Capturing Truth

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Creating a universe and a reality

When you create a universe, you need to make a set of rules, and those rules must make logical sense within that universe. They cannot be a hodge-podge of ideas that do not relate to each other. They must relate to one another and be consistent. From those basic sets of rules, you can then utilize your imagination to create all sorts of planets, stars, galaxies, cultures, or whatever as long as they follow the basic sets of rules you determined at the onset. These rules do not have to be complex, and there doesn’t need to be a lot of them. Just enough to help guide your imagination and keep the universe you build consistent.

That’s one of the number one rules for world-building for any sort of novel, whether it be fantasy, science fiction, or literary.

On another note, what is reality? Having just watched the movie Inception, I am forced to wonder what exactly reality is. This movie did an excellent job suspending my belief and drawing into their version of the future. The idea that someone could be trained to slip into your subconscious, walk with you in your dreams, and extract information from you without you even realizing you are in a dream – now that is a fascinating and scary idea. There is clues to give away these extractors, as they call themselves, but the idea of being able to fully experience such a dream world, to have that be your job, is mind-boggling. Anything can go in a dream. You can alter the physics of the world in a variety of ways. Reality seems to pale in comparison, and what this movie tackled was far more than just planting an idea in someone’s subconscious. No, that is part of the themes it tackles, but it also tackles the idea of reality itself and what exactly is reality to a person.

That is why I am left with the question: what is reality?

Is there a way to alter our reality? To change our fortunes in life? To somehow achieve what we always dreamed of without having to do it the hard way all the time? Can we somehow twist our reality so it favors us?

If so, then it would be nothing but a fantastical dream.

I’ve sought for a long time to believe that love is the fabric of reality; that our empathy is what separates us from the rest of creation. The fact that we can empathize and love one another is coupled with our intelligence, our ability to reason, because it is with that ability to reason that we are able to understand empathy and able to seek to understand others. They are united.

Yet there are times in life when I wonder if this is just my optimistic view of reality. That perhaps love is not the fabric of reality. If it is not, then what is? Is reality rooted in mindless chaos? Is reality rooted in this unfeeling and nihilistic concept that everything is nothing and our lives don’t truly matter? That our intelligence will only resort in more ways of destroying one another because, although empathy exists, empathy and love isn’t strong enough to battle and defeat the overriding notion that “The Other” needs to be destroyed or subjugated at all costs?

In the colonist era, this idea of subjugating or destroying to take what we need from those we came across is still rooted in our culture today. Especially those who speak English, a colonist language that was forced on a multitude of areas. In America, we have fought a great many battle to obtain equal rights for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion, but it is a fight we still seek to win. We fight against this notion that “the other” is evil and must be destroyed or subjugated and never allowed to reach the same level as “the us.” This notion that the majority, who in American is often white, Protestant, and Republican (not always this, but most are), is the “us” and all the minorities that seek equal rights throughout the ages (African Americans, women, gays and lesbians, transgender people,intersex individuals) are the “other.”

Can love and empathy overcome that? For African Americans and Women it has legalistically to some degree but there is still a lot of work to be done culturally and socially still. LGBT and intersex people are still struggling to reach the legal side of the battle at the same time they fight the cultural and social battle with Women and African Americans.

I ask myself these questions because in my reality we would all be equal and at peace. We would be able to respect our differences and rejoice in our diversity. We would seek to understand one another and not seek to destroy or undercut each other. We would work together to build a brighter, cleaner, and happier future for ourselves and our future generation; a future that would clean our world and nurture it, that would give all humanity an equal chance at a joyful existence. But my reality is not the world’s reality.

My reality is nothing but a hopeful and impossible dream.

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Wholeness

Reality is so much more than our mere five senses can analyze, and so many people restrict themselves to just those five senses. When they do, they lose sight of the more spiritual side of life. The more complex and connected side. There is more to life than just what our physical senses can see/hear/taste/smell/touch. As humans, we are complex – we have a physical (and/or sexual) side, a spiritual side, an emotional side, an intellectual side. All need to be tended to in order to be a whole person.

Often people become hung up on the spiritual and emotional side of humanity. Some would try to live without their spiritual side, but then they restrict their lives and they miss crucial aspects of reality and life.

