinsic sense of our worth. I mean, there’s relative worth. I’m relatively tall at 6-foot in comparison to others who are shorter than me. I’m relatively good-looking or bad-looking by comparison to these others. I’m relatively rich and successful by comparison to people who are poorer and less successful than me. And on that level we mostly rate the merit of our lives. But it’s just so much jerking off really. It’s like in sports where one team is considered the Champion and the other 27 teams are considered losers. Show Biz is filled with people with this driving need to prove their comparative worth; that crappy kind of “success” where you can only feel worthy by putting yourself above other people that must remain below you (or else your whole act crumbles).

But you wonder what the true worth is of sheer human existence. Regardless of our relative accomplishments or shortcomings. What is the true value of life? Of our lives?  As I said, my hunch is that we’re all pure gold. Though the beguiling thing is how difficult it is to see it.

If knowledge hangs around your neck like pearls, instead of chains, you are a lucky man…
Alan Price

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