Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Truth Shall Make You Mad

Last night, I was talking to my brother about some changes I've been going through. No, not menopause. Life changes or, more accurately, changes in the way I think. For a short spell, I experienced this intense moment of happiness (November), followed by forlorn loneliness (January) that nearly gutted me. Then, I let go, and this eerie calm has taken root inside me (March). It's an odd sensation, and not one I can explain without sounding like my cheese has slipped off my cracker. (I stole that line from a friend.)

Back to the conversation I had with my brother. In order to understand, you need to know my brother has a bit of a shady past. He isn't a bad person, but he has done bad things. I won't go into detail, but his past is something he struggles with on a daily basis. Of course, that's not unique to him. A lot of us are conflicted characters, dwelling on what we have done, mulling and brooding over the hurt we've caused, or the hurt which has been inflicted on us. To be honest, a vast majority of us spend a lot of time living in the past, unable to confront and let go of what we've done, while still clinging to it.

Here is the one simple truth: we cannot change our past.

It's done. We don't have time machines. Doc Brown isn't going to lone us a DeLorean to travel back to the future. Besides, we've all seen enough science-fiction to know we shouldn't tamper with the past because it will mess everything up. I think Marty McFly all taught us that one.

And yet, even though we cannot change it, we let out past dictate our futures. 

This is what stumps me. There's a line in a Ray Lamontagne song, Empty, where he says, "Well, I looked my demons in the eyes, laid bare my chest and said, Do your best, destroy me. You see, I've been to hell and back so many times I must admit it kind of bores me." There is a truthfulness in his words that knocks my breath from me. He talks of what so many of us do. We let our past steer our futures and allow old hurts, pain, strife and negativity derail us from the things we love, the happiness we can have, the peace waiting for us. Sometimes we pull ourselves out from under the crushing layer of human emotion and it's like we are seeing for the first time. Except, we allow it to pile back on us when things get hard. And it's tough moving under that blanket of doubt, fear, worry, loneliness and disappointments.  

The thing is, the future is a marshmallow. Okay, okay. Not in a roasting over a fire pit kind of way, but the flexible, smooshy way. The future is ours to control. It is something we can mould and shape. Sure, we can't change what we have done, but we can control how we move forward. As some of you know, I'm all about the love. I believe it is only with love that we can move forward.

Of course, this can be complicated because it can take a long time to get to this place. First, we need to love ourselves before we can love others. Secondly, we need to understand love and give before we can receive. And, we need unconditional love for all, which comes with letting go of expectations, wants and all the false things we've been taught.

People are possessive because it's how we have been raised. We always draw the line between what is ours and what is someone else's. This is my home. That is yours. This is my food. That is yours. Except, to me, nothing is mine because everything is ours. All right, that's a bit heady, but it ties into what I have been thinking, which is the idea of oneness.

Not too long ago I posted a video clip where Neil DeGrasse Tyson talks about how the same atoms that comprise life on earth, that make us up, can be traced back to the same ones that started the Universe. That whole idea, that the stars are a part of us, we are a part of them, and we are part of each other is one I completely embrace. It's why we need to care. It's why we need to love everything. Everyone.

And it is why I am never alone.

All these thoughts aren't new. People have been experiencing these feelings and ideas for years, centuries even. Many of these components can be found in other religions and practices. And I find it in music and books all the time. They weren't even new to my brother, except for him to hear me talk so freely about things he'd been thinking about for years shocked him. Because it's odd to have someone pluck your thoughts and ideas right out of your head and put them into words.

Near the end of the conversation, he said something that took me by surprise. As we talked about other dimensions and quantum physics, he told me I should be careful. He feared the questions I was asking, the thoughts cartwheeling through my head, had the ability to make me go crazy. A lot of the things we were talking about aligned with Buddhism and he told me it is not recommended for weak minds to delve into Buddhist practices and teachings because there is a chance it can break them.

It made me think of a quote from one of my favourite writers, and people, Aldous Huxley.

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad." 

And then I thought, how close am I to losing my mind?


Sessha Batto said...

The truth will not make you mad - but it may make you appear so to those who work so very very hard not to see the truth themselves ;)

Tyson said...

Which is just as good. :D

Noelle Pierce said...

This post reminds me of an image I saw on Facebook the other day. While it's not exactly accurate (y'know, in the clinical senses of depression and anxiety), it's pretty damn close.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tyson: I for one am not going to unfollow you for your blog posts. I don't think any religion or philosophy can break a person's mind -- they are meant, I think, to expand them or stretch them even if you don't become a follower. Good for you for re-evaluating things on a possibly cosmic scale. I do like that kinship-with-the-universe idea. Carl Sagan said something similar: "We are made of star stuff." Always liked that.

Tyson said...

@ Noelle - That's a great picture

@DavidJFuller - Carl Sagan has some great quotes. And I don't really think my mind is breaking. If anything, it was broken and now it is healing. :D

Eleanor Raif said...

Wow. I thought I had woke up in my sleep and posted to your blog. :) Everything I would have written about myself. Well. Except exact details of time and people.

What I would say though is that people will think you are mad. Those people closest to truth are always thought to be crazy. Think about that. Einstein. DaVinci. 'Crazy' people, and dead on.

If I'd had a conversation about these thoughts with MY brother though he would do what he always does, call me a 'crazy tree hugging dirt worshipper'. To that I would say, 'touche, you tea-bagging hillbilly redneck'. :)

These kind of thoughts for me have separated me from my family. I've 'lost my ever-loving mind' in their eyes. And I'm okay with that, because all those other paths, they led me nowhere. For once I feel like this path is real, solid, and firmly under my feet.

Sorry for the blithering. Loved the post. Right on!

Stephen Winterflood said...

This sounds like something from my novel. As one character says "You don't get the Joke, but one day you will."

One day we will all get it and then the madness of the truth will be clear.

Tyson said...

@Eleanor - My family is sort of hippy dippy. And a few have had out of body experiences, so they are more open to these ideas. Which, I like.

@Winterflood - Ah, yes. The joke.

Jake Barton said...

I rarely read your blog posts without having to pause at some stage. Admiration, frequently. Disgust, oh come on! No, it's simply envy at your facility of expression. I share your relief at the end of the gloomy period. May March signal a fresh start. Just keep this blog running.

Tyson said...

@ Jake - Disgust? It's okay. My blog conjures up all sorts of feelings. ;)

Morgan said...

What a raw, open, beautiful post, Tyson...

Thanks for sharing. I love the emotion you're able to bring through the screen. I felt it. :)