4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1Pet 3:4)
As with many, if not most of my writings, the one for whom I am searching for an answer is myself. I might have someone else in mind when I begin, or someone else's problem as a direction, but I usually find that my own problems become entangled in them.
This last few days is an excellent case in point. I wrote and researched "Appreciation" from several different angles, only to find at their completion that I had not dealt with the problem I was struggling with. In fact, I didn't even know I was struggling, or that the problem involved me.
Then I got, or was given, a nugget of an idea. It was a small thing to begin with, not much more than just an thought upon which to base a story. Actually that is not true, not entirely at least. For most stories it is true, but with this story I was anxious and a little apprehensive.
The story to which I am referring is The Rollercoaster.
The more I wrote about the rollercoaster, the more I realized that I was the one who needed to let go of the steering wheel and take my foot off the brake. That I was the one who's vehicle was trailing behind all the others.
And by demanding control, I was creating a lot of frustration, anxiety and stress for myself.
Me, the one who has a reputation of sorts for boldly going where only fools dared. Me, who in my own opinion was one who breaks down walls of fear. Me, who could clearly see that very problem in others, and is always ready to point it out. Me, who writes, and has written many stories about that very subject.
I had the answers, I had the understanding to a degree, and I had the awareness of the problem -- in other people.
What I did not have is any insight into the fact that I was the one with the problem.
And as evidence that I did (or do) have the problem; the very day I wrote the story, recognized and admitted my problem -- and released the brake and steering wheel (not entirely, of course, it's a process) my stress left, I am much happier and energetic, and I got the first good night's sleep I've had for some time.
And to make bad things worse, I not only thought I had risen above it, but believed that I still was above it - and going higher!
And that is my question. That is my quest. I want to find out what happens with Truth: Where it dwells, and why it is so allusive; How it can be missed, even ignored, by someone who diligently seeks it.
I see people blindly continue down roads that are obviously wrong: Intelligent, educated people whose lives are a terrible mess, and I wonder how they can remain so blind to the fact. I wonder why they can't see how they are hurting themself.
Are they fools? Are they self-destructive? Do they just not care? Or could it be some thousand other reasons that I don't even have a name for?
I have attributed their behavior to ego, or callousness, or poor reckoning. I assumed that, for whatever reason, they were hiding from the truth. And I have covered much of this type of thinking in other sections.
Now I wonder. Now that it's me who is walking in the shoes of the one I'm so critical of, I have to pause and re-evaluate. Now having been the accuser, and the accused, I believe I can undertake a little better analysis of the situation.
I'm not one who intentionally hides from a problem; in fact I challenge them; not from bravado do I callenge, but out of fear. The longer I wait to deal with a problem, the bigger it grows in my mind, and the more fearful and stressed I become.
I'm not one to hide from truth. I seek it out. I question and challenge it. I even doubt it at times. But I would like to believe that I never deny it once it has been proven to me. I present as evidence this, my response to the Rollercoaster.
So if I am not hiding from Truth, is it possible that Truth is hiding (or is being hidden) from me? And if so, why? And by whom?
Here is where I draw a blank. I have studied the question. I have evidence through other people that the problem exists. I even have much more explicit examples in my own life, bigger and more numerous than I ever wish to divulge, to present as evidence that the problem does in fact exist; and that we can and do become totally blind to it.
And here the question dies an untimely and unwelcome death.
But I can speculate. I can offer some off-the-wall comments that may not be particularly clever, or original, or correct; but nonetheless a place to start.
The first (and really the only) scenario that comes to mind is that hiding the truth is intentional, that it is for our edification, in other words, for our own good. Who is doing the hiding? I would say God, which will be no surprise to anyone who has seen much of this website. You might wish to call it Mother Nature, or the gods, or guiding spirits, or karma. Whatever, in this scenario, it would be a force outside of ourself.
From my own experience it seems to me that I'm allowed to blindly charge into a situation that I would avoid with all my might were I to recognize the dangers in it. And at this point I must differentiate between situations I have gotten myself into because of blindness of one sort or another; and those I blinded myself to because of my own selfish desires. There are some which were my own doing (of course they all were, but some truly blindly), and some that seemed to have strong overtones of external manipulation, and still others I just can't say for sure what happened.
Those blind judgments and experiences I think of as the side tracks on the Rollercoaster: Side tracks I would have avoided, or would have at least cut short as soon as I recognized them for what they were.
And had I done so, that is, had I not taken those false routes, I would have missed two thing in particular, and one other very important experience.
I would have missed an opportunity to experience what I try to avoid in myself, which would have meant that I would have missed understanding a bit of what other people are like, and what motivates them.
