The Author On The Mount

Authors live on the mountains. They see everything. I know this because I push the rock up the mountain every day and I see it; I see the view.

Perspective.

But it does not last and I cannot take it with me. As the rock rolls downhill I have no choice but to descend into the vanity and confusion of everyday life. Tomorrow, I will do this again. I have to because I saw.

At the top of the mountain, as I behold the setting Sun, it is unclear to me if I am the author or if I am experiencing the author- the finisher of my faith. This is hidden to me and it eats away at my soul. Nevertheless, what I see inks me.

I will forget the image even as I become the image.

In becoming do I repent? Do I become the view from above where I see myself through the eyes of the author? Is this the ultimate judge? The true ideal?

I think we have tried for centuries to climb up the highest mountains in the world because we know this. Or maybe we feel it. We experience the confirmation of the author in us/or the author when we experience the bigger picture. It elevates us and changes us. It is just in its judgement.

I think it’s powerful that after a day of hard work, Jesus went up the mountain to pray/talk to God all night; that he was crucified on a hill; and that he ascended from the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Transfiguration, where Jesus’s “face changed and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning” and where He was visited by Moses and Elijah who talked to him, is perhaps the most powerful image for me (Luke 9). If we go to the Old Testament, there are so many instances where mountains become places where God meets man. The Ten Commandments being given to Moses atop a mountain is just one of many examples. For me, the fact that mountains appear the way they do in the Bible is one more reason to believe that the view from the top stands for so many things that have the power to change us.

I chose to paint the pencil in the colour of skin because I think that’s what happens when you experience life from a higher vantage point, be it through art, prayer, or love- you are rewritten. You become the image you see. You experience authorship; what it feels like to know more, to see more. It is a powerful ideal and it judges you and motivates you to align yourself to something that is evidently powerful and timeless. I also like how the edges of hills and mountains create Vs. You could reduce ‘view’ to ‘VU’. That’s just me drawing an interesting connection. What is important is that you get the idea behind all of this.

This piece is part of a series of artwork I am creating where I take images of things that move me and I superimpose over them what I consider to be the meaning that is relevant to me personally and to all of us universally. Meaning before the object. That’s the idea.

Perspective

I made this animated gif today cause I felt like it was a great illustration of how I try really hard to have the right perspective on things and it just doesn’t stay the way I want it to. Growing up Christian, I was always asked to not focus on things below (worldly things) and on things above (God, eternity, etc.). Now, as I go through a crisis of faith, I find that really hard to do. I really don’t have any idea what I’m supposed to look at. Well, I’ve got a vague idea of what’s beautiful and true. However, aligning your perspective to something sounds like a big deal and I don’t know if what I know right now is of substance or worth committing to.

Question: What do you align your perspective to?

The Tunnel at the End of the Light

My entire life has been an exercise in running towards the tunnel at the end of the light, an obsession with running away from anything that has the potential to create true human connection. Darkness embodies an emptiness for me that does not need to be filled. The void doesn’t threaten or judge; it allows me to be myself. In the acceptance of loneliness, I have the opportunity to be a part of this world at the low price of being an actor. It is in service of this necessary role that I have perfected the art of walking into a room and becoming whoever I need to be to protect myself. I have concluded that at the heart of this horrid practice is the belief that no one can ever truly understand me.

– from an entry in March 2021


I wrote this a few months ago when I was in a very dark place. Although the epiphanies that I had during this time were capable of leaving a mark on my mind, I recall them as having risen out of a mental state that was prone to self-hate. I look back on this period in my life as one of transformation. This is very odd as it happened only a few months ago. Usually, it takes a person years to look back on a period in his/her life and say that it had a transformative effect on them. Maybe, the pandemic and the small room I spent the last 12 months in probably has something to do with this unusual maturation of thought.

Before we start, I must say that I was hesitant to share the above passage, which has been taken from a longer piece I wrote; not because it is a personal piece but because I cringe at how my mind was reduced to a sponge that absorbed everything and anything to the point where I was falling down a bottomless pit of hopelessness and anxiety. I cringe not because I am ashamed but because I had no understanding of how fragile my mind really was.

When Keats said, “the only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s mind about nothing, to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts”, I should have given him a piece of my mind. LOL. Just kidding. Of course, we are not talking about Negative Capability here although I do believe that I have developed a similar capacity over the past year and it possibly had something to do with what I will be talking about in this post.

