For many years I was devoted to the practice of meditation and connecting with my inner self, or the universe, or God, or whatever you choose to call that thing that unites us all, but, when the pandemic began, I found myself too distracted by the bombardment of news bites and online articles and closures and mandates and protocols and information, and fear, fear, fear, that I just stopped. I was just too overwhelmed with everything happening without, that I couldn’t seem to find my way within.
I thought 2022 was a good time to resume this practice, so on January 1st, I dug out some old books and began reading a passage a day.
Today’s reading was about the practice of letting go of the things and ideas that we think keep us safe.
This paragraph, in particular, spoke to me:
“I’m not talking about external moments of anxiety here, but inner moments of truth…I’m talking about fear of love and truth and God, fear of change and the unknown. I’m talking about how we all grip tightly to what we know, even if we hurt ourselves in the process”.*
Even if we hurt ourselves in the process.
This got me thinking about everything going on in our country and around the world right now.
Truth is subjective. Yes, there are undisputed facts. But truth is subjective.
You give me a list of scientists and scholars and sages to support your truth. I’ll give you a list of mine.
You tell me that you fight for freedom. I tell you I fight for the same.
You feel sorry for me in my ignorance. I feel sorry for you in yours.
You are angry at being judged. So am I.
So we fight and yell and call each other names and cry and wail at being misunderstood, all the while clinging to our “truth”.
And the result is, we are hurting ourselves as much as we are hurting others.
We are a nation of sick, tired, depressed, and anxious citizens.
Maybe it’s time to remember that none of us have all the answers. And before you start to argue, saying “But there are things that we can all agree are truth”, yes, you’re right. I think we can almost all agree that the earth is round and there is a thing called a coronavirus and millions of people have died.
But there are a whole lot more “beliefs” than there are “truths”. And our beliefs are just that, our beliefs. Not undisputed truths nor words carved into tablets from an almighty ruler. They are not universal.
There is no black or white. And the more we try to mold our beliefs into a universal, one size fits all truth, the angrier and more frustrated and sadder and anxious we all become.
So maybe it’s a good idea to spend a bit of time each day, thinking about the in-between. The space between your beliefs and mine. It’s a large space, after all.
And maybe, just maybe, in that in-between, we can stop being so angry. Maybe we’ll find some peace and understanding.
In the in-between, maybe we can stop hurting ourselves.
The Book of Awakening, Having the life you want by being present in the life you have, by Mark Nepo.
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