And I would have missed the opportunity to discover that the problem lies in me as well, and just how deeply embedded the problem really is. And along with that, I would have missed learning that I can also clear myself of the problem, and discover the method(s) I must use to do so.
And the thing that is especially important; I would have missed out on learning how poorly I function when I am in control, and how much freer I feel when I've released control, that is, opened my hands.
I had hoped that by the time I finished this piece, I would have come up with other ideas, but I'm afraid that hasn't happened. Maybe later.
I was tired. There are other reasons I'm sure, but I'll settle for this one. It's safer.
Satan. That old Deceiver, the Devil. Isn't that his job? Isn't he the one who lied to Eve and influenced her to believe a lie rather than the truth?
And that is a key to the problem, that is, the lies (or at least misinformation) we use to conceal the truth. Whether it is Satan who tells them to us, or our own mind or ego that we hear; it is us, you and me, that listens to and believes them.
So we hear one little lie, believe it -- which sets our direction of thought, and we build upon it. Like the cornerstone of a building. Jesus said that He, as Truth, is the Cornerstone of the building. I understand this to mean if we set Truth as the cornerstone of our thinking that we will build a structure of Truth. Conversely, if our cornerstone is a Lie....?
The above could explain how we can blindly venture into a situation, and become more blind to it the farther we go. And this is true whether or not we give credit to the devil for our dilemma, or take the responsibility ourself. (And who would want to do that?)
The above creates two more questions:
Supposing there is no Satanic influence on our blindness, that is, our cornerstone lie; How do we possibly learn to see Truth when we have engulfed ourself with more and more, bigger and bigger, and more sophisticated Lies? I think of someone with agoraphobia, that is the fear of open or public places. It may begin with that person staying home, but may well end with them huddled in a dark closet.
At this final stage, how is that person to see their blindness? Of course you could say that what they need to do is get out of the house and overcome the problem. A reasonable suggestion, especially so when the problem first began and was small. But if the problem wasn't seen or dealt with when it was small, how then could it be seen and dealt with when it is huge?
Outside influence, of course, may help. But for this study we will assume that there is none, and if there was, our self-deceptive lies have covered up the fact that the problem even exists. In fact, the problem may have advanced to such a degree that we believe that anyone not huddled in their dark closet is a fool and is blindly running around in the deadly sunshine.
So then, as I see it, a person in the above situation has no way out, nor -- and what is particularly important to this study -- they could not learn or benefit from their blinded state.
Our second scenario assumes that Satan exists, and has influenced our blindness. This brings forth two options as I see it at this moment.
The first option supposes that Satan is mighty and powerful, that he is a force in opposition to God: That we are important pawns in his game he must win, or be destroyed.
"The Devil made me do it!" we cry as an excuse for our poor behavior. Can the devil in fact make any of us do what is against our will? If that is so, and he has us in his clutches -- how then can we ever expect to get free? And if we can't get free, how then can we ever learn from the experience?
The second option is that Satan is a benign influence, rather than a force. This seems to be indicated in the Bible through his encounter with Eve. He did not make Eve eat the apple, nor did he have any influence on Adam at all. No, Satan only suggested that Eve could get what she wanted if she did what she was told not to do by God.
Satan is also called a Liar from the beginning, and the Bible tends to portray him as such. (However, he used the deaths of many in his efforts to dissuade Job).
If he in fact is this subtle creature (which the Bible also describes him as being), that all he does is whisper in our ear and points us in the wrong direction -- then we must accept the responsibility for what we choose to do. We must accept that such a problem lies deep within us, and all that Satan does is tempt us to act out on it.
And if we acted according to our own will, then we can also take credit for having changed our direction once we have "seen the light, the error of our ways."
In this second option we then learn something about ourself that we would have never known. In this scenario we could even thank the devil for having taught us something that we can utilize in our relationship to ourself, to others, and to God. I doubt the devil would be happy for that, but then, who cares?
[For myself, I don't give the devil any credit at all. I assume that my own failings have nothing to do with the devil, that I am not important enough for him to even bother with, and that my own problems are brought about by my own failings and weakness. So when I finally see the light, I give thanks to God for having revealed my blindness, and for having lifted it. And I thank Him for the lessons I learned while stumbling about in that blind state.]
Is it possible that both options are valid? Maybe Satan whispers in our ear, gives us the idea, and starts us on the road to our own destruction. Then, as we journey farther down that road, we become more and more in his clutches -- which means that we turn over more power to him until we actually are under his control? That might explain why some people never learn from their dark experiences while others do.
Those are a few of the questions. If you found an answer amongst them, you did better than I, because I missed it.
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