Of mustachioed turtles and inner peace

“Looking for peace is like looking for a turtle with a mustache: You won’t be able to find it. But when your heart is ready, peace will come looking for you.” –Ajahn Chah

Hmm. The operative simile of this quote seems to imply that, congruently, just as peace will come looking for you when your heart is ready, so too will a turtle with a mustache. Now I can’t say to which I am more looking forward. Well, I can say, but being as it is a very immature reaction, I am embarassed to tell you (hint: the thing I wish to see more is green and has a mustache).

This is my problem, most likely. The trouble with me is the persona, the stereotype of repressed self-inflicted isolationist that I put forward like a “caution” sign to keep people off my roads, masks the real me, a wild and secret unquenchable experience-machine; there is an emotion junkie that lives inside me and knocks around way down deep underneath the part of me that avoids those very same emotions up top in realityland. All the time that I am self-denying and setting up my “Slow: Icy” flashing hazard signs, this sensual gollum-like maniac is hopping around a few layers beneath the surface, windmilling arms of foutaining lava at the crust of me and screaming and tearing at my heart to be blindsided by feelings, feelings, feelings, because if the agent of my ecstasy is something outside my control then I don’t have to berate myself for trusting like a fool when it all falls apart.

If I have to be honest with myself, I may mouth a bunch of folklore about wanting to find an even keel and enjoy peace, and while I do indeed hope to make some kind of calm truce with myself and my madness eventually, the truth is that, as far as what my heart is ready for right now, I have to say that I would still rather experience 30 seconds of something cartwheeling and dreamlike and eldritch and mind-boggling such as an improbably mustachioed turtle, than sit through hours and hours of tranquility and peace.

Does this mean that if I wish to really know myself and to have steady peace, I have to close my heart to creepy rarities, seal off the hopes that something beyond my expectations can at any moment come waddling onstage in this one woman freakshow called my life? If it does, then fuck a bunch of peace, I choose the things that challenge my imagination. I choose to long for tumult, and pain, and shock, and undreamt of dizzying pleasure that swoops in out of nowhere and turns up to jolt you out of the doldrums, springing from the reeds of the swamp like a turtle with a mustache.

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