I know it’s time for me to start preparing for the night, but I’ve actually had some interesting thoughts to share. One of them, is how much easier it is to talk and define oneself when one isn’t aware of exactly how crazy one sounds. 🙂
I have a tendency — a strong one, on reduced medication (I’ve started to get off of Prozac, which historically has helped clarify my thoughts) — to be creative and define myself in creative manners. However, what has become clear to me is just how many versions of myself I can have…and that none of them may be entirely accurate.
It’s actually really easy to define (or redefine) oneself (especially if one is delusional; meaning that no matter what evidence is presented to one that the belief is untrue, one will continue to hold the belief despite it). And it’s easy to believe these definitions of oneself are true: it’s the brain’s way, to believe itself.
The hard part is sticking to these definitions, because when you’re trying to be anything you can conceptualize, there will inevitably be holes (the true self may be beyond conceptualization). And after a while you realize that all these outgrowths are symptomatic of a deeper reality, which is that your tendency is to create and that given no creative outlet, you rewrite and re-iterate yourself, as versus your art projects or your crafts or your writing or music…or apps… 😉
(Water has been a strong theme in my life. It will seek out holes and burst dams. The more I try to hold it back, the more catastrophic the floodwaters can be.)
As I’ve moved forward in life, as versus paused to ascertain whether and how to just hold steady and avoid despair, I’ve not had time to devote to things like energy work or spiritual topics which may only hold a side-benefit of (supposedly) better health.
When I was a youth, I was drawn to Buddhist philosophies, because having a philosophy which recognized the existence of duhkha (popularly translated as “suffering,” but this is an inexact translation), and was based around relieving it, gave me some comfort. It meant I wasn’t alone in my pain.
By now, I have integrated parts of Buddhist philosophy which can help: but I don’t really think it’s…true, anymore. (Pretty much, nothing classified as, “metaphysics,” “spirituality,” or, “religion,” fall into the “undisputably true” category, with me. Even the category of “philosophy” is questionable [if you start out with the wrong givens, in philosophy, you can’t hope to follow them to truth] — although I do realize that this post is in essence, philosophical.)
People are creative — is something I’m taking as a given — and many more things can be thought of, than are true. Buddhism is a creation which has been co-created by many people over more than two millenia, which has likely helped sustain a large number of lives over the years it has been in existence…but its functionality (its usefulness) doesn’t relate to its truth value.
That is, something can be useful, and not be true. I may have, on this point, come to the realization of what is meant by the Buddhist concept of upaya (usually translated as “skilled means”). Although all explanations I’ve heard of this concept seem condescending — I’m kind of understanding, at this point, that this is both an admission that doctrine itself may not be founded on truth, and that it is still important to address duhkha in life.
Earlier tonight, I realized one thing: that people in certain spiritual communities (myself having been included among these at multiple times) have felt relatively free to say things, precisely because they felt those things with such certainty. However, my experience with mental illness has made at least one thing clear: a subjective feeling of certainty is not a determinant of truth value. What do I mean by that?
I mean that just because we think and feel and “know” something is true, that doesn’t mean it is. It’s the brain’s nature to “believe in” what it tells itself. Now it is possible to have subjective (or internal) dissonance, and that also needs to be attended to: oftentimes, it has been feelings like these which have let me know that I didn’t have both feet in reality. (There does seem to be a spectrum of, “More True”-to-“Less True,” when it comes to seeking out who one is.)
And once you’ve been around long enough, it becomes apparent when others are attempting to manipulate you for their own gain. (It’s one thing for a person to choose what to believe; it’s another for someone else to try and choose what they believe for them, in a manner that benefits the one doing the choosing and not the disempowered subject.) Just because I recognize that I cannot fully grasp reality in my mind, doesn’t mean that I think anyone else can, either.
This has been the largest reason I’ve stayed away from spiritual institutions. Although I do admit that I am now curious about attending Buddhist services.
The priest at my family member’s funeral was from a Pure Land sect: Jodo Shinshu, to be exact. But he seemed to have his head on straight, and to know what efficiently and urgently needed to be addressed.
It’s apparent to me that we tell ourselves what we need to tell ourselves in order to simply function and stay alive. In this sense, creativity in humans functions as a survival mechanism. And is this why so many creative people deal with mental illness, as well (only the most creative, survived)? I’m not sure.
It’s apparent to me as well, that religion is an outgrowth of creativity.
I’m not certain exactly what will happen if and when I succeed in entirely kicking Prozac. What I do expect is that my creative faculties will become less muted. In turn, I’ll probably become more eccentric than the way you’re used to seeing me behave. I hate to say I can’t help it, but…it’s just the space I normally inhabit.
I just have to make sure I don’t box myself in too tightly with definitions and proclamations of “truth”…because words don’t matter where it comes to what’s real.