I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the pool of ideas. Largely because I seem bereft of them at the moment, lumbering about in a great fog as I am.
That bothersome fog.
That fog which seems to endlessly shroud my brain, sealing off my ability to think clearly, to hold a sustained thought, to employ the right words. What the cause is exactly of this impenetrable, incessant fog eludes me. For some time now, I’ve been convincing myself it’s the effect of children, sleep deprivation et al, but the truth is, I’ve been plagued by my inability to tap into the pool of ideas since high school. I used to envisage it as a great golden lake, ideas floating around like water sprites, but between me and this wondrous lake was a sheer curtain. I could see the potential greatness, just there, almost within reach, but there was always something preventing me from busting through and immersing myself in its great golden splendour. My own mediocrity? A vitamin B deficiency? Who knows.
Sadly, as middle age approaches, I seem no closer to that wondrous golden pond. Only these days, it’s not a golden pond and a sheer curtain I imagine, but rather a layer of subcutaneous fat. And instead of staring across, everything seems to be on a vertical plane; I am above, trying to burrow downward—like a tick forcing its way into the bloodstream of its host human. Sometimes I also imagine it as an egg surrounded by sperm. I’m the desperate single sperm, charging past his 299,998,000 or so fallen comrades, headbutting his way through the zona pellucida in the hope of reaching the fertilised nirvana beyond. Sometimes it’s just me travelling through a series of human innards, like that film Inner Space.
Mainly I just see fat though. There’s a finality to it. It’s resistant. You can’t cut through, you can’t bite through. When you encounter its foul grisliness you spit out, revolted. But there’s a translucence to it, so I can see great thinkers, writers, doers and achievers bouncing about in the great soft play beyond with all those joyous red blood cells, while I remain atrophied in the lardy barrier.
What comprises this fatty barrier then? In short, the narcissism, the petty fears, self-doubt and everything of that ilk. If one could only shed all that rubbish, then there’d be no barriers between you and pure thought, pure creativity. At least that’s how it goes in my head.
If only all those psychic barriers could be removed, all those layers of fat sliced away. Would one emerge some sort of Dark Phoenix type character, capable of de-molecularising all before her, such is the power of her thought? Unlikely, although that does seem to be an ongoing theme for people, hence the onerous scripts for films such as Lucy and Limitless. I’m not seeking that level of personal omnipotence however; what I really want is to be able to articulate the thoughts that are in fact already there, but just slightly beyond me. When I talk to someone for example, I can see the concept I’m trying to convey in my mind’s eye, but instead of reaching out, grasping and transforming it into coherent speech, the idea keeps moving about in my head, as if it were a drop of oil in a body of water: every time my fingers try to pinch it, it slips through them. But then, I guess that’s the big skill. Everyone has thoughts; not everyone can put them into elegant words.
As I was walking home the other day, the bitter cold beating at my temples, I began to pine. If only I could shake off all this ragged self-obsession, the paranoia and everything else, stop the distracting spiralling and concentrate on ideas in and of themselves, imagine what could be achieved. And then it dawned on me: what if rather than being hindered by the fat, I am the fat? After all, perhaps there’s a reason I can’t access all those ‘great’ ideas—I’m not meant to, because I’m just the fat. Part of the enormous pool of mediocrity from which the brilliant can distinguish themselves.
There was a period of my life when I remember being clearer headed. It was in my final year at school and having watched The Craft one too many times, I decided to try my hand at Wicca. Purchasing a book rather audaciously titled Summoning Spirits (one of those rare points in my life where my mystical proclivities overran my inherent cynicism), I threw myself into the exercises with the enthusiasm of a young acolyte. Despite some of my initial reservations (i.e. claims of levitation and unleashing destructive gnome-like evil doers), I found the exercises helpful, which were largely breathing and concentration based meditation. If nothing else, it generated a level of mental discipline which aided me significantly during my exams.
Perhaps it’s time to roll out the meditation mat again. Perhaps that will be the goal of 2015: learn to levitate… It beats hanging about in fat.