The lingering point (for me today – tomorrow may be another revelation) from the most amazing talk ever*, is this: We do not see ourselves as we are. We see ourselves as we think other people see us.
Whether I hold the speakers words correctly, or have modified them for meditation is irrelevant. If I am honest, I must agree with what I remember, that I do see myself through a series of imperfect, human reflections… when I am looking through my own eyes.
My only reprieve is when I bow my head in supplication. Bahá’u’lláh, speaking for our Creator, wrote, “Noble have I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself?” During prayer, my opinions fade and I am humbled, focused on honoring reality (rather than judging it), listening.
Out of this blessed trance, I reach for a sense of my nobility, and yours, recognize wisps of assistance, but when I turn my head, I see only the world; a messy tangle of efforts.
“The world is but a show, vain and empty, a mere nothing bearing the semblance of reality. Set not your affections upon it.”** I stretch to see beyond what is most evident, to recognize possibilities for beauty few among us would believe possible, a time when the Golden Rule is a common measure. This is also where I place my hope.
Raising children grounds me. I cannot hide out in a haze of good intentions, safely setting my own pace, careful to not test my limits. I wake each morning aware that I am on, in, surrounded, and gifted with an opportunity to live it. My limits will be pushed. I will be granted one moment after another where I can choose a creative, thoughtful action/response, or I can fall back on imitations of generations past.
In the mirror I am often surprised by my physical image, as if presented with a stranger, so different do I appear than the way I see myself when I focus on my work – educating the next generation.
I know this for certain: We are spirit, and not our temporary physical form.
*These thoughts were triggered by, but not directly related to, an indescribably amazing talk on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary. (The talk is divided into in several videos. At the end of each section, the next is offered.)
**From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh