Tonight I cycled along the seafront. It was late and the air felt still, the sea was dense. There was a pressure in my head which made me speed up on the concrete and my mind feel like it was richocetting off the balustrade.
That's alcohol for you. Inhibitions left to the wind. Thought processes unsteady and darting, like a hundred shoals of tiny fish; full with fleeting feeling, reason empty.
I sped along, unaware of how fast or slow I was going, but at the same time, sure of myself. It was then that I saw them, emerging, ghostly from the recessed darkness of the beach; a man and a woman dressed entirely in white, their robes billowing out like they were two brides. As I sped along, a police car cruised further up the seafront to where more men and more women were dressed in white, emerging from the dark sea. It was a strange sight, stranger still for I remembered then that I'd seen them here before.
In the pub tonight, we spoke, as we always seem to do, of religion and spirituality, each of us, it felt, desperately trying to gather some truth in for ourselves, each of us missing some part of ourselves that we were trying to find, yet telling others that we had already found it.
I shirked at my own feelings on meditation and Buddha and God and finding inner peace. Almost ten years on, I have to ask the question, have I found it? Have I got those answers which seem so integral to positing oneself to others as a 'spiritual' person? No, the questions just get harder. The more I learn, the more and more I get out of my depth and then am forced to swim.
The inner peace I sought in the past, well, now it seems fanciful. Because peace to me used to mean the end of all this tiring, endless shit. But it doesn't. The endless tiring shit goes on and on, for as long as I go on and on, for as long as the world turns in its sleep.
So the question has become one of, do I want reality, or do I want comfort? I ask myself over and over this question, and I still can only answer: both. I want reality and I want truth, but I want that truth to be palatable, not painful. In the words of that great band, Of Montreal, I want my film to be beautiful, not realistic.
But nine times out of ten, reality whoops my ass, so to speak. I was told for years that the only way to happiness is to 'be here, now'. And I can talk like a jaded old thing, but the truth is, they are right; but the question remains, well, how much do I really want to?
I felt blessed by seeing those strangers in their white robes; glad they weren't in their houses tonight watching TV. Glad for the fact that they seemed so strange and unearthly in this all too often one-dimensional world, where spirit is absent too much of the time. And I'm glad I am cycling, using my legs, using my lungs. I want to cycle more, so that my legs ache and I am caught for breath, so that I am finally worn out with effort. Perhaps that is what they talk of when folk talk of peace; it is when you are finally done with trying, and the wind catches in your throat as you breathe it in.