Talking to myself?

nick north days 032

I was going back through some old writings and as is often the way, things written long ago come to my eyes as if penned 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 apparent gifts are my own.

How could I have written 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? Only the writer… 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 come simply from that transition between knowledge and 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 once put it, it is interesting when you become your own teacher.

Although, we always are. No matter what life gives us to work with, we can only shape what we can hold in awareness. Our perception is not pure, but is 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. 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.

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 and ask the questions.

We can spend a lifetime in that seeking, only to find that the object of our quest was never lost. The words on the brittle pages are gifts, laid unknowingly aside in our inexperience, waiting, like a seed, to spring into life and bloom when we are ready. On some level of being, we already have both the questions and the answers. We just don’t realise that we do.

16 thoughts on “Talking to myself?

  1. I have recently found reading older writing has given me an entirely new perspective on what I was thinking and writing about years ago. When I re-edit these, it’s not just changing dates and fixing typos, I find that my thinking has greatly changed. My mind is new. My eyes see other concepts. It’s a real alteration in my world, not a mere development. Sometimes, I’m almost at 180 degrees to the original concept. I’ve changed, but also — my world has changed too and now I have to relate to a different place I never imagined I would be. I has been enlightening.

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  2. I often look at things I have written a while later and wonder how I wrote it. I almost feel incredulous. You may be right that some answers are inside us but there needs to be a trigger event from them to come forward into our conscious thought.

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    1. I see that in action a lot with Nick, whose memory was damaged by the stabbing. The memories are all there… but they seem to have been erasd unless something unlocks them.


  3. Beautiful and thoughtful essay, Sue. I do often look at things I’ve written and wonder where the words come from – always a wonderful surprise to find what your little gray cells can create.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved this Sue. How many times I go through older journals and ask myself the same question – Did I write this? Some things just come from within at the right moment. But I do love those little surprises. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think we all do this, Sue. I know I do. I look back at things I wrote years ago and wonder about the how’s and why’s of my pen because surely it wasn’t me.


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