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Life is a succession of illusions.
What we see around us are holograms that we ourselves attach a narrative to. The story of our life is composed of fragments, fillers, random details we pick up and decide to keep in order to make sense of our personal tale and glue its scattered chapters together.
We hate to think that we don’t know the full story, and we certainly could never face the fact that we are oblivious to many aspects of our own story, and so we weave an intricate blanket, interlacing facts and assumptions, to cover up the unknown. When we meet a person, or we end up in any situation, our mind immediately gets to work, imagining a background, a past, an intention, a feeling, a future, a set of consequences.
We were born storytellers, and our whole life is spent constructing a storyline for ourselves.
Whatever we have in front of us holds an infinite number of possible interpretations, and most of these are fluid and volatile.
There is no pure truth.
If you zoom in on the truth you will find that it has a million different faces. The same event witnessed by a hundred people can be split into as many versions of the truth, all valid in some way. Each version develops a different hue and is assigned a different degree of weight and significance by the one creating the memory.
There are times in life when our input is reduced to selecting the mirage we like best out of a series of illusions. We set about embellishing what we see, tweaking the past to let our preferred version of the story emerge, cancelling out facts to make sense of our path and our actions, suppressing and burying anything that doesn’t fit the narrative we’ve chosen, and then perhaps, reviving and resuscitating these elements if the situation calls for it.
How well you do in life depends on your ability to attach and detach yourself from the illusion to the exact degree and at the precise moment that is most convenient for your survival.
If we are born storytellers, it is also true that soon after we become skilled editors and intuitive censors.
We change our version of events depending on the audience. Our story is flexible and malleable, therefore distorted, ambiguous, elusive.
Why do we get so attached to the idea of having a life story at all? Because we like to imagine that we are substantial beings living a concrete life.
We instinctively know that what is solid has more chances of attaining permanence, perhaps even immortality. A statue can survive a thousand years, but the rainbow can never be observed for too long; it melts back into the atmosphere and has no story.
To our human minds, no story means no substance, so virtually…no existence. And yet, we know that the sight of an arch of colours in the sky provokes joy in us, and that a rainbow needn’t offer justifications for coming into being nor for disappearing.
But when it comes to the self, we like to secure our illusions down with a hammer by fixing tags, by assigning roles, by adopting verified sets of beliefs, by marking beginnings and endings with precise dates. We think an identity makes us immortal. We think it helps define us and differentiate us from the next person. We forget that the things we are drawn to are mere tools that our inner self engages with in order to expand—they are not ingrained in our identity, nor should we get too attached to them, as we may require different stimuli at different stages of our growth.
For as long as all of us agree to believe each other’s illusions and remember people by the labels they’ve picked up along the way, then we can be safely lulled into this collective deceit and continue caring more about the tale than the Being.
We’re magicians performing in front of other magicians and believing our own tricks. It’s much easier to perform our tricks and bow, to watch others’ tricks and applaud, than to face the powerful energy of life, which resists being contained into stories because it has no edges and no limits. But telling stories is an inherent part of being human, and it’s as instinctive as breathing.
It’s a survival method and a pleasure we cannot forgo.
What we can do, however, is step back from the story once in a while. Let go of the illusion without trying to label what we find beneath it, let go of everything our mind constructed, and take a breath of life in its unadulterated form.
Life without the tale. Life without the questionable narrative, without the fixed identity. To just be a human being fully immersed in a moment of life. Nothing needs to happen, nothing needs to be repaired, nothing needs to be reported. Nothing needs to fit any plot or make any sense at all.
Just Life. Just Being.