This in my inbox this morning:
“The year is going; let him go. Ring out the false, ring in the true.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
This is no idle assignment. I’m reminded of the catch phrase from the old Mission: Impossible opening scene: “Your mission should you choose to accept it involves . . . ” (and onward with specific challenges and assignments until the finishing phrase) “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds . . .”
Here’s the question: do we really want to get rid of our old ideas, those stories we’ve built in our minds that come to constitute our “truth,” but in actuality, may be, well, more storied than true?
I’m not sure I would have paid any particular attention to this quote had not my morning reading already tuned me in to thinking about the nature of thoughts, thinking, and how we tend to build unreal pictures for ourselves by constructing (albeit unconsciously) thought loops that repeat and repeat until we take them as reality, truth. Some of mine: (not that you’d care, but Truth made more tangible seems more “real.”) A whole list of “shoulds” – I should use my time better. (Beware of goals that are not specifically measurable.) Conjured scenarios about what “widowhood” looks like, imagined ideas about the problems of being on my own. There are more. The author suggests making a list of our Top Ten Consuming Thoughts so that we become aware of the power they have over us. To my surprise, I found the exercise remarkably humorous, actually. And freeing. To begin to realize that in some strange way my reality is not what I “think” it is.
Okay – if my truth isn’t my thoughts, what is it? Truth is what is now, only that. Much simpler, more profound, and, come to think of it, more hopeful than our small minds can conjure or comprehend. It’s hard to get used to living in that open frame of mind, but I’m guessing that inner peace lies just there – in accepting this moment, whatever it holds. The “false” to be let go of are our impressions, our judgments, our yearning to control.
I’m arguing with myself as I write: What about dreams? They, too, are thoughts. They lead us onward, upward. But they, too, can become a jungle of falsehood, if we are not careful. I’m not sure I know how to balance dreams with reality. My best guess is to dream, but with a knowledge that greater forces are at work; that my dreams matter in that they change my locus of perception, but must be tempered with seeing and embracing whatever is “now.”
Deep thoughts for Deep December! But perhaps they offer a whisper of opportunity, of the possibility for renewing ourselves as this New Year starts with a fresh look at our assumptions about ourselves and the world around us.
As this year unfolds, I wish each of you health, energy, good friends, good times, and gentle hearts. Not only for others, but also for yourselves!