The legend of Narcissus
There is a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned. When Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.
“Why do you weep?” the goddesses asked.
“I weep for Narcissus,” the lake replied.
“Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus,” they said, “for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand.”
“But… was Narcissus beautiful?” the lake asked.
“Who better than you to know that?” the goddesses said in wonder. “After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!”
The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:
“I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.”
“What a lovely story,” the alchemist thought.
Visiting Gotland this week was a spin off the original plan.
During this trip, I witnessed the wonders of nature that reaffirmed my decision to choose Stockholm. When you see the vast horizon that expands infinitely, you feel so overwhelmed by the supreme prowess of nature itself. As I quote from ‘The Alchemist’, the book I brought with me on this trip, the relevant portion I was reading — “the horizons so distant, that they make a person feel so small, as if he should remain silent.” Indeed, whenever I see the sea or the sky, I do fell silent, impressed by their elemental force. It doesn’t help that I love clouds so much and that seeing their abundance in the sky itself makes everything even more magical than it is supposed to be.
I am happy that I have a tool (Canon 70D) with me that is able to help me to express what I want to emote. With such an aid, I feel even more equipped to tell the world a story, to tell them about what I’ve been through. Strange, why do I need their validation? Or again, the social media paradox — if I didn’t post or show my friends, does it mean that I did not come?
That is not true for me, at least for now. Something within me changed, a peaceful lock, a therapeutic calmness that swept across my soul and allowing it to really, breathe. I am so thankful for this getaway such that it really allowed me to clear my head and feel the great magnitude and prowess of the universe.
It is with such insignificance of my being that I realized better of my role, the things I want to do and the things that I should stop worrying. It is not a logical process, but more like a subconscious effect rippling throughout your body. It is as if, at the edge of the waters or cliff, nature demands the attention of your every fiber, subduing you, and your worries too.
In retrospect, I realised that I had rid myself of many responsibilities this weekend, which was the greatest and unexpected blessing in disguise. Being around with people I can trust, it really did help me to relieve my pressures and stress. This feeling is when… I don’t feel alone. I know that whatever comes may, we will go through it together. I don’t know if the geographical proximity mattered, or the fact that we have to cross the sea to go to where we were that helped with the abandonment of other irrelevant commitments.
This is something that is super rare with our productive lifestyle, the hedonistic treadmill we all signed up for. Perhaps it is less in Stockholm than it is in Singapore because the similar schedule and lifestyle for the former helped act as a bonding lubricant. Nevertheless, I know for a fact, sadly, that this is but ephemeral. Being together now is wonderful, but it may not be permanent, as with other happy things. As we all have other obligations that we all are subjected to, and thus we — we got to go.
We got to fill up the shoes that we are made to wear because we are all part of the bigger social fabric. This is intricately linked to our inner identity and it is something that is passed down through our DNA. Or at least, if we are still living with other people.
When will we be able to solely live for ourselves, and not for the greater community? Or rather, will we ever be able to live in a community we adore?