We go through life, so fast, so recklessly, nodding our heads and saying 'I heard you'. But have we actually listened? I know I haven't, not always. My emotions, my life, job, family, mortgages have gotten in the way of actually paying attention. It's weird to admit that. Because I used to think I was a wonderful listener. What a rude awakening.
A couple years back, I fell in love with a song by Patrick Park called Life is A Song. Even back then, when I was deaf, blind and dumb to the world, I recognized the beauty in the music. Except, I didn't actually listen to it until a couple months ago. Baffling, I know. I remember the moment well, too. I was at the gym, jogging away on the treadmill, cursing how long a minute felt, and it started to play. I actually had to stop to listen to it again. And one more time for good measure.
One line in particular pierced me straight through the heart:
It's time to let go of everything we used to know.
This line, in all its simpleness, struck me stupid. Rendered me speechless.
I stood there on the treadmill and knew it was truth.
A simple reality of life is: we cannot control where we came from. We are born into homes, lives, and families that we have very little control over. We don't pick our parents. We don't choose how we are raised. And we cannot undo the things done to us, the good or the bad. In so many ways, we are at the mercy of others for the first fifteen years of our lives.
As children, we are so vulnerable, unable to control who and what we are subjected to. We are impressionable. And we struggle to figure out a world that is at times cruel, merciless and riddled with people who can hurt us. As children, we fall victim to other people's actions and words. Even more, we fall victim to their ways of thinking. Our lessons are handed down by people we think are wiser, who understand the way the world works and are only trying to help us.
But sometimes our teachers are wrong. Parents included.
For a lot of people, that's hard to confront. Parents, older siblings, grandparents, schoolteachers, priests and even judges, lawyers and police officers are all in this pool of people who we think know more than us. They are untouchable to disagreement and correction. They are people we're taught to respect, not talk back too, and trust. Except, they are fallible. They are human. They make mistakes. They allow their own hopes, needs, wants and fears to trickle down to those they come in contact with.
Not too long ago, I took a step back and looked at the whole picture. I realized, the people I loved the most were wrong. Not in everything, but in a lot of things. In their anger, their pain and the way they saw the world. They guarded themselves from others. Allowed themselves to be toxic with the world, with themselves, with me.
And when I took another step back, and looked beyond the restrictions of the house I grew up in and the people I loved, I saw it was the world too. It wasn't just my family, friends, and teachers.
I watched the world spin and it worried me.
For the first time, I saw how backwards our teachings were, how off-course humanity had become. We've evolved into such materialistic creatures, acquiring things that we cannot take with us when we leave this plane. Our focus has turned from needs to wants. In doing so, we've developed this frightening 'yours vs mine' mentality. And we've de-constructed our natural herding instincts by building walls around our homes, around our hearts. We don't trust anyone. The fear is thick, suffocating evening. It's one of the first things we learn as a child when our parents instruct us not to talk to strangers and it develops from keeping us safe to keeping everyone at arms length for fear they will hurt us.
It baffled me to see it. To notice how we embrace the hate, anger, fear, and worry and baulk at the lessons of love, understanding, compassion and empathy. And it's everywhere. In our homes on a small scale and on our televisions, movies, newspapers for the grander scale. So many of these thoughts and ideas grew from seeds planted long before we were able to choose what we wanted to become or form opinions of our own.
This is why the Patrick Park song hit such a chord. Because maybe it is time to let go of everything we used to know.
The song goes on after that, though. He says, "It's time to cut ties that won't ever free our minds from the chains and shackles that they're in." And I realized, I want to be free. Not only of the anger, pain and fear, but from the things I learned when I was younger, things that are doing me no good. I want to be free from the lessons I learned that were wrong.
This time the lesson won't be wrong because the lesson will be love.
And love is truth.