Try to make you forget just what it is you're really made of
And follow on just like most everyone
But you and me, we ain't like most everyone
Pure individual, bright as the shining sun
And sure as hell we know where it is we come from
And where it is, yeah, we probably going back to it
But now we gonna live a little, try and get a little truth
- Jim James, "Same Old Lie"
* * *
There is a truth you once knew. It was not separate from you. It wasn't even recognized as something outside of you, or something you could name. It could not be pointed to or talked about. This truth existed in the space between left foot, right foot; it lived in your breath, the unthinkingness of sight, the phantasmagorical processes of neural pathways and a body in motion. You and it were one and had no need to call out its name because it was self-evident. You were the truth itself. The fact of you, the gifts, limits and impulses of you when you arrived here, before learning anything, these were the cloth of your truth. In time, over time, for most of us, that time when we were as one, indivisible from our self, ebbed away or was yanked away as the business of growing up took hold. But the truth is, if your life is fucked today, if it is off-kilter, you need to reclaim that once upon a time truth, the truth you knew when you were a kid, when you ran like a dork and sang to trees. Somewhere, behind the fog of memory, your truth still exists and waits for you to reclaim it - bright as the shining sun.
* * *
The task set before each life is to know itself as it is - not as others would have it, not as we imagine ourselves to be - but as we are. This is the great challenge: who can bear to be themselves? Who can bear to be themselves when everything around you wants you to be what your father expected you to be, what your mother hoped you'd be, what your employer wants from you, what your loves hope to find in you? To please is to be accepted and to be accepted is to know where you are, who you are, to have ballast to your days and direction to go in. None of which is bad or wrong or to be judged with a self-righteous eye. No. Everyone craves some version of that. The crisis, if it ever comes, occurs when you can't remember if what it is you are doing and the sort of life you are living is one you have chosen because it reflects what is innate in you, or if it was chosen in order for others to be pleased with you. Matriculation and compliance are the coin of the realm. Look around you. The tribalism of our politics demands compliance to one of two poles. Look at the language used to enforce the in group versus the out group. How much of that is bred in the bone and how much is a program to follow?
But you and me we ain't like most everyone.
We struggle to remember our truth. It troubles us when we cannot, or when we think we have a sense of it, but it still doesn't seems right, like something's missing. We can find ourselves lost more often than we want to admit, but even in that lostness, where the right road is wholly lost, that truth still lives in us and it calls out our name.
What is beautiful, what is terrible, what is beautiful about all this is that no one can help you. You can be encouraged (that is why I write these things), but you alone have to find your way to the truth you knew before you knew words. It can be harrowing. It is also, when you get there, a liberation, a communion, a silent exaltation as you restore yourself to yourself.
* * *
There is no one way to get there. There is no plan you can follow, no steps to memorize. There is no promise made other than you get to venture the effort. What works for one might influence another, but it can never replace the inescapable fact that you alone know this truth and you alone can live it. I am sustained by music and words. Recently, I have found that color, the making of images, playing with shape and color is the doorway to the truth I knew once, but lost sight of. By needs be, you will have to clear away the rubble and find what sustains you and where it might lead and what long closed doors might open. Perhaps it will be faith, perhaps sound. It might be the natural world. It could be questioning everything. Only you can know.
But don't take that to mean a life of isolation. If that's where you wind up, please note you haven't gotten to the truth yet. For no matter how it is expressed, no matter the form you give it, the inner truth, if it is the true thing itself, always and in all cases leads you outward, towards generosity, towards the giving away of your gifts to a cause greater than yourself. You know this is true if you but think of those who have moved you in your life: their spirit was always generous. And here lies a paradox that you cannot resolve (to resolve it is to kill its inherent mystery): you are pure individual, bright as the shining sun, whose gifts belong to everyone, who is a part of a larger whole, a larger mystery that cannot be riddled out except to be the truth you are.
You are near and far at the same time: cosmic and smelly, eternal and corporeal, a timeless creature with a clock around its neck. Don't try and resolve it. You'll pick one over the other. That's how you got lost in the first place: mom and dad didn't want you to make their mistakes, the church wanted your bended knee, the boss wants your weekends and your sweet love wants you to fill what is empty inside them. There is a truth you once knew. It was not separate from you. It wasn't even recognized as something outside of you, or something you could name. It could not be pointed to or talked about. This truth existed in the space between left foot, right foot; it lived in your breath, the unthinkingness of sight, the phantasmagorical processes of neural pathways and a body in motion. You and it were one and had no need to call out its name because it was self-evident. You were the truth itself.
And you can be again.
Listen back. You are forever being called into your name.
* * *
May your well run deep.