“Don’t believe everything you think”
- How do you find peace? - I asked that man.
I only knew him for a day. It was my first year of volunteering in Israel: I was still trying to get to see the country, so I was wandering around a lot. One of those weekends, I had been staying at his apartment. He was just my host. But he spoke calmly, moved calmly, and his home was soaked in peace. So I decided that he must have already learned something.
- I think that the most important thing is not to believe everything you think, - he replied. - We complicate our lives by believing that everything we think is real and universally true.
Today I can calmly look at what I was once starving for.
Today I sometimes miss the things that once I had too much in my life.
Today I am a little ashamed about what I once spit out in anger as the truth of that day.
Today, I am pleasantly surprised to realize that things that once looked painfully inaccessible to me, became a part of my daily routine.
So how was it, for real?
For real, at specific points, I just had been lacking peace of mind in accepting the present.
I am very interested in the way we see the world. Physically. It’s fascinating that the colors and shades as we see them depend on the architecture of our eye; that animals and even other people may see the same scenery in a completely different way.
Have you ever watched a documentary about the night vision of some animals? I have seen a few. It was enough to feel like a complete visual idiot.
The night is not the only case - to dogs, for example, we appear as a bit greenish creatures. And the sky is nicely pink to them. That is their truth.
Which truth is more true? Yours or the one of the dog?
I keep on remembering a buddy with a congenital color vision deficiency. During the parties (or, should I say, towards the end of them), other mates would always start pointing at random things around them, asking what the color of this or that thing was. Well, we all know that there is no space for decency in close friendships, right? So that friend of mine used to say, that khaki does not exist: „There is no such color. All of you are making it up“.
So are we making it up, or not? Is the “Congenital Color Vision Deficiency“ a disorder just because the vast majority of us see things differently?
“Vast Majority of Us.” I used to think a lot about it while working with people with intellectual disabilities. Yes, I have no medical knowledge - but neither do I intend to claim anything about it. I raise this issue as a human being, living among other human beings. Not among diagnoses. In a sense, I am also a diagnosis. Look, who’s giggling - you are, too. But I feel that sooner or later, we all meet at the point where, first and foremost, we are just human beings.
Let us return to the connection of reality with, for example, a memory. One of the residents of the hostel I had been volunteering at had Alzheimer’s. She used to greet me each and every time I entered the room. She used to drop anything that she had been doing, push back a chair of almost the same size as herself, run to me, hug me and yell cheerfully: “Oh, it’s you!!! I didn’t know you’re coming!” For the third time in the same hour.
Is her joy less real or meaningful in the context of our reality and consciousness?
You who think it is meaningless - stand up, I want to look you in the eye.
Another resident of the house was sometimes visited by her sister. She used to wait for her impatiently and meet her very joyfully. The sister used to take her for a walk. Each time the resident would lift her head up and proudly announce it to everyone, who was staying in the shadows of the house: “Bye, we’re going for a walk!” It was her best chance to show off a little bit. All of us have to sometimes, right?
Once, after such a visit, I sat down next to her and asked:
- So, how was your stroll? Where have you been?
- With your sister. Where have you both been?
- With my sister?
- Well, yes, your sister had come an hour ago, and you went out somewhere together…
- Oh, really?
- Don’t you remember it?
(She falls silent. My soul starts itching. I already want to withdraw my question. Rewind-and-delete, rewind-and-delete. Do you want a candy?)
- No… My sister?…
(Her face sinks into sadness. It turns out you can lose something even if you never thought you had it. Good job, Vika. Looks like perfect timing to offer that candy of yours. You might as well just dig yourself under the ground.)
Does the fact that this woman‘s memory disappeared just in a couple of minutes mean that it's not worth it for her sister to visit her at all?
When I look back to some of my own experiences that I had to slop through, it seems to me that the same can be told about our inner look. It also depends on a particular perspective of emotional light, experience, memory, and time. Therefore, since our inner world has no physical structure to be limited by, sometimes it encompasses even complete opposites.
At some point in our lives, we can be immensely happy and see the sky in pink, while The Studious Ones will be naming us as The Silly Ones.
Fighting through the savage night of our soul, we will train a sharp, piercing inner vision. Such that we would have never had imagined under any other circumstances.
Continually longing for the joy we once experienced, we will raise memories of it to heaven and glorify it. Again and again. This coal from the bonfire is now a diamond!
When sunken into hardship, the adventure we have just had will evaporate from our heads in only a few minutes.
Once we step out of the storm of fresh happiness, we turn it into everyday life, without being shaken by the emotional vortex at every corner anymore.
Is it bad? Is it less important or real?
All of it is true. But tomorrow, the truth may change. Experiencing something to the fullest and accepting it is as important as letting it go.
Everything and nothing, nothing and everything. Life - it just is, here and now.
“Don’t believe everything you think.”