The past twelve months of lockdown has been like pushing a giant rock up a mountain, as in the Sisyphus myth. A few months ago, I finally reached the top. When the blissful distraction of hard work and focus had left me and the pain of self-hate threatened to consume me, my eyes searched for a glimpse of the promised land but I was disappointed. What I saw instead was the infinite regress of my own insecurity. I feared death, loneliness, the loss of potential and the uncertain future. The rock had by then rolled down leaving me with the crippling knowledge that pushing it up again was probably not going to change what I had just seen. In a moment like no other in my blip of a past, I felt panic. In that moment, I wondered what Moses felt atop Pisgah as his eyes saw the Promised land and he heard the certainty of death in the valley.

The challenges of being a college student in the middle of a pandemic, my isolation from the religious community, and my frequent and reckless introspection had all led me to a place where I found myself drifting away from God, my family, and the rest of the world. I didn’t know what to believe. The pain of having everything you believed in shaken and taken out from under you is extremely confusing and painful. I felt more vulnerable than I ever did in my entire life.

But with time, music, the love of my family and a few friends (I’ve learnt I don’t have many), and the indescribable power of the God I truly want to believe in, I found myself slowly making it out of the darkness. I had finally realized that while darkness covers my imperfections, it cannot protect me from myself. I need people, I need God. I don’t know what that means yet but I have the courage to search. This, I know.

I thought twice about posting this because I did not want to add to the darkness in the world. The passage and the artwork are both very disturbing. However, I am sharing it because I have resurfaced, found land, and started on a journey that I believe will be a fruitful and adventurous one. If you’re still reading this, I thank you for caring. I would really appreciate your company in the comments section. Be well.

Of Faith and Fear: Why the Mumbo is Jumbo

This post is about explaining my previous post ‘Of Faith and Fear'( Of Faith and Fear (wordpress.com) ). It is from a series called ‘Mumbo is Jumbo’ in which I use absurd images to communicate well-formed ideas. Many of my friends wanted to know what ‘Of Faith and Fear’ was really about. I was hesitant to do this as the post is about something that I’m not comfortable talking about openly. However, the piece means a lot to me personally and I think if you guys knew what led me to writing it, it would make the piece a very interesting read for you. So, let me share.

I’ve never liked horror movies. The reasons why I don’t is not germane to the topic of this post. Let’s just say for the satisfaction of half the people in my life that I’m a wimp. Anyway, once in a while I find myself in a position where I have to sit down and watch a horror movie regardless of my general distaste for the genre. On these occasions, I try my best to get through unscathed. One of my favorite techniques is to imagine the movie set. I like to imagine the director giving instructions to the actors, people running around with lightboxes, and interns giggling in the background. It helps me to break through the illusion and remind myself that the moving pictures are man-made, the result of a series of very deliberate choices. When I do this, the horror movie, by virtue of it having a particular lighting or sequence of camera angles, becomes a “portkey”(HP reference) back to reality.

Let us now take a detour into something that happened a few weeks ago when I had the most random of thoughts. I asked myself why in all the churches I’ve visited, Mother Mary is always dressed in blue. So I Googled it. Apparently, the Bible is full of references to the colour. It stood for heaven, riches, royalty, purity, etc. However, from my very basic research, I found that Virgin Mary is always dressed in blue because the colour signifies purity. In fact, during Byzantine times, blue was widely used to signify this quality.

Alright, let’s get back to scary movies.

For all my life, I’ve been a devout Christian. Still am, I’d like to think. But in the past few years, I’ve found myself questioning my beliefs. I’ve gotten to a place where I believe that all of it is true one day and find it absolutely hard to believe the next. It’s a scary place to be when you’ve lived all your life believing in something completely. Considering the idea of eternal incineration is scary enough. But what about my life here? I want to live in the truth. It’s important to me. I’m caught between extremes and it’s the most depressing and horrifying thing I’ve ever faced in my life. Is it all man-made? Or is it the absolute truth? At the moment, it all depends on what day it is.

So, when I tell you that churches can be scary spaces for me, I hope it makes sense. They’re powerful, larger-than-life spaces that make me feel part of something beyond my insignificant existence. Being in that space on a day that I don’t believe is the scariest thing in the world. It’s like being ripped apart. So, in desperation, I try to look for the cameramen and the directors; I try to find ways of imagining it all as man-made. Anything from facetious expressions to illogical claims help me to breathe. This is how I treat three hours on a routine Sunday as a horror movie.

This is why when I read about why Mother Mary is always in blue, an image popped into my head. I’ve tried my best to paint it.

What I saw was a group of people carrying a giant statue into a church. Wet paint was dripping off it. It made no sense whatsoever why anybody would carry a statue still wet with paint into a church. But I let it play on. This was followed by an image of me in a church seeing a blotch of paint on the red carpet and holding on to it as a mark of how man-made the larger-than-life space of the church I was in was; a reminder that the tinted glass, the high ceilings, and big curtains were all the result of deliberate choices of artists.

