Your world is made of your memories, and your memories are given to you by your world. The whispering voice of happenstance is always in our ears. ‘This is the world. This is the way things are. Look. Pay attention. Remember.’ (Real Live Preacher weblog, 25 May 2006)
My current writing project — a document with an intended readership of one — is more a personal ‘manifesto’ than a ‘memoir’. In recording my memories, I’m interested not so much in getting to the truth of what happened in my past as in reviewing my opinions of what happened (see note below about Epictetus).
The words of the prophet Isaiah (30:21) resonate here: “and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it; when ye turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the left.” Many of the Judaeo-Christian commentators I have referred to are keen to interpret this variously as the voice of conscience, of the Holy Spirit, or of the Bible itself — eg, Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible: “… it seems best to understand it of the Scriptures of truth, the word of God, the only rule of faith and practice.”
To me, that all seems like somebody’s got a rule-book and they’re trying to use it to gain and maintain power over me … Not what I want. Not what I need.
The Zen masters remind me that “Things are not as they seem; nor are they otherwise.”
Something Neale Donald Walsch posted on Facebook today hit the mark for me: “God needs nothing to occur except that which is occurring. Life needs nothing to occur except what is occurring. This is the nature of things. This is how it is, not the way you have imagined it.” (Neale Donald Walsch)
Epictetus taught that “What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.” There are some worthwhile quotes from Epictetus here: http://www.get.gg/epictetus.htm