I have been going back over old writings recently and as is often the way, things written long ago come to my eyes as if written by another hand and heart. Meaning leaps from the page, revelations lurk behind each word and understanding dawns as if for the first time. And yet, the words which bring these gifts are my own.
How could I write what I did not understand? Where did the words arise to capture such ephemeral wisps of thought? Ideas, teachings, wisdom I do not possess stare back at me from the page as if they have materialised from some other reality where the hand that wrote them had far greater depth than I. And yet, I know that hand was mine.
The words written years ago have become part of the yellowed paper. Thoughts were manifested within the letters scrawled across the page. They have not changed. Yet I might have written in invisible ink for all I understood as I wrote, so what has changed? I have, of course… the years, the continuous learning curve of life, the multitude of experiences, knowledge gained and illusions lost… all contribute to a changed perspective from which many things look different now from how they looked then.
Some revelations are simply that transition from knowledge to understanding; from an abstract and intellectualised concept to a living Knowing. Some ideas become clearer as we are distanced from them; we can be so close sometimes that we cannot see anything but the detail and the shift in perception afforded by the passage of time allows us to take a wider view. There are many things in those pages that I did not even know I knew, but on some level, at least, I must have done so or they would not now be staring back at me from the past. As a friend put it the other day, it is interesting when you are your own teacher.
Although, of course, we always are. No matter what life gives us to work with, we can only shape what we can hold in awareness… what we can see… and our perception is not pure but clouded by the accumulated layers of experience and reaction that have built up around us, so that anything that comes to us is seen only ‘through a glass darkly’. It can be a lifetime and the devil’s own job to chip away that accretion and change our perspective, because, of course, first we have to realise how securely we have immured ourselves, and the walls built by our emotions can be a veritable bastion.
Occasionally, though, the mortar crumbles and a gleam of light blazes through, illuminating that which was before our eyes all the time and then we sit back in wonder at how we missed something so obvious that it shines. And yet, when the gem we have missed comes from our own pen, we have to wonder where it sprang from in the first place.
Perhaps it was there all along. Perhaps there is a part of each of us that Knows… that doesn’t need to seek the answers, but which needs our conscious mind and heart to seek the questions.
We can spend a lifetime in that seeking, only to find that what we sought had never been lost. The words on the page are gifts laid unknowingly aside in blindness, waiting, like a seed, to spring into life and bloom when we are ready. I think, that on some level of being, we do have both the questions and the answers. We just don’t realise that we do.