We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. – Kurt Vonnegut
As I get older, pretense drops away like autumn leaves. Some parts I have played became obsolete years ago, but the related emotions remained deeply-rooted to my spirit for far longer. The clever artifice of pretend characteristics became integrated into my self-image. I believed what I pretended to be, and those soul tattoos could not be erased easily. Over years of self-doubt, costumed mannerisms were for adopted for self-protection and provided the “edge” I needed to rebuild my self. No matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back. – Albert Camus.
In order to survive adversity, the human spirit must grow stronger by believing in the possibility of survival. Overcoming the most difficult times, awakened and empowered a spirit within me. That spirit has flourished not by direct focus, but through more indirect absorption from observing nature. Wordless wisdom abounds in tracks of abstract designs and transcendental patterns. Although direct interpretation into words is impossible, deeper decipherment can be sought through the mind’s eye. Abstract art is energy and motion made visible – memories arrested in space – Jackson Pollock
For millennia, humans have studied nature for portents of the near future. Noticing changes in the local environment is a deep-seated survival skill. Walking without labeling helps develop a deeper connection to the real world and brings out our authentic self. Silence the rational mind. Peel back the veneer. In the Hindu belief system, the Veils of Maya distort our perceptions and keep us from viewing the actual reality before us. In Christianity, believers are warned not to become too enamored of this physical world which would prevent the soul from entering the eternal realm. Tibetan Buddhism speaks of Moha – delusion and ignorance, which is the opposite of insight and wisdom. And in Zen, Makyō is the realm of demons of self-delusion. So many beliefs tell us to drop our pretenses in order to discover strive for enlightenment. Only the hand that erases can write the true thing. – Meister Eckhart
Just as a painting is not not reality, our preconceptions color the way we see the world around us. There is so much more to the so-called mundane, common world in which we live. Bask in the unrefined as your unadorned self. Find peace by finding your true self. Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate of All Wonders. – Huang Po (Zen Master, 720-840)
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