Has This Ever Happened to You?
Have you ever been so intent on trying to control what other people think of you, whether they admire or disapprove of you, that in the end you made it difficult, almost impossible for those very people to care very much, one way or the other?
Have you ever had a moment when you got a brief glimpse of yourself from outside of yourself, with the result that you thought, “I’m neither the person I generally imagine myself to be, nor not the person I generally imagine myself to be, but some indefinable combination of the two”?
Have you ever suspected that much of what you’ve taken for true most of your life is “true” only in this very limited sense: it’s made it possible for you to be the you you are instead of some different you?
Have you ever caught yourself putting on one of your masks and wondered, “What would it be like to drop this mask to the ground and find out, once and for all, whether there’s anything underneath? And if there is, what it would be like to feel the sun and breeze on my own face?”
Has it ever occurred to you that you might be living your life as if, just before you pass from this world, someone will arrive at your deathbed to give you a grade? As if it would matter to you whether that person gives you an A, B, C, D, or F on the life you’ve lived?
Have you ever sensed the deep chill of a heart-stopping realization, one which you’ve long refused to let anywhere near your consciousness, namely, that in continually judging other people and finding them inadequate in one way or another, all you’ve succeeded in doing is separating yourself from the companionship of your fellow human beings?
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “When did I stop asking myself the hard questions?”