Ten truths for you

Every once in awhile, Life puts us in situations where big chunks of time just seem to disappear. We look back to discover that we were indeed present, but that which forms our understanding of “here” has been set aside for some important purpose. I’m in one of those places right now — detached because I seem to have overtaxed my immune system. I have no choice but to let Life bring me recovery at its pace, not mine.

Outside, the days pass as they always do, and I’m aware of events around me and in the world. I haven’t stopped reading. I haven’t shut down my mind. But on a deep level, I’m oblivious to it all, for I’ve been placed into a position of stasis, a cocoon that demands I exist on its terms for a season.

And so inside my healing cocoon, I wait, and my mind wanders to things both sensual and mystical. The creative spark isn’t stifled within my cocoon, but the corners it illuminates are those that might otherwise remain darkened on the daily journey of my day job. What follows is one of those thought streams.

The extent to which we live for our illusions can be stunning — that despite every evidence to the contrary, we will choose that which is familiar. This ability to deny reality in the face of comfort — even if that “familiarity” is painful — produces the self-centered world of the addict and the endless drama that is the pursuit of happiness. Not content to be who or what we are (and driven by the Madison Avenue themes of “we need this, that or the other thing to be happy”), we are tossed about on the waves of uncertainty that relentlessly buffet all of human life.

We examine all the evidence and reach our own conclusions, and mostly those are based on fundamentally incorrect assumptions about ourselves. We live for our illusions.

Take the question of lovability. If a damaged soul believes itself unlovable — regardless of the reason — that person will behave as though he or she is unlovable, despite every valid evidence to the contrary. This person will perfect and direct a play in which he or she has the starring role. Over and over again, the play IS this person’s reality, and it always ends the same — in some sort of crushing blow to the protagonist that validates the illusion of unlovability. When one run is complete, the person begins recruiting people to play the other roles for the next run, and so it goes. Our asylums and our prisons are filled with this, but we never talk about it. And worse than suffering in institutions is the suffering that takes place in our homes and on our streets, because we’re too busy trying to protect our unlovable selves to think of others.

The revelation to the soul that thinks itself unlovable that it is, in fact, lovable, produces a profound alteration in all that this soul knows to be real. I have witnessed this transformation with my own eyes, and it is the greatest miracle of contemporary life.

Overcoming our illusions is the great challenge for every human being as our world moves from the modernist commands of external control to one that demands an internal governor. Fear is a great internal governor, and the only one, frankly, that our culture has ever known. Our freedoms — my freedoms — depend in large part on you obeying the law, but what compels you to obey the law? The law itself is a poor substitute for the hell fire and brimstone of earlier generations, and our lack of this cultural governor in today’s world is evident everywhere we look. Pulling the trigger is somehow easier when parole in 20 years is the worst you get. Oh, we can kill you for pulling the trigger, but we won’t. And so it goes.

We swear to tell the truth with a hand on the Bible before testifying in court, because we used to acknowledge an eternal cost for false witness. Today, it’s called perjury, and it’s a meaningless substitute for an internal governor.

Religious leaders pray for a revival, that we will all somehow have an awakening that there’s more to life than three score and ten. I hold out no hope for such, because religion has pissed away its leadership responsibility through the visible practice of the seven deadly sins. Hypocrisy is somehow more visible to the fallen than to the saved, and this, too, I think, is the living of life based on illusions.

Truth is an illusive prize in this world of ours today, but here I offer ten truths about each of you. Read each and honestly ask yourself if this is your reality, for if it is not, your life is likely based on illusions of one form or another.

You are completely and entirely lovable just as you are. You do not need to change anything to be “more” lovable, for you are already at the point of total lovableness. You may exhibit behavior that is less than lovable, but that is a part of the human condition.

There is nothing about you that makes you better or worse than anybody else. The same capacity for good exists in you as in everyone, along with the same capacity for evil. There’s an asshole in every one of us. Better to accept and get to know yours than to let it surprise you some day. This idea that we are somehow “different” is at the core of most illusionary living. Smash it, and watch what happens.