Is spirituality the same thing as religion?
No, it is not.

What is spirituality then?
It is discovering the center of your being. Your inner most self, and from there, understanding yourself as you are in the present. Not what you hope to be tomorrow or what you were yesterday, but what and who you are in that present moment. That is the heart of spirituality. Understanding yourself and your spirit, and from there accepting your past and embracing your future. Spirituality involves loving yourself, and through that love, you can understand yourself and be able to step outside of yourself in order to empathize with and love others. Some may expand their spirituality to things outside of themselves, such as nature or other people or even a higher power of some sort.

Religion is dogma; it is rules; it is doctrine. It is concerned with the inner being, yes, but it is not necessarily about finding your inner center or understanding yourself in the present moment or even accepting yourself; either of those could be a part of the religion or they may be barely mentioned. Generally, religion is more concerned with following the will of something above yourself – the will of a higher power, and that will imprints rules on your life that you should follow in order to live a good and healthy life. Sometimes this is good for a person, and sometimes it is bad, especially when religion is taken to an extreme.

Anything taken to an extreme is usually bad for one’s well-being.

The emotional side of humanity is often neglected in cultures that view an outward display of emotion as wrong. Emotion taken to an extreme can be unhealthy for anyone, but expressing emotion is necessary for one’s health as well. It is through the expression of emotion that we are able to process traumatic/tragic/painful events. There is a multitude of ways to express emotions in a healthy manner, and one of the most poignant and captivating way is to do it through art, writing, or music. Creativity often involves emotion, and if you tried to rid yourself of emotion, you would find the well of creativity within yourself start to run dry.

There is always a balance to such things, and it is that balance that is often disrupted and may cause unhappiness or confusion or a feeling of “being lost” or even anger and pain in a person who is unbalanced and whose needs aren’t fully met.

Humans are complex beings, and in order to be healthy and whole, we need to balance all aspects of ourselves and meet our basic needs. Finding out what our basic needs are often involves spirituality to some degree as well as introspective intellectualism – that reasoning capability we all share.

To try to simplify humanity to just black and white is to lose sight of who we are as a people. We are complex; we are beautiful; and most of all, we are a spectrum of diversity. To simplify that and try to ignore it is to choose to be unhealthy and stupid.

Activities

All our human activities could possibly be summarized into three distinct categories:

Passive activities
These activities does not require an individual to create anything or exert any intense effort with their body. Instead, the individual observes with their senses, interacts with an already created object, examines objects in further detail, and/or appreciates what is perceived before them. Examples include: reading, appreciating art, watching TV, playing a video games with a hand controller or keyboard.

Creative Activities
These activities requires that an individual creates something whether with their hands or a tool of some sort, where a tool may range from sculpting tools to computers and circuitry. Examples include: writing a story, creating an artwork of any type, creating a computer programing, making a robot, writing an essay, composing music.


Exertion Activities

These activities requires an individual to use their body with or without the help of an outside object to interact with their environment. Examples include: playing an instrument, hiking, biking, playing a sport, playing a video game that requires bodily movement such as with a Wii controller.

Some may argue that playing video games may not classify under exertion activities, especially with the Nintendo Wii on the market today, which is why I specified when I used video game as an example for both passive and exertion.

I’m sure some activities could be seen as crossing over from one category to another, but then nothing is ever as simple as we, humans, may try to force it to be. There’s always a complexity to life that makes classifying things a challenge but at the same time allowing life to remain interesting.

Face yourself.

Days pass like the sharp intake of breath when you walk outside into the heavy summer heat. The world revolves slowly as it orbits the sun, the days growing longer, only to hit that point in its elliptical orbit, where the days grow shorter rather than longer. Seasons that fade in and out of time, the days a mere blink of the eye.

Nothing is accomplished. Nothing completed. Her life just a blink of an eye, her hopes and dreams crushed by the onslaught of time. Energy escapes her body and merges with the heavens; this body, depleted and worn, falls to the ground like a broken sack of sand, its guts spilled onto the forest floor. The leaves, twigs, and moss all poke her body, but it does not move for she is above it, watching as it slowly decays into the ground. The insects eat through her flesh and organs, until she is nothing more than a piece of the soil, decomposed and ready to feed the roots of trees and berry bushes.

