Two snippets by great writers stirred me this morning. Robert Bly wrote, “How much sadness we feel because we have given up expecting truth. Every moment of our live we exchange comfort or discomfort for statements we know are lies, or mostly lies, in gatherings with our parents, or at speeches, or watching a movie. How abandoned our truth receiver is: a bag-man, who spends the day without hope.”
As I read his words, I felt a sadness I’ve been unwilling to honor rise. I listen to our political process and know that we have all abandoned any hope that truth will be present. The role of a political campaign, with its abundant rhetoric, is to distort our perceptions so that the speaker can persuade us to accept their agenda, which is never truthfully revealed.
Our ability to discern truth withers from disuse and despair. There are candidates who speak what they believe is true. Ron Paul continues to stir a small segment of the population. Ralph Nader has done the same in the past. This truth-telling isn’t what we want. Rather, we follow someone who encourages us to HOPE. Hope they have the key to a better life.
We know what they are saying doesn’t feel right, and we override our perfect gift of discernment to feed the needs of our emotional nature. Only to once again feel deluded. We express cries of anger at being misled, never wondering, even for a moment, if perhaps the anger is misplaced.
So accustomed are we to look without to find the cause of our pain that we overlook a common thread that is easily revealed if we allow the truth to penetrate the fortress of our false reality. William Gass wrote, “we are accustomed to the slum our consciousness has become.” We take no accountability for this predicament and are in constant search of a villain.
I have bad news. The culprit is much closer at hand than we realize. In fact, we saw them just his morning as we looked into the bathroom mirror. I don’t like this fact much of the time. It sure seems that it would be great to blame someone else for what I don’t like about the world.
Blaming others is the new normal. I remember talking with my grandparents about the great depression. They certainly witnessed the dire consequences of this bleak economic time. Rather than have despair about this experience, they were determined. Determined that they would not experience this again. They knew the responsibility for their lives working out was their own.
Over time, we have slipped into a belief that others are responsible for how we feel, whether we have a job, the weather or the national debt. Nope… that’s not true. No matter how many believe it.
I was listening to a report on NPR yesterday from Dubai. The skyline of Abu Dhabi has been filled with construction cranes and the streets filled with the usual busyness of new building. Once again, the enthusiasm of the local government that their prosperity would go on indefinitely met the truth of economics (or life for that matter), nothing is permanent except change.
The new normal is that the good times will continue unabated. Throughout most of the 90s, we believed that they technology revolution, particularly the part fueled by the Internet, would continue as far into the future as we could see. Everyone wanted a piece of this explosion. Yet in 2000, this enthusiasm came tumbling down.
This same myopia transfixed most of us when we considered housing values. We traded up to the new and bigger house because we could. We were encouraged to buy more house than we could afford today because it would increase in value so quickly, we would soon profit from our risk.
The new normal is to ignore what is true, so that it doesn’t interfere with what I want. Want has driven so much of my life that it drowns out need. I have been examining what I need and find that my wants can be traced to inner insecurities rather than what is necessary to live a full, rich life.
The cost of the new normal can result in a shock that has the experience of the recession that went into full swing in 2008 look insignificant. I encourage you to re-establish your relationship with your intuition. It’s a powerful “truth receiver”, if we allow it to be heard. The more I listen, the less complicated life becomes, and the more the unnecessary falls away. What’s left is more than I could have dreamed.