We’re funny beings… If you’re reading this post live in 2022 A.D., you have access to technology and a sophisticated infrastructure unlike those prior to the 1980’s – when the Internet and computers were broadly made available. You are on the leading edge of pushing your “meat suit” through experiences that were unimagined just 100 years ago – not to mention those who formed our languages several centuries or maybe thousands of years ago.
Although this sophistication has accelerated your access to information and your ability to participate in a new type of experience in social media, your “meat suit” – body, nervous system, brain, mind, emotions, operating system, and spirituality have not received such a boost. They may have “upped their game” or be challenged at unprecedented levels, but it’s unclear, a mystery to me at least, if they’re keeping up.
So there’s part of us that’s so sophisticated and another part that remains much as it has been operating for years, generations. Rule sets get passed down from one generation to the next. Fathers and sons have classical, predictable conflicts. Husbands and wives go through stages or separate or divorce. We find new needs and freedoms to be claimed more fitting with what we really want. On the other hand, we’re still fighting wars the old fashioned way as we’re painfully reminded by Russia/Ukraine. There’s this transparency that’s exposing injustice and inadequacies in our institutions, laws and how we value or neglect certain people.
So as I’ve worked my way through my own life, I’m drawn to bring focus to an observation that is surprising to me. It’s surprising because we have so many means of sharing information today. But I observe, often in some degree of empathy and/or pain myself, so many simple misunderstandings, miscommunications, people talking or expressing themself but not feeling heard. It doesn’t take too much of a keen eye to spot the more flagrant misunderstandings. These polarities are even amplified by politicians and advertisers and so many of us end up feeling so powerless in a world of “favorites” and lists that define who we are (are want to be).
To stay on point here – perhaps we have too many ways to express ourselves AND we, by our human nature, don’t naturally receive, collect, examine and connect fully with the sender. They may not be telling us what we want to hear! We may be preoccupied with putting food on the table, worried about someone, or celebrating a big win!
I must confess at various points in my life, I was so overwhelmed dealing with deeply disturbing personal issues that I couldn’t hear anything else but my own inner dialogue. External life seemed to sound like that teacher speaking in a blurred voice in those old Charlie Brown cartoons. I heard “I love you and I’d live under a bridge with you if we had too”, but I didn’t hear or understand the cries for attention and help.
This particular not-listening to which I’m confessing was due to the drama unfolding in my life – multiple channels simultaneously. The conflicts and surprises in relationships. The tension of being in a risky business and putting it ALL on the line for a greater cause! Working late with the risk that a partner or spouse would be lonely or have doubts.
As I kept watching, I saw a some patterns surfacing to the dramas. As I looked deeper I noticed similarities in the circumstances and participants, even though their names and appearances may have changed from one episode to the next.
As I opened up and talked to others about my own self observations, I learned a lot of people were confused – I knew I was confused and finally when I realized how confusing I was to everyone else, I had to step away from it all – or rather life threw me into a frenzy because I didn’t have the sense to do it on my own.
Lots of people said they wanted to go right, but when they were honest with themself, they were always finding themself going left. They’d say they wanted one thing and quietly stand by watching things happen just the opposite. Ahh, the mystery! The cause and effect? Get what you deserve? Or need?
But there were always anomalies. There were a few who actually went the direction they wanted to go, i.e. they went right when they said go right. And then there were all these systems and even sermons and lessons about how things should be.
Now if you expected that I’d arrive at some magical conclusion here, I’m going to disappoint you. Shocking! Each life is unique. Each being. Each unfolding. Each answer has a special signature that only may be unraveled, examined and reached by the person living that life.
I will drop a line in here about underlying trauma and how I’m seeing it surface in people today who I encounter. These shadows of circumstances that were not 100% dealt with at the time a person was shocked by life, had a compromise or life change imposed upon them, those suppressed feelings lead to disease and unhealthy patterns in life. Patterns that steal one’s joy. The giving is fueled by guilt. The achievement is motivated by low self esteem. Eventually the truth comes out in a stroke or heart attack, cancer diagnoses, bankruptcy, divorce, betrayal or a repressed memory so disturbing it borders upon madness.
The higher ground is likely in better understanding oneself and thereby understanding others, accepting oneself and others, as they are for starters. From that foundation much more is possible. But it only happens one person at a time.