The light of her soul is faded, barely discernible. Years ago she had been called bright, iridescent, and filled with life. Now it has faded nearly to the point of blackness, a void. She had lived past her appointed time, and now her withered soul felt the stretched feel, the sensation of being spread over too much ground. No emotions are left. The tears had long been shed; the droplets fallen like rain on a summer day. Now there is nothing. Nothing but the endless void of time with its bright beginning and its dark end.

~~~~~~~~~

Speak,
No more.
Grief permeates
the pores
of my being.

Weep,
No more.
My cheeks
stained with
blood and water.

Laugh,
no more.
no more.

~~~~~~~~~

When I seek truth, it is never what is expected. Reality is a twisted creation that can transform in the blink of an eye. It distorts and warps with the power of belief, and often what is truth has been lost by this alteration of reality.

What is love? What is truth? Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son to prove his love and loyalty, and yet in the end, was it not Abraham that was testing God? If God allowed the death of Abraham’s only son, then is God worth worshiping? Why worship pain and agony?

God stopped Abraham’s hand. Showed that God is love. Yet, in this age of disbelief and suffering, where is this God of love? Truth has been hidden. Love has been neglected and thrown aside for petty gratification or fear of love’s binding commitment. If you do not know yourself, if you are lost in your own life, how can you be there for another? How can you love anyone if you do not truly know and love yourself?

For years, I have sought answers to those questions. I have dug deep, far deeper than I ever have before and what I have discovered is no Balrog like the dwarves of Moria. No, it is the darkness of my soul that lies in the shadows of my light. There is darkness and light in us all, but many do not wish to see the darkness within them, to see their weaknesses and faults. To be shown them and to face them for it brings pain and uncertainty and most of all a gnawing doubt that this is all we are. These faults and weaknesses, which makes us vulnerable to either hurting others or others exploiting us. Yet if we do not dig deep and seek ourselves, our true selves, and see what we are, then how can we ever truly know ourselves?

I have great faults. I have my weaknesses, but I have my strengths as well. The light within my heart still shines, even as it is clouded with pain and grief. For several years I wondered if my light, that had brightened my way and those of whom I loved, had somehow died. That perhaps I was past my appointed time, and I was living for nothing.

To think such thoughts is to give in to the darkness in my soul. No, I have worth. People may consciously or even unconsciously try to take my worth, dash my hopes, exploit my loyalty and love, but in the end, they will fail for in the end, I am myself and I am alone. I walk alone in this life, and I recognize that this is never what I wanted. To be alone.

Naked in the dark, a ring of fire engulfs my vision. I have seen the possibilities within my future, and I have seen the pain and suffering that is forever imprinted on my past and future. The questions I demand of God have gone unanswered, for I am left with riddles for answers, riddles I do not understand and cannot decipher and so I have no answers.

What is love? It is the giving of one’s spirit to another. Who would do this? No one on this earth, and it is folly to think anyone would dare try. To do so would be to leave one so vulnerable and exposed that the fear of such a thing would destroy any chance to truly give of oneself to another. Yet, this is what I do. Again and again, I give of myself to another; I purposely leave myself exposed and naked in their presence, and again and again I am smited, exploited, torn asunder, or left behind as the other runs. My heart bleeds from such wounds, and I weep from the grief. I try to cloak myself in anonymity or seek an activity that will spirit me away from this pain, this truth of who I am. I give to others far more than I give to my own self, but even then, even when I try, I am left with nothing but the air in my hands and the tears on my cheeks.

I am weary. My soul is spent. I need rest, but I will not find any here. No, not in this world. I must continue forward, all the while knowing that in my uncertain and nebulous future, I am bound to experience more pain and suffering amidst brief and glorious joys. My hope of not being alone still exists, but it is frail. I have sought myself, and what I have found both frightens and amazes myself. There is potential but there is also despair.

