What are facts? There are the people at the grocery store, the cars that are parked outside, and the visible mountains not too far off in the distance. Here I am in this room writing. The room is painted white, there’s a window to my right, there’s the light on the ceiling. There’s the anxiety that’s tucked away somewhere within me and like a faint sound in the distance I can hear the moaning and the groaning of it. There’s also within me in some similar space a feeling of emptiness and also a restlessness that wants to sprint off to shout, scream off the top of my lungs from the very tips of the mountain top.
I know that there are children somewhere that can’t stand being where they are. They feel oppressed, confused, imprisoned, unloved by the very people who are supposed to love them. I know that there is a child somewhere that is hungry, starving with vultures circling above, a vulture just staring just a yard away, belly grumbling who can’t stand to wait another minute for the child to die. I can hear the couples in this city, I can feel the fear of their children as they watch their parents quibbling, fighting, arguing, yelling; throwing things, hitting each other, the choking and the strangling, the holding down, the banging on the door.
There is an animal somewhere that’s so sick of being dominated by their “owners” being at the constant mercy of the humans and their inability to see beyond their own selfish needs. There is a single mother somewhere that’s homeless, cold, afraid of the world, ridden with fear of the uncertainty ahead and afraid for the welfare of her child. She has no family, nowhere to go, no one to turn to, and she has lost what it means to trust, and like the poor children, the poor dog or cat, you can see the fact, the despondence in her eyes. But no one sees it and if they do they approach her with an objective to prove themselves right about why she’s in her particular predicament.
Somewhere there are people having a dinner party, drinking their wine, discussing their work and talking about the poor so and so, discussing what they’ve heard about on the news as they stuff their face full of steak and salad. The host makes a quip and everyone laughs. Somewhere there are people taking a hike on a “spiritual” retreat and they talk about their chakras, Kundalini, Samadhi, enlightenment and their new detox diet, some new insight they’ve had about this or that, and the toxic negative people they’ve encountered during their work week. Somewhere there’s a spiritual person preaching about the power of positive thinking “Oh no! Please don’t tell me that and please use only positive language.” Meanwhile, the dog, the children, the mother they are all still there swimming in it; the struggle, enveloped by the hopelessness of it all. What is the meaning of life?
Does changing the way I see my situation, does perception really do anything in influencing and shifting the reality as it stands before me? My room is painted white does saying to myself that the room is green over and over again like positive affirmations and the reciting of mantras change the color of it? If a child is starving to death will meditating and visualizing this child with a full belly fill his stomach? They say that truth is not a subjective thing. It is as it is and will always be. Let’s assume that the fact is I am anxious, restless, and utterly empty inside. Will a new haircut, a new pair of pants, watching a show on the television fill the emptiness and move the anxiety away from me? That is, will the superficial changes that I make really move it away for good and not just hide it for a moment. Why am I anxious? Why do I feel restless? What is this emptiness that I feel inside? Where did these things come from or have they always been a part of me? What are the facts about myself?
They say that the only change that needs to take place is within the individual. So let’s say that I’ve changed. I’ve had a sudden change or shift in my consciousness. I no longer allow the negative flow into my life because it is no longer attracted to me, compelled in my presence. I no longer see the despondency in the eyes of the people in my environment. I no longer think about the poor children, the poor animals, all the poor helpless and hopeless people in