Last night, I signed up for the World Tarot Exchange. It was right before I went to bed, so I was too tired to censor myself the way that I normally do. In the field where I was meant to type my question, I wrote this:
“I’ve been putting all of my efforts and energy into becoming a self-actualized person. I have a tendency to distance myself from people, partially because I’m uncomfortable with conflict and intimacy, and partially because I’m afraid that I will fail them, or that they will judge me and abandon me. I know that this is a complex of my own making, or at least of my own perpetuation. I feel that it is the largest obstacle that I have in transitioning from a “caged bird” to a “free bird”. Given that, here’s my question: what can I do to overcome this wariness and distrust of others? How can I truly open my heart and be the integrated, compassionate person that I so strongly desire to be?”
The question poured out of me organically—I edited nothing, changed nothing, and clicked “submit” without a second thought (and it’s more than I can say for this post). I realized that everything I had confessed, vulnerable and incriminating as it was, was true, and that there was value in that truth.
In fact, I realized that truth is the only thing that holds value.
I went into my room and stared at my face in the mirror. I looked into the reflection of my eyes and my pulse began to quicken; it was almost as if I was afraid to look at myself, to try and see myself objectively. The longer I gazed, the more disturbed I became, and the more accountable I became to myself. Myself looked at me accusatorily—what have you been doing to me? it seemed to ask. Why do you deny me with overwrought thoughts and carefully constructed delusions? Who do you think you are to put me in a cage? What gives you the right?
Nothing, was all I could think in response.
There are many facets to who each of us are, and we fulfill many roles in the delicate web of our lives. How are we to face the constant challenges of life if we can barely face ourselves? How can we expect to be anything but confused if we refuse to see the truth?
The call to honesty is the deepest call that anyone can answer. I know that I haven’t answered it, but that I will not find peace until I do.
The Osho Zen Tarot arrived in my mailbox two days ago, and since then, I’ve been deeply haunted by its imagery. I’m drawn most powerfully to the suit of clouds and the strikingly negative portrait it paints of the machinations of Mind. This faculty has given us the ability to realize our mortality and to perceive ourselves the way that others perceive us. It has also given us the ability to imagine different lives for ourselves, and for many reasons, this is both miraculous and devastating. We have the ability to captain our own ship, to choose life or, as Rents of Trainspotting so aptly put it, to choose “not to choose life”. It is the latter choice that ultimately damns us, that perpetuates the cycle of pain and suffering we seem inescapably drawn to. We are on the brink of an enormous shift in consciousness, one that promises to release us from this cycle, but in order to transition we must undertake the most difficult challenge that’s ever been presented to us. Living in truth, I believe, is the hardest thing that we could ever do. It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. I have yet to meet anyone who resides in this space, and if I were to apply the scientific method, I’d have to conclude that it’s impossible to do so.
But I don’t believe it’s impossible. If I’m wrong, I still believe that it’s something worth striving for, if not for the self, than for the fate of Consciousness at large. The Osho Zen addresses this conundrum unabashedly, and promises that the truth already exists whether we acknowledge it or not.
There are many things that I deem subpar about this post. I could go back and revise it a hundred times and still be unsatisfied. Even so, I think it humbly attempts to answer, at least in part, the call to truth that I feel in my soul, and so I’m offering it to you. I hope that it may, in some small way, help you to shake off your shackles and walk through the invisible walls of your prison. I hope, in some small way, that connecting with you may help me walk through the walls of mine, so we can all be free of “fear, doubt, and disbelief”. I wish all of us freedom from mind.