Suffering

How do you handle pain? Such a negative and stark emotion. It leaves you bare and vulnerable, and to be vulnerable means you are no longer protected behind your mask. For do we not all wear masks? These masks that hide our true selves. For some, the masks become so entrenched that they can no longer see their own self. They lose touch with their emotions and inner desires, and confusion may reign, but what to do then? Why not put on another mask? Create an identity and live on the surface, never digging too deep. Constantly running from your own inner pain. You hope that the faster you run, the more masks you were, that in the end you will escape your pain and be free.

But that is not how life works. Pain and suffering catches up to us soon enough, and if we are ever able to grow and thrive as a healthy human being, we must face that inner pain and walk through it to the other side. In this age, who is willing to go through such a hardship? Is it not easier to just tuck the pain away and forget about it?

Pain doesn’t go away, it manifests itself in different ways, affecting your life in ways you may not expect. Like a deep wound to your side, if left forgotten, hidden by clothes and sanitized cloths, hoping against hope that if it is ignored, the pain shoved far from your mind, you can forget the deep side wound, but it is still there, blood is lost and infection takes root. You begin to notice your vision is spotted on occasion, that you are weaker than you normally are, that what you used to be able to handle is a hardship, and so you withdraw, seeking new ways to avoid the truth. Another mask to keep people from drifting too close and smelling the stench of death on your body. The infection begins to take root in not just your side wound, but also your inner organs. You are weaker and more frail, and it is then that you realize, as you now lie close to death, that because you did not care for that wound, because you did not seek to heal it, it has taken your life from you. Your masks cannot save you.

Only you can save yourself. Healing will require pain as well as hope. This is a lesson I have learned years ago, and so I fight through my pain again and again, but it is far too often that I stand on the sidelines and watch this happen to someone I love. It doesn’t matter what I do, for in the end, I cannot save them. I can only reach out a hand of support as they save themselves, and I can only hope and pray that they will come to the realization and seek to save themselves before they die on the inside.

It is not the outward death that most experience. It is not suicide of which I speak. It is the death of the soul. Far too many draw close to such a death, and some escape, healing with time and energy and determination. Others never make it, and there is a death inside of them, one from which they never truly recover. It is heart-breaking to watch.

There is far too many in my life right now that are near that edge. I hope and pray for them, reaching out my hand in support, but it is not enough. If they do not wish to save themselves, there is nothing I can do. Until they realize this truth themselves, I can only watch. This is the true pain of empathy, understanding someone else to the point of understanding and watching helplessly the pain and suffering another must face.

This is why it is best we cannot see the future. For if we saw the suffering we may experience, who would wish to live? Would any of us be strong enough? I would like to believe we would be, but often I am left wondering that if I knew what would happen to me, knowing that I could not avoid such a fate, how would I respond? Would I try to live the best I could anyway? I’d like to think I would. It the same mind exercise I put myself through when I contemplate the idea if a friend of mine was about to die – would I seek to save their life but lose my own? This is the ultimate love, giving of yourself so another may live. I would like to believe I would. That is the kind of person I have sought hard to be.

That is not what others have decided to be. Not all make the same decisions and not all of us deal with the pain and suffering of the world in the same way. To seek to understand these differences is the most we can do, and accept that dealing with suffering involves many different paths, but it is up to the person experiencing it to understand what paths are healthy for them and what are not. Otherwise, they too will fall down the dark path of masks and running from the truth.

Word

What is the meaning of a particular word? Each meaning derived from a dictionary shows that words are a multi-faceted gem. A rainbow of meanings that, depending on the situation, may alter a sentence in unforeseen ways. How does one interpret a word? It is for the most part subjective since the person reading it determines it through context of a sentence and their own limited understanding of meanings of words. It is so easy to misunderstand, despite one’s attempts to be as clear as possible.

Language this complex interface upon which humanity communicates with one another. It is a delectable and confusing jumble that creates a semi-common ground between those of the same language, and even between languages, communication is fraught with sinkholes and quakes as the speaker stumbles through a new system of meaning that differs either slightly or greatly from one’s own native system.

I sit here and ponder the words that I have typed and I wonder how people will interpret this entry. What is the message you believe I’m trying to convey?

