Memory and truth are, and always will be, uncomfortable bedfellows. Memory is never exact but rather a construct built by the individual to make sense of their experiences. Sometimes the process of memory, remembering, is conscious and sometimes it is not. Some of us may never become aware of how or why we remember things in a certain way. Others of us will consciously write and rewrite our memories, eating up all of the information afforded to us through our lives. Most of us will fall somewhere in between, drifting from consciousness to unconsciousness as needed. Instinctively knowing what to retain and how to retain it to survive.
How we remember enables our ability to carry on with our day to day lives. Denial might serve to help us live through whatever it is we need to forget. Creating a sense of right and wrong might help us ignore how we might be complicit in our own trials.
Each perspective feels like truth, and is in fact at least one person’s truth. Complete and whole for that person, but paradoxically it is also only part of the whole - a mother might remember an event differently to a son, and the differences might seem incompatible to each but who’s right is it to call the other a liar? Cannot these two versions of what should be the same memory exist together, wholeheartedly and in truth?
What is truth and what is so important about it? The word itself stands above us, monolithic in its hold over how we connect. The truth becomes something we think we must discover, through a process of elimination and investigation we think we can unearth it. Archeologist, artists and scientists all hunt for it, teachers teach it.
Truth is singular; there can only be one. Or is it?
I may speak in the first person singular but I am talking about the third person plural. All of our individual stories, the narratives of our lives, tell much more than just our personal journeys. When we speak up we speak out for others. The details are never exactly the same, but the details are ultimately unimportant. The truths we speak of are universal, even when they may seem conflicting or contradictory.
Paradoxes exist as truth. Yin and yang.
Memory is not exact, and the process of remembering is not scientific. We remember what we want to remember. The facts as we see them are not the only way to see them. Two different memories of the exact same event can be different and still both be true. Both mother and son speak from their truth, which is bigger than the single event which they are narrating. All narrators are unreliable, but what they reveal through how they tell their stories are the emotions and the relationships the teller has to these emotions.
FREEDOM FROM HAPPENSTANCE
The narrative is just information, the truth lives in how we feel. When we can become conscious in the telling of our stories we can learn how to actively write our own lives, we can choose our truths. And the truths we live are through choice, even if we are often trapped by our perception of the past. Boxed in by our need to blame rather than accept, our inability to see the past as information from which we can and should grow. To forget the pain is not to forget the memory. Use the emotion to leave behind the terror and fear of the dark nights and rise into a daybreak that is wondrously clear.
Even anger can lead to a clarifying expansion of self when we let go of the language of violence.
Choose the truth you want to speak, and speak it knowing that your truth doesn’t negate the truths of others. Practice and embody your truth, be that which you want to see in the world.
Listen to see and not to judge. Learn to hold more than one paradigm at once. Care deeply about your truth and still be unattached to a specific outcome, keep your heart, mind and will open to the diversity and commonality of feeling.
PASS IT FORWARD
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