The image also reminded me of how there is blue inside the church and outside the church. The sky is also blue. It proclaims the handiwork of God. But we meet God in closed spaces, disconnected from the infinite blue above us. I often find the blue inside the church to be an entirely different shade from the blue outside. There seems to be a disconnect between the world inside the church on a Sunday and the world outside on the other six days of the week. Most people I know have different ways of living inside and outside the church. I’m not a pantheist but I was reminded of Spinoza’s philosophy that exhorted people to return to the blueprint of nature. Why is it that the purity of nature and the scriptures always have to be adulterated by our selfish desires and agendas? It’s always been the story, even in the Garden of Eden.

I’m not a catholic. The imagery used is not a jab at anyone. I merely allowed ideas to possess certain images to communicate something. This is also in no way a statement that comes from a place of conviction or certainty. I’m confused. I don’t resent religion. I consider myself to be a Christian; but my beliefs are based not on sight but on faith. I have no evidence for what I believe in. I believe there is a God and that Jesus was divine. I do so because I want to and I have nowhere else to go. But I don’t believe in a lot of things that most Christians believe in. This is a piece that comes from a place of humility and acceptance of my own incertitude. As I write this, part of me is happy to present a part of my life that I found hard to communicate with others. At the same time, I write every word fearing divine retribution. I find peace in knowing from experience that honest expression has always brought me closer to the truth, be it in people or ideas.

P.S. This is not a very well-written post. I was not feeling up to it but I thought it was required. Hope you guys enjoyed reading it nonetheless. Cheers.

Reasonable Art

White softness, submissive and complying, sits before me with its back against the easel and asks me, “Do you see me?”

“Huh?”, I ask, my eyes returning to focus on the perfect edges of the paper.

“Do you see me?”, it asks again, quieter this time. Much quieter.

“No”, I say and run my index finger over my eyebrow.

How could I? I’m an artist after all. I’m supposed to see things on the paper. The paper alone means nothing to me. It hides behind colour in near perfect submission. It lays no demands for the focus of a trained eye or the sweet caress of a surrendering hand. It wears whatever I give it and flaunts it in absolute stillness. Why would I ever see it?

But today, I’m forced to. Today, I must surrender my title and see nothing. I must do so because the only way to open a closed door is to forget there is a key. At least that’s how it works at the cul-de-sac inside my brain I call ‘creative space’.

And today the door is closed.

It’s blocked.

And I know it because I can hear it. Yes, I hear it when graphite touches paper. I hear it and I know that the door’s closed.

You see, there’s music in the air and on paper when the door’s open. A swish here and a swish there. They’re all expressions of the past, a reproduction of decisions made seconds ago. An experienced hand will handle the temporal separation with fidelity and resolute organisation. What you hear then is music. It rises and falls, bubbles up and explodes, and stomps with grace at a full stop.

But today, I don’t hear it. What I hear today is graphite choking on paper like a cat choking up a furball. My hand is moving over the paper like a drunk man at 5 a.m. on the subway. There is no fidelity, no organisation. My mind has nothing to say to my hands and I’ve lost all control. I turn the room upside down looking for the key. I must get out. If I don’t, I will kill me.

It is in this quiet desperation on a Monday evening that I find myself in the company of a perfect sheet of paper. It is offering me a way out. A way to convince myself that there is no key. A cheat code that will connect me to reality and unlock potential. So I cave in.

I frame the blank sheet of paper and I hang it on the wall.

I tell others I did it because art should never make us blind, even to paper.

Author’s note:

This piece is part of a series called ‘Mumbo is Jumbo’, where I talk about weird concepts and ideas that I have. In this short piece, I intend to highlight how art lies in the reason why you do something and not just in what you do. I also believe that we sometimes experience creative blocks because we forget this. The fact that I can get away with calling a sheet of paper art has to be good enough evidence. I didn’t even make it. I just came up with a reason to call it art and identified the reason as art in itself. You can too.

P.S. The 4D family is growing fast 🙂 If you like what you read, do share it and consider following the blog. We’re all friends here. Remember to always have a blast just existing. God bless!

Clothes For My Pimples

Photo by Justin Veenema. Source: unsplash.com

Treat it for what it is. A minute real estate on your face with very little resale value for the next few weeks.

Why do we wear clothes?

Go ahead and google it. It’s amusing to see how the web manages to give relevant answers to questions like these.

We wear clothes for protection, for decoration and mostly to keep what’s private, private.

When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit. they lost the glory of God that clothed them and they clothed themselves with leaves.

