at the risk of seeming ridiculous…

over there.

Posted in heard thoughts, written thoughts by Charles on April 28, 2010

i often think of what’s better “over there”.  that perhaps i’d be more happy, more joyful if i were more like that person over there.  that i’d be a better musician if i could play like that guy over there.  that maybe i’d be more content if i were as smart as that person over there.  that things would be greater if my situation was like that over there.

from this sentiment, i often impose my ideals and life-thoughts on others out of this need to get them to that “over there”… even when that “over there” is an illusion, or perhaps that no one actually knows what “over there” is.  and really, that it is out of my own fear of not having what’s over there.

the “over there” is often opposed to your “right now”.  maybe it’s the restlessness of the moment.  perhaps it’s dissatisfaction.  maybe it’s tragedy.  whatever it may be, the “over there” is our greener pastures.  the “over there” is the unrealized dreams of the future… the longings of our past.

but i’m learning.  i’m realizing that the greener pastures don’t really exist.  even when we reach what we think is our over there… we meet yet another fence that separates us from our unrealized goal, whatever that may be.

i’m learning that all we really have is right now, the present moment.  that is all we are promised.  and i’m learning that from this place… i don’t have much that i can impose.  because i often don’t know what helps me get in here.  my blanket reason is that God helps me be present.  and at the heart of the matter… for me… that’s really the only way i know how to describe it.  i can try to discipline myself to meditate… to pray.  but that doesn’t mean that i’ll always be present.  or in another sense, i can play with the same band, at the same place, at the same time, with the same tunes night after night… but that doesn’t mean that we’ll all get lost in that groove.  it doesn’t mean we’ll encounter freedom.

so it is from this place that i am trying to write… or rather… it is this place that i am constantly searching for.  and it is from here… that i can’t impose anything on anyone.  my sense of spirituality, my understanding of the world and God, my feeling of how things can be.  all i can really do is try to help people get into that similar space.  that realm where you can feel deeply, be awake, and encounter an openness to where you’ll be led.  sometimes… this is a smile.  a kind gesture.  a prayer.  a moving conversation.  offering a song.

whatever helps me express what this moment means… and whatever helps you feel it.  that is all we can ever really do.

that here, i can be content.  here, i can be joyful.
here, i don’t have to look that far to find something beautiful.


3 Responses

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  1. Grace said, on April 28, 2010 at 06:01


  2. Alvin Shin said, on April 28, 2010 at 06:42

    Charles, I found you on the “I am Korean American” site. Your message on the site made me emotional. But, after reading more and more Korean American individuals, your column was strikingly exceptional. I noticed these “Korean American writers or intellectuals”, really could not write a decent column. But it was your universal theme that made your message so exceptional. The “immigrant dream” and the part about “being more honest” is more profound and more real than all the columns I’ve read. With the exception of your engaging writing style, I was left only with a sample of your writing. But with your blog, my yearning to read more about you is satisfied.
    I am a crappy writer, but I did my best to express my admiration for you.

    I wish to meet and jam with you one day, I’m 17. Hope you like grunge.

  3. Charles said, on April 28, 2010 at 07:15

    wow. alvin. thank you so much for your kind message. i feel deeply honored and privileged that you’d take the time to write me. contrary to what you said… i think you’re a great writer. it was moving, felt honest, and connected me to you!

    yea man. let’s jam. whenever and wherever that may be.

    thanks so much again. you’ve inspired and encouraged me to keep writing.

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