A New Myth

Collage art, handmade greeting cards, vintage

A couple of weeks ago in meditation, we read from one of Don Miguel Ruiz’s books, The Voice of Knowledge.  Here’s the passage:

  • There is a conflict in the human mind between the truth and what is not the truth, between the truth and lies.  The result of believing in the truth is goodness, love, happiness.  The result of believing and defending lies is injustice and suffering—not only in society, but also in the individual.
  • All of the drama humans suffer is the result of believing in lies, mainly about ourselves.  The first lie we believe is I am not:  I am not the way I should be, I am not perfect.  The truth is that every human is born perfect because only perfection exists.
  • We humans have no idea what we really are, but we know what we are not.  We create an image of perfection, a story about what we should be, and we begin to search for a false image.  The image is a lie, but we invest our faith in that lie.  Then we build a whole structure of lies to support it.
  • Faith is a powerful force in humans.  If we invest our faith in a lie, that lie becomes truth for us.  If we believe we are not good enough, then thy will be done, we are not good enough.  If we believe we will fail, we will fail, because that is the power and magic of faith.
  • Humans can perceive truth with our feelings, but when we try to describe the truth, we can only tell a story that we distort with our word.  The story may be true for us, but that doesn’t mean it is true for anyone else.
  • All humans are storytellers with their own unique point of view.  When we understand this, we no longer feel the need to impose our story on others or to defend what we believe.  Instead, we see all of us as artists with the right to create our own art.

The task in meditation that day was to hold the question of what stories we believed about ourselves and to relax our grip on them.  The exercise was meaningful for all of us, but I came away with a new piece of Work to practice.

I saw that I define myself by my illness.  And I wondered what might happen if I stopped telling myself that story.  What would happen if, instead of identifying myself as bipolar, I said, “I’m Fine?”  Not “fine” as a term to flip off when people ask me how I am, or as a way to barricade myself against prying, but saying “I’m fine” as a mantra of truth?

Loki, Tom Hiddleston, The Avengers

Loki, God of Mischief

Under all the symptoms of the illness, under the worry about money and the angst of relationships, there’s a core part of me that is perfect.  The core is whole, sound and centered.  It is where I experience love and compassion, where I find courage, where joy sparks.  The bipolar disorder is weather storming around the core; a hot, gritty wind that obscures the view and causes mischief.

When I believe that I am fundamentally fine, the illness loses power and substance.  I can see it as the mischief-maker it is.  Like the Norse god, Loki, it causes chaos—serious chaos—but it is not the whole story.  Loki is a lesser god in the Norse pantheon, and bipolar disorder can be a lesser player in the entirety of my life.

At least that’s the story I’m telling myself these days.  I’ll see how the myth plays out.

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