I sometimes wish I had clothes for other stuff. Like pimples and scars.

My skin has a thing for pimples. Despite my mother’s incessant instructions not to pop them, I still do it. And because of this habit I had trouble walking with my head held up high when I was in school. People sometimes don’t see how much pimples can affect someone. It was torture for me. My face used to shrink to the size of a small spot. Metaphorically, of course.

Here I was, a teenage kid with a lot of potential. I had everything going for me. I mean, I did struggle a bit during high school with academics (regardless of which I ended up at my dream university) but other than that, I was doing great. I loved meeting people and having a good conversation. The only thing that kept me from enjoying every single minute of my day most days was the number of pimples on my face. That’s sad.

You do get better at living with your pimples. It gets easier. But I didn’t want to live with them. If I was not responsible for them and they were going to be a part of my life regardless, I could not afford to let them be even the slightest of my worries.

I learnt, though at a very slow pace, that nobody actually cared about my pimples. At least not as much as I thought they did. I also learnt that sometimes not every part of who you are will serve your confidence and that you have to choose what to focus on.

Me being a born-again Christian, realised that it is in God that my value is found. It is his glory that now clothed me and made me who I was. That realisation helped me a lot.

You, dear reader, have to realise that I am talking about a problem that is nothing compared to the millions of problems that are out there. But it definitely is one. Which is why I thought I should talk about how hurtful it could be when you stare at somebody’s pimple or even point it out in public. Even when it seems like it’s no big deal.

Before I go, to all my friends with pimples: Really, it’s not a big deal. Don’t worry too much. Treat it for what it is. A minute real estate on your face with very little resale value for the next few weeks. If you really want to make a mountain out of it, call them volcanoes of purity or call yourself pompously pimplified. I hope that was not gross.

Anyway, if you’ve actually read till here, you deserve an award. Please claim my respect by saying a hi in the comments. Joking. You don’t have to do that. I love you all nevertheless.

Have a blast just existing!

Sunshine Blogger Award!

It’s so awesome to be part of something like this. I’d like to thank my dear friend, Stuart L. Tutt for nominating me. He shares his life, the highs and he lows, at his site over at stubaby777.wordpress.com. He loves God and it’s a great joy to be a part of his life here at WordPress.

So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Here are the rules :

• Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him/her.

• Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.

• Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

• Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.

• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.

Here are Stu’s questions to his nominees along with my answers to them:

1. What brings joy to your life?

First of all, my family brings a great deal of joy into my life. A lot of great friends (including the ones here at WordPress) also are a big part of my life. But when it comes down to it, on a very personal and intimate level, I find great joy in art. Although music is what I enjoy most, I still find a great deal of joy in many other art forms. And I’m thankful to God for that every single day.

2. If money was not an issue, what would be your dream job?

That’s a great question. I really want to be that guy who goes on stage and does ted talks and inspires people. I really have this dream of being able to combine philosophy ,music and art and being able to present that to people. If I could make a living out of that, that would be awesome. I love being on stage and sharing something I care about.

3. What are two gifts the Lord has blessed you with, spiritually or physically?

I would say music and confidence. But that being said, there are a lot of other things that I am very grateful for. But those are the two that popped up in my brain first.

4. What post or posts touched you so deeply that you felt “everyone needs to read this!”?

That is a hard question because I’ve not been on WordPress for a long time. So, I’ll just mention one post I really enjoyed in my meagre exploring on my Reader. Tosin over at Alethea’s Mind wrote this beautiful post called Sitting. Watching. Doing. Nothing. You can read it here: https://aletheasmind.wordpress.com/2019/06/27/sitting-watching-doing-nothing/

5. Which blogger would you do a Blogger Spotlight on and why?

To be honest, Stu, you’d be one for sure. I think you have a lot to say, whether it be about your journey out of pornography or just about life.

6. What does love mean to you?

Now that is one hard question! But nevertheless, I’ll try to make it as short as I can. I believe love holds everything together. The Bible says that ‘God is love’. That’s such an interesting line. It’s the most powerful reason possible for something. And I believe that true love brings truth into perspective.

7. If you could choose one attribute of Jesus to follow closer than any other, which one would it be?

I would love to be as approachable as Jesus is.

8. In your eyes, what is the hardest part of being a Christian?

Learning the true meaning of humility.

9. What do you want to be most remembered for?

I want to be remembered by my face and not by name( I might make that into a log post in a few days). I want to be known as the one who stayed when everyone else left. I want to be someone who believed in people.

10. Which Bible verse holds the most meaning to you and why?

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21. This verse empowers me spiritually because I have been given freely a position that now gives me perspective. And this perspective is what helps me lead the life that God wants for me.

