Armina Dobrică

Do you swear to tell the truth

How many times have we said “What I don’t know, won’t hurt me”? “I’d better not think about it anymore…just get through today, tomorrow and we’ll see…next year will be different.” Funny! Sometimes we’re arrogant enough to think that we can hide something from our mind. We already know everything we want and don’t want to know about ourselves. Best case scenario, we’re slamming the door shut in hope we’ll get rid of everything. But trust me, we know what’s behind the door.

It ain’t what you don’t know that will hurt you. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

Mark Twain

I wish I could tell you that we can at least run, but can’t hide. The truth is that for every step we take moving away from ourselves, our mind takes two in the opposite direction. The downside is that it’ll smack us on the back of the head while it passes us by. Why? Because our souls really don’t like liars who lie.

We read personal development books, we listen to motivational speeches, we explore new religions, bizarre concepts, we watch twisted movies and we experience none of it. We like the idea of growing and evolving more than evolution itself. And we really hate putting in the work, making those tough decisions.

Neale Donald Walsch said:

“The soul—your soul—knows all there is to know all the time. There’s nothing hidden to it, nothing unknown. Yet knowing is not enough. The soul seeks to experience. You can know yourself to be generous, but unless you do something which displays generosity, you have nothing but a concept. You can know yourself to be kind, but unless you do someone a kindness, you have nothing but an idea about yourself.”

The whole truth

One afternoon I heard a knock on the door. By the time I opened it, the person had already climbed down the stairs, but I still said “Hello”. A young man, couldn’t have been older than seventeen, quickly appeared in the small hall of the floor below. “Sorry to bother you, I was wondering if you have anything to eat.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t.”

I closed the door thinking to myself “poor boy”. Then, in a split second, a massive wave of shame came over me. I felt like a hypocrite. What would my pity thoughts do for him? I opened the door like a lunatic and I yelled:

“Hey, wait. I think I have something in the fridge. Let me check.”

I found a casserole with some beef stew, put it in a plastic bag and went back to the door. He asked if he could have some bread too, so I gave him a loaf. He thanked me with a big smile on his face and sat down on the stairs. I closed the door. Do you know those moments when you shut the door and then feel like bumping your head against it? That was me. I opened the door again.

“Are you going to eat here?”

“Yes. I’m kindda hungry.”

“But the food is cold. Come on in. I’ll heat it up.”

He went to the bathroom and washed his hands. While he was eating, he told me he’s an orphan, living in the park. They had recently kicked him out of foster home, when he turned eighteen. He talked about his friends, a girl he liked, but who didn’t like him back, how he wants to become a bartender. When he finished eating, I asked if he wanted some watermelon too. He said it would make him the happiest man on Earth. I cut a big slice, put it on a plate, and then handed it to him, together with the biggest knife in my kitchen. I didn’t even realize it until I saw it in his hands. And yet…nothing happened. He was just a sweet, kind boy who had it rough. I gave him a sweater, a couple of t-shirts, some money and my phone number. I never saw him or heard from him ever since.                

For the rest of the day I wondered why watermelon doesn’t make us all happy. Why we crave…everything we don’t have. Why knowing isn’t the same with being.

And nothing but the truth

I think the more we know, the more we think we know. The more we think we know, the more we want to know. However, we don’t know what we need to know. We just like knowing so much, that we never go back. Back to us, back to our true nature. And sometimes, we can’t move forward, without going back. Sometimes we need to pause for a while, take a deep breath, and accept that maybe we need a do-over, a second chance, or even a fresh start.

But we think it’s beneath us; we see it as a failure. We think pushing forward means that we are strong, unbreakable. Not true! Even Spiderman had to go back to being Peter Parker, before he really became a superhero. So, when we get too comfy in our little web of lies, we should remember this:

Our mind knows it all. Always has, always will. 

Our intelligence is our worst enemy and our best friend. It depends on how we choose to see it and most importantly, how we use it. You already know what I’m about to say, but indulge me, cause Freud painted a pretty picture, linking the mind to an iceberg.

He says that the tip of the iceberg, what we can see above the water, is the conscious mind. These are things that we are aware of – the constant babble that’s going on inside our head every second of waking hour.  

The subconscious or preconscious mind is the part of the iceberg submerged under water, but still visible. It’s supposed to store easily accessible memories or information that we can “transport” into the conscious mind in a blink of an eye. It’s why we can think about not having milk in the fridge, while driving or doing…other stuff.

The unconscious, however, is like a big hairy Neanderthal operating heavy machinery at NASA. It consists of primitive, instinctual wishes and information that we cannot access, while processing terabytes over terabytes of data that the human brain captures every fraction of a second. And it stores more memories then . Only less hilarious. To most people, understanding the unconscious is like trying to teach grandma to use Linux. Good luck with that. It’s the part of the iceberg that we never see, and sadly, we’re acting like the Titanic.         

We are up against a “freaky monster” that doesn’t give a fudge about us. It just applies a twisted algorithm that can, without a doubt, ruin our lives if we don’t learn how to make friends with it. Running away from it is rarely even a temporary solution. Maybe we can shut it up for a while. But it will run in silent mode and we won’t even know what’s coming.

Sometimes, it puts us through unimaginable pain just so that we’d listen to our own truth. It sabotages everything we do, on purpose, and it messes us up like nothing else, only to force us to accept what we already know, deep inside.

And we do know it, with every fiber of our being, but we don’t follow through. Instead, we ask “why?” “Why God? Why did you do this to me?” “What did I do to deserve it?” If we think God has the time or the mood to do bad stuff to us, we are sadly mistaken. We have been designed to function perfectly on our own. Nobody does things to us, except for us. People just do things. Even when we can’t find any rational explanation for it.

So help you God

Whenever I think about the irony of lying to ourselves, I remember Chandler, from Friends.

Sure, we can joke our way through life all we want, not taking responsibility for who we are and who we’re meant to become, not being in touch with our deepest desires, not having the courage to reach out and grab whatever it is our heart longs for. We can do that and hope that on our death beds will be at peace with the decisions we’ve made, not wondering about the coulda-shoulda-wouldas.

Or we can embrace our truth and swear to never let it go. As Marianne Williamson beautifully said:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

As we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

You might have noticed I haven’t said anything about being honest with other people. That’s because honesty is a byproduct of living in our own truth, not a goal in itself. We cannot be truthful to others while lying to ourselves. It’s like trying to put a roof on top of a house with no walls.

It doesn’t matter where you are in your life right now. Acknowledge your truth and scream it from the top of your lungs. It’s liberating and empowering at the same time. They say if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. This can either mean a wonderful, spontaneous journey or a pointless, aimless endeavor, depending on how you read it. I think that if you don’t know who your are, any life will be just fine. The question is: Do you want it to be just fine?