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Iceberg

You were looking for hope

were you not?

in your borrowed cape

of battered despondency.


You pursued it relentlessly.

Spent days and nights

chasing its sensuous silhouette.

Probably had perverted thoughts

of what you would do

if you managed to attain it,

only to realize

that hope was the tip of the

submerged iceberg of despair

that you mistook for a

lifeboat.


You tried jumping off the iceberg

did you not?

When you knew that

the humungous iceberg of hope

stood firm in the frigid ocean

of expectations.


You fell in the ocean

headfirst and almost drowned

in shock

and desire.

The shock of precipitancy

and the desire of

possibility.

You spluttered around,

tempted to come aboard the

now tantalizing iceberg

that again

looked like just a boat.


You got in the "boat"

did you not?

And the timekeeper sighed

as you reset,

while it left you

to move ahead,

calling to the Sun

that gave you benevolent warmth

and then

melted your provisional home.


Something happened then.

You remembered you'd done it

over and over,

and over,

many times over,

and jumped back into the ocean.

This time

determined to swim away.


You're swimming now,

are you not?

Your arms are tired,

your body almost

morphing into the swollen

meat you once devoured

ravenously;

but refusing to surrender.


The ocean is moving.

Waves that dragged you to

disguised iceberg tips

of hope

and euphoria

with the submerged bodies of

well-preserved monstrosities;

are now pushing you towards

the shore.


You can see the shore

can you not?

You're seeing it

without the eyes

shut fast against

the salty, intrusive water.


You've arrived,

have you not?

On solid ground

made of unpredictable surprises.

You've crossed the

only ocean you could

perish in.


Now,

You know,

and you don't need

to answer.

Image Courtesy: Tobias Friedrich: Icerock. The colossal underbelly of an iceberg captured by Tobias.


Hope is a concept that has long served as an anchor for humanity. Whether it be a theological virtue touted by religions to keep one from immediate discouragement when one is engulfed in suffering or in regular everyday conversations seeking to absolve another of their pain through it, hope is almost considered the poster boy of positivity, of moving on, of growth. Thus, of course, I decided to delve deeper into hope itself.


Turns out Oxford defines Hope as - "a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen."


If you're on a path to explore spirituality or psychology, or have come across one of those mysterious reels with renowned spiritual leaders that keep popping up on your feed, you'll note a universal fact that is a prerequisite to happiness: letting go of expectations. This is personally an idea I have resonated with more, even though I may be far from completely integrating it into myself. In my healing journey, however, I've been blessed with a lot of hope from everyone who has connected with me. After such hopes crashed and burned several times in a short span, it was time to relook at this concept.


To look at it in pseudo-scientific terms (and please feel free to augment my limited grasp on this topic), let's revisit the concept of dimensions. Physicists look at dimensions as directions, or more precisely, as a pair of directions opposite each other and at right angles to other dimensions. Three easy dimensions we recognize from experience are length, breadth, and height. Fourth and fifth being time and space respectively (something you'd recall from the life-altering Interstellar). (And they posit that there could be at least 5 more.)

So if we were to categorize hope into one dimension and zero expectation/ freedom from expectation into another, they would be mutually exclusive. That is to say, since hope is based on the future fulfilment of expectation, a dimension where there is no expectation would be completely devoid of hope. Also, you'd probably need a higher ability to access the dimension of expectation in a way where you can reach a state of zero expectation. And here is where we want to differ from physics; these dimensions would be like "levels" in a video game, with an additive basis already gained in terms of experience or skills.


I started with "dimensions" as per physics because of the first and very critical property: "a pair of directions opposite to each other". With this logic, the dimension of hope would have despair (an absolute lack of hope) in the other direction. So imagine this: if you were hypothetically on this dimension, let's say it's a straight line, and you would be walking towards hope, any slightest change of direction would result in you walking towards despair.


Now, that's the terrifying reality we prefer not to acknowledge as individuals in a society. When you're hoping, you're also looking into possible despair. So this dimension is designed in a way that you are stuck in a really large cycle (which is just a straight line when observed myopically). Thus, shouldn't we start looking beyond this dimension now?


Of course, I concede that hoping is easier than letting go of expectations. Is it healthier? Is it something that should be encouraged? That's for all of us to figure out. Choose your battles, as they say; choose your dimensions, as I apparently do.


The prose above talks about the reader's journey through hope and despair, euphoria and depression, all deeply rooted in expectations, to a land where there are none. As Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, famously said, "The mind is like an iceberg; it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water." So, of course, I had to employ the metaphor of the iceberg in illustrating the mind's journey. I hope this Sunday you sift through the dimensions while keeping an eye out for the faux pas.


[Side note: This prose also seeks to celebrate those who've been swimming upstream for a long time and finally see the shore in sight. You know who you are. Congratulations!]

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