I don’t seem to remember events and facts as well as I used to do. Maybe. Or maybe my recall of what I once was capable of is faulty. I now seem to recall what I planned to do (visualized doing) as having actually happened. This has happened to me with small events like starting the oven and larger ones like paying the bills. I now sometimes have trouble recalling whether I did small daily tasks, due to mashing all the memories of that task together.
I am a mess, to look at it with a negative perspective.
I am faulty and human, to look at it with a balanced perspective.
I have expectations that my memory will be flaw-free. Why is that? Was it flaw-free at some point or did I ignore the flaws and only now am willing to see them?
Memory is weird. Something about memory makes me trust it. Yet, I should not because it is faulty like the rest of me. However, I must trust it because it alone gives context. It alone explains what this keyboard is and what the squiggles called letters on the screen are. It alone explains how I came to be sitting here with this computer on my lap. So I have to trust the weird.
Do you, gentle reader, trust your memory? Do you find it difficult to be around people with memory problems like dementia, amnesia, and TBI? Do you equate losing access to memory and losing your mind? How do you reconcile needing memory and knowing that it has flaws?
Who doesn’t like titles with assonance? Of course it depends on how you pronounce vowels. But that’s starting off track.
On track. On Sunday I was in church meditating on a prayer of St John Chrysostom, it came to me that awareness is my talent. I have like so many people spent years trying to discover my special talent, what makes me different, what has been my life journey. It’s awareness.
I may not be as aware as others, and that’s fine. I am happy to now have a name for what I do. I seek insight and enjoy becoming aware. I also have learned the limits of awareness, by learning what cognitive dissonance is and how we all hold competing beliefs in our belief systems. The limits of awareness are visible perhaps most of all in the global warming crisis. We have all been made aware of the problem time and again, and we have all been made aware of what we have to do about it. Yet, we do pitifully little. Awareness is not enough to change behavior. Behavior changes when new behaviors look appealing in some way and then we find reasons to accompany and explain the change in behavior. That point is when awareness is or can be present.
Why do I think awareness is my talent and why did that prayer spur the awareness about awareness?
I loved the character “Harriet the Spy” when I was young. I kept notebooks of happenings. This led to journalling small thoughts, small insights. I was a blogger waiting for this internet phenomenon to arrive. On another level, it can be understood that I have been in the habit of getting dopamine surges from ah-ha moments from a young age. This has continued to the present and I am now owning it. On another level, it can be understood that seeking after truth (as the prayer puts it, “granting us in this world knowledge of your truth”) is a path. I have in part perhaps by nature and in part by inclination been seeking truth and have developed the talent.
Is this to say I am wise? No.
Is this to say I am in any way more enlightened than others? No.
Is this to say I am able to communicate well all my awarenesses? Well, you reader can be the judge of that.
I am saying that I can now name my talent which will probably take me the rest of my life to develop to the extent that I am going to develop it. Yes, that wording is what I mean. I will only get as far as I get in becoming aware and sharing my awareness with others. And that is pleasing.
So how are you doing, gentle reader at naming your talent? I hope you find it and can find contentment in it.
I woke up this morning upset with people I came into contact yesterday who have the wrong expectations and so are disappointed and anxious. I woke up and hatched plans of somehow finding them and somehow explaining to them the false premises on which they are operating.
Arghh! Will I never be free of this desire to control others?
They are on their path and I am on mine. The life I can influence is my own. Etc. I am trying to have those thoughts sincerely. I really am.
This morning the underlying emotion is mad. Mad that everyone else is not on my journey. Why am I not supreme ruler? Oh, right, that would totally suck.
There, now I’m laughing at myself. That should soon get me out of the control train of thought.
Have I mentioned Cognitive Behavior Therapy? It has some excellent ideas about how precisely to catch yourself having anxious thoughts and bring yourself to a place of self-observation. The best books on the subject, if you are a child of the Enlightenment and seek individual salvation from a book, are by Dr Seligman. That recommendation is personal and subjective.
Have I also mentioned Evagrius and the other Desert fathers and mothers? Evagrius writes about catching yourself falling prey to suggestions that are negative thoughts. His writings are very similar to those of Positive Psychologists, except that he sees the human mind as neutral (tending to neither good nor bad) and reactionary to suggestions from the environment and spiritual forces.
Enough already, did you say? Very well. I wish you the best today and hope you have a day full of mindfulness and nearly empty of the desire to control others.