You are a spiritual being on a human journey, not the other way around. As such, it is impossible for you to be “more spiritual” than you already are. You can, however, be more human, and this is a proper and noble quest.

You are not now, nor will you ever be perfect, so stop trying. As a human being, you will make mistakes. That’s a guarantee. Get over it, and get off your own back. The more you are able to grant yourself the luxury of error, the more tolerant you’ll be of the errors of others.

You have everything within you to be all that you can be. This is a tricky proposition, but it’s Life’s surest path to contentment. If your wish is to be a doctor, you will, of course, need the proper education, but the imprint of the doctor is already there. If it’s not there, you’ll either find a diversion to some other path or be a lousy (and unhappy) doctor.

The map of here to there in your life is imprinted within you, and you only need get yourself out of the way. The problem, however, is that this map is only revealed one day at a time. There are many valuable benefits of outside counsel in these matters, but in the end, only you know you. To thine own self be true.

Life has bigger things for you than you could possibly conceive for yourself. In order to realize this, however, you must be willing to let go of the command and control position of your life, and that requires a level of trust few are able to attain. Ironically, though, the more you trust, the more human you become, and with that comes the internal success and happiness that always leads to the external.

As Scott Peck wrote in The Road Less Traveled, “Life is hard.” But it’s hard for everybody, not just you. The paradox of prosperity is that discontent increases with opportunities for acting on it, which is Life’s way of being hard for those who seem to “have” it all. They don’t.

Blossoming where you’re planted is sufficient for today. This truth is one of Life’s secrets, and it allows me to republish one of my favorite passages from The Pensees by French philosopher Blaise Pascal:

“Let each one examine his thoughts, and he will find them all occupied with the past and the future. We scarcely ever think of the present, and if we think of it, it is only to take light from it to arrange the future…So we never live, but we hope to live; and, as we are always preparing to be happy, it is inevitable we should never be so.”

The best path to a happy tomorrow is a happy today, and you have the choice — based on your acceptance that everything is exactly as it should be in this particular moment — to be happy today. The pursuit of happiness, therefore, isn’t some future quest; it’s about choosing to be content at this moment. Blossom where you’re planted right now, and you’ll be surprised at what will follow.

There. That’s my list of ten truths for you. My advice is to give up your illusions and embrace the truth. You’ll never regret it.

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Comments

  1. Wow. This is some of the best advice ever. I wish someone would have told me these things about the time I started high school. And again when I started college. And when I left college. And a few times during my first jobs. And yesterday.

  2. Letting go of my perfectionist / controlling view of myself and others has been the most difficult yet freeing accomplishment of mine over the past couple of years. I still have a long way to go, but just getting over myself and my flaws has been powerful in helping me deal with those in others.

    Excellent post, Terry, you shared great advice.

  3. Wow, Terry, how very true and deep. It often takes those of us who grow up with abuse years to learn this on our own, and it’s impossible to grow spiritually without understanding these truths in the depth of your soul and psyche, for they are the foundation for all of life’s good work.

    Best wishes for your healing.
    Gypsy

  4. Makes me think we should all ‘cocoon’ every now and then.

  5. Wow, thanks for hitting me upside the head, Terry. I needed that.
    (Hope you’re recovering nicely, hang in there!)

  6. The best path to a happy tomorrow is happy today — love that line.

    thanks for your insight.

    peace!

  7. I feel so calm after having read this. Thank you, Terry!

  8. Rod Overton says

    We don’t always agree Terry — and I’m not sure how that all went down the tubes.

    But, you have a great soul — and despite your viewpoints on what will and won’t work on the web, you’ve got a great outlook on life.

    I hope your health issues get better soon. I look forward to arguing with you in the future — wherever that may be.

  9. Great read! thanks for that. I hope you get well soon 🙂

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