Neti, Neti

Neti, Neti is a Sanscrit term meaning, “not this, not that.” It is a method of analytic inquiry in which the spiritual seeker discards everything that comes into his mind — any thought, feeling, or sense, again and again if necessary —  until the mind is clear and the eternal soul is revealed.

I saw a Radiohead video the other day called Daydreamers. It’s a beautiful, haunting song, made all the more powerful by the video, directed by the great film director Paul Thomas Anderson. In the film, we see Thom Yorke, the singer, as he passes, ghostlike, throught one door after another, from hallways to department stores to hospitals to laundrymats, in search of something he never finds.

I guess the point, since Thom Yorke had just lost his wife, is that we just keep thinking that we are going to find our happiness here, or here, or here… but we don’t. We just keep passing through rooms, through lives, through time. Nothing lasts forever.

And while the mood of the song (and the film) is sad and nostalgic, kind of depressing, I think there is a higher message here, one of hope: If you can accept the transience of this world, then you can pull your love away from what isn’t fixed, and start hanging on what is eternal and not moving.

Which I’m not sure how you would show, unless you showed someone in love with moving through all the doors – which, in a way, the movie is showing – until at last you’re left alone… with just your walking and searching.

And in that moment, the eternal wandering soul is revealed.

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