Given that the basic essence of human life is play, it follows that true genius resides in children, given that children intuitively manifest the basic essence of life, namely, play. As Aldous Huxley said: “We are all geniuses up to the age of ten.”
In addition to children, musicians also have an intuitive grasp of the very basic essence of life, given that their entire artform and work is playful in nature. After work at the Afghan Embassy in Washington one day, I stopped at a hookah bar in Virginia where I came across some old friends from back in the day. One of them is a “Tabla” master with an incredible sense of humor. He asked me what I was up to, and I told him I had just published a book and I was volunteering at the Afghan Embassy, in addition to working on a blog. He then asked me if the ambassador and his staff were paying me for giving them therapy.
In a nutshell, the lack of humor and spirit in Washington has translated into the widespread mental health crisis which my musician friend hinted at in a playful manner. Growing up, I was inclined more towards music and poetry than anything else. I came across philosophy, politics, and religion when I attended a religious private school between the second and eighth grades. After the eighth grade, philosophy and politics – along with religion – were put on the backburner for poker and girls. Music and poetry returned from childhood to the center of my life while I was in college, and that is when I picked up how to play the harmonium, which is a stationary accordion of sorts that is at the heart of music and poetry in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
Thus, even up until the end of my graduate studies in August 2013, my life was quite festive. Music, poetry, and partying were at the heart of my life up until the point when my “individuation process” began in August 2013, which was when I finished my graduate studies. When I look back and assess everything from a personal standpoint, I chose well over the years. Plus, there is nothing to complain about when a person is able to do whatever they want to do in life, which is a luxury and privilege I had for all these years.
The challenge, however, is carrying over the festive and optimistic spirit of the past into the present moment and sustaining it. Ultimately, I chose to be a book author and writer, which means that one’s audience may not possess the same essence and spirit that is at the heart of one’s own existence and life. Plus, the stuff I write automatically tailors itself to a niche market that is quite small. I do not expect my audience to be very big, given the nature and substance of my writing. As a result, my hope is that my audience – no matter how small it is – derives the spirit which I have sought to bring into my work from my personal past.