As I see it, we move through this thing called ‘my life’ until, at some point, our sense of ownership and control over it is exposed as the illusion it’s always been.
We spend years – decades – believing otherwise; that we have the reins, are making decisions, are responsible for the accomplishments and failures and everything in between.
Meanwhile, the whispered urgings of the intelligence behind this whole mesmerizing illusion are ignored. The louder or more persistent it whispers, the harder we work to drown it out – work, drugs, sex, materialism, you know the drill.
‘I,’ you see, am too busy for ‘It.’
At last comes the message that cannot be denied – perhaps a terminal diagnosis or the loss of a loved one – and life demonstrates what some part of us always knew and feared: that it was in charge all along.
Suddenly all of those experiences and achievements and acquisitions seem crushingly, achingly empty. And those whispered urgings for so long ignored? Replaced by the thunderous silence of malignant shadows on a medical scan or the empty gaze of a corpse in the bed. Life will not be denied, even if it must wait for death to teach us.
Even in our depression and grief, life – awesome, benevolent, gracious life – is calling out to us if we will but listen.
But old habits die hard, don’t they? The ‘me’ kicks back into gear to once again take charge. It seeks psychological intervention to understand the pain and medications to run interference with it. Most important of all, it seeks to make sense of the pain in the only way it knows how: the mind.
And so the mental-me, the I-thought, begins to script out new stories to accommodate this sudden, dramatic transition, to make sense of things, to secure a peace it has never known, can never know. Slow learners, we humans.
Meanwhile, the whispered urgings patiently recommence. If not in this life, maybe the next?