Thursday, April 14, 2016

Joe Omundson

darkness

Sometimes I feel a weight of sadness that seems to come from nowhere. Despite all the beauty and mystery in my life, there are times when I set aside my distractions and a feeling of sorrow continues to resonate long after the other sensations have faded. It is longing for a love which I have not yet known, and grief over painful memories. It's concern for people who are hurting and bitterness toward unjust social structures. It's the awareness that life is short and uncertain. It's hopelessness that our species will take responsibility for its ecological disaster. It's rage toward the systems of insidious brainwashing that influence so many of our perceptions of life.

I learned long ago that these depressions are inevitable, at least for me. I can attempt to deny them, cover them up, and bypass them. But avoiding them forever is not sustainable, because reality is simply unpleasant sometimes, and if I want to live in the real world and learn the true laws of nature I have to become comfortable with discomfort. The trick is to have good coping mechanisms. As someone who feels a need to accept and integrate everything that I perceive as real, my best tools for dealing with sadness are the ones that help me accept those emotions rather than try to push them away.

You know what has helped me cope with life more than just about anything? It's something that has reflected, verified, and validated my feelings of sorrow and anger. It has shown me that other people feel the same way I do, and they feel it so strongly that they will invest a lot of energy into a form of expression that is not appreciated by most people but resonates with a few. It has given me a practical way to experience my anger in a cathartic way, which then allows it to subside. It transforms my hopelessness into a creative flow. The thing I am talking about is metal music. I first got into death metal when I was 15, in the months after my open heart surgery, when I'd gone through something lifechanging and felt like nobody could relate. Listening to death, black, and doom metal gave me permission to start down the path of accepting my own experiences. I have come to enjoy other kinds of music just as much as metal but it has always held a special place in my life.

Today has been one of those melancholic kind of days. I have some stuff on my mind, feelings of sadness and desire, loss. Overall it was actually a good day. The weather was beautiful and I spent most of the day at the park, and I've just been relaxing and listening to music and having a couple beers and getting high, going for walks and eating food, and generally doing whatever I pleased. But it was all sort of done as a conscious meditation in awareness of the weight in my heart. I was thinking about doing some writing and I couldn't seem to focus, and then this song came up on shuffle:

Dead Congregation - Only Ashes Remain

I encourage you to give it a listen. If you are not familiar with this type of music, check out how intricate, precise, and powerful the drumming is. Feel the discordance in the guitars and don't worry about understanding the lyrics, because the texture of the vocals is what's important.
As soon as that blastbeat started playing, and the roiling guitar hit my ears, I felt an equalization of pressure. Finally -- I was hearing something outside my ears that matched what was inside. This seemed like it unlocked me, and I started writing this entry right away.

Metal says, "yep, life's crazy. It's THIS intense. This is what violence feels like, and it's everywhere. We don't have answers to the important questions, and death is the only certainty. Everything will eventually be destroyed one way or another. There is no god to save you. Hopelessness is not altogether unreasonable." If you are someone who feels uncomforable with those thoughts then you will probably not like extreme metal. But those thoughts are a part of my complete breakfast. I am reminded to embrace all aspects of what I know to be true.

Joe Omundson

About Joe Omundson -

Joe Omundson is working to piece together a cohesive philosophy of lifestyle, spirituality, society, and the natural world.

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