Words.
Symbols and characters that devise a meaning to some particular object, idea, concept, person, creature, part of the universe – and even the naming of an object and deriving a meaning for that name is a bit obscure and perhaps random based on the unpredictability of humanity’s different ways of thinking and interpreting the world. People may search and seek to find a universal language – to undo the language calamity of the Tower of Babel – but in the end, the world is too diverse, the native languages already in existence, too strong and enticing, and new universal language attempts never take hold for long once the excitement dies down. Learning a language takes time, and even if one constructed a logically sound or mathematical based language, often its usability is called into question for the language has such a high learning curve that those that aspire in excitement to mastering it and spreading it to all they know are soon hindered and frustrated that their efforts are not immediately rewarded.

Today we live in a culture that demands instant gratification. Learning a language does not allow for that, no matter how hard companies may attempt to construct a program or device or meditation CD that promises to impart language into one’s brain in a matter of hours, minutes, seconds. False promises abound, and the person, seeking to learn a language, is left with the old method of hard work and perseverance as well as many long weeks and months and years of practice. Language acquisition is a challenge, especially once we leave the golden years of early childhood, where are brains are more attune to the sounds of various languages. A young child, especially a toddler, hears the sounds of languages, imitates them, and then constructs meaning from these sounds. We, as adults, attempt new languages in the opposite manner: we construct meanings from the sounds that we hear. Is this why language has become a challenge for those of us in our later years?

Perhaps. In the end, we are still left with these words – words that represent the universe and everything contained within it including our attempts to construct meaning and understanding despite the complexity and confusion at which this universe excels.

Do No Forget.

Memories,
snippets of time

Jumbled, shattered images
dance across my vision
pedaling furiously on my bike
wind against my face and body
hands grip warm handlebars.

Jumbled, crumpled images
strewn across my mind
footprint in the snow
water trickles down throat
pressure of a hand on my shoulder

Jumbled, tattered images
tumble through my heart
lips upturned in a smile
fingers massaging my back
arms encircle me in embrace.

Poetry comes and goes with the flow of time and space.

This world in which we live is quite harsh and cruel and to deny this is to fail to see the reality that surrounds us. In my life, I have striven to see the good in people and the situations in which I find myself; however, there are times when finding the good in someone or something is near impossible. Too much pain and suffering, alienation and discrimination – sometimes no matter how hard I try to be optimistic, the good is nowhere to be found. My hope is crushed, and I am faced with grim reality: empathy is not highly valued. It is rare to find anyone who is truly empathetic, and sometimes it is a great challenge to find people who are not self-centered, seeking only new ways to further their own pleasure and ambition.

Even now, I still believe that the only true way to live one’s life is to live a life of love. To not do so, is to live a self-centered and sour life, where empathy is scarce and life ceases to have meaning.

“The greatest act of love is to die for one’s friend.” ~ Jesus Christ

As a child, I sought to understand those words.
As a teenager, I tried hard to live those words.
As an adult, I continue to try to live those words.

On a trip with a friend to the mountains, I lived those words. Our mutual friend had stepped in a frozen lake, experiencing great pain and dangerous cold. As I warmed her feet with my hand warmers and a sports bra from my other friend, I looked at my own feet. The warm mountain socks had kept my feet warm and safe despite the drifts of snow and the fact snow had fallen into my sneakers. I took off those socks without hesitation and had her wear them. We headed down toward safety, and the snow continued to slide into my shoes, but this time my feet ached from the cold. I began to lose feeling in my toes. My friends stopped me and forced me to sit down. She gave me back my socks, and all of us made it down the mountain without losing any toes.

What lesson did we all learn that day? Empathy.

We cared for one another, showed love through our actions by helping one another through a dangerous situation, and we survived because we worked together and shared what we had. A rare but potent moment – one none of us will ever forget. I hope that the lesson we learned – the lesson of empathy stays with us through life, despite the grim reality that surrounds us daily.

This is the one truth we cannot forget. The true meaning of life: Empathy and love. Without both, life becomes nothing more than a self-centered and harsh exploitation of others, where the end result is a never-ending search for more. Love and empathy grounds us and keeps us from being consumed by the search for more fun, more money, more exploitation. Sadly enough, our world doesn’t have enough love or empathy; therefore, suffering is rampant.

What else is there to say?