11. Since it’s July, how do you celebrate the 4th?

Since I’m Indian, I don’t necessarily celebrate July the fourth. But I’m really happy for my American friends and share in their joy. But this past July 4th, I woke up in the afternoon, had a great lunch, went out and made some music. 🙂

My Nominees:

Tosin over at Alethea’s Mind: aletheasmind.wordpress.com

Teen, Meet God over at https://teenmeetgod.wordpress.com/

And anyone else who want to do it for fun.

My Questions:

  1. Do you know a really funny joke? If you do, share it!
  2. What in your opinion, is the most underrated song, book, movie, TV series, or anything for that matter?
  3. How do you enjoy nature?
  4. What is your favourite instrument?
  5. Hymns or contemporary music?
  6. If you could tell the whole word one single word, what word would that be?
  7. Do you think we should protect nature? If yes, then why?
  8. The year you enjoyed most in your life.
  9. One thing you’re thankful for as a human being.
  10. What makes you feel loved?
  11. A skill you developed on your own.

I just want to let everyone know that anyone is welcome to attempt any of these questions. Answer them in the comments. It could be a great way to connect.

Once again I thank Stu for this opportunity. Hope you guys have blast just existing on this beautiful planet!

I’m Aching To Be Out There

Metamorphosis Behind A Window. Photo by Suzanne D. Williams. Source: unsplash.com

I’m a butterfly. I used to be a caterpillar. Before that, I was an egg. But you don’t know me. Yet. But I know you. I see you through the transparent chrysalis that envelops me. In time we’ll meet. I’m nearly there. I’m a complete butterfly inside a cocoon. How did I get here? It was inevitable. It had to be done. That’s how God made me. It was important for me to shut myself in a cocoon so that I could develop into a butterfly. But now, it’s nearly done. I don’t understand why I have be here anymore. I’m complete. But all in time. But make no mistake, I’m aching to be out there.

Metamorphosis Behind A Window is one of the tracks I made during this summer holiday. I’ll link it at the end of this post if you guys want to listen to it. I couldn’t upload it.

What inspired me: I had been stuck in my room for the past 1 month. Only going out on Sundays to attend church. After going to college, I had a really vibrant social life and being back home and not even going out, I felt trapped. I was looking out of my window, seeing all the cars honking at each other, a sight quite normal to the average Indian citizen. We spend a lot of time in cars stuck in traffic. I was looking out and seeing all this activity and I was back home, stuck in my room. No one shut me in. I just had nothing to do outside. I didn’t have many friends from school that I could go meet. But i had my passion for music. I spent the last two months in my room, playing my guitar and experimenting with music. It was from this, that the track came.

Now, through this track I wanted to convey a message. Here is a butterfly, fully formed, inside a transparent cage( The chrysalis of a butterfly, is usually transparent). Just before it comes out, it has the same potential as it will have when it has come out. I would imagine a butterfly really struggling to come out, considering how it must feel, knowing that it’s complete and yet not being able to go outside. But if you actually look at a butterfly coming out of it’s transparent chrysalis or cocoon, regardless of the amount of movement you see, it looks graceful. It looks like the cocoon and the butterfly are working together to create a release of potential into nature. That inspires me.

We are all undergoing a metamorphosis of our own and there will be times when we feel like we have reached our ultimate potential but are being caged by systems. It’s hard. Because we know what’s out there and we know we are meant for it, just like the butterfly in the transparent chrysalis. But like the butterfly, we must learn to work together with the chrysalis to release our potential.

God loves us. More than we could ever imagine. And sometimes, he gives us cocoons to develop in. We must learn to use it to vitalise our potential. This has a place in every situation in life, be it work, study, or personal development. I believe it is key to enjoying life and reaching great heights at the same time. And I hope that you never ever forget to enjoy life.

Do check out the other tracks and tell me what you think. I really appreciate it. Thank you once again for taking time out of your life to read the stuff I write. It means more than you know. God bless you!!!!

My Instagram page is over at @stefguitargeek

You can listen to the track mentioned in this post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxxArFJDY70/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Some of the tracks are also there on YouTube at Stef Guitar Geek

A great quote

Hey guys,

Just wanted to drop in and share with you a great quote I just read over at the blog of one of my dear friends, Stuart L. Tutt. It just brightened up my day 🙂

‘You will also realize that despite the fact you can’t find pants that actually fit you, your body size is perfect. It is exactly that way God designed you to be. You will eventually come to terms with it.’ – Stuart L. Tutt

Go check out his blog at https://stubaby777.wordpress.com/

I’m sure you’ll be inspired. God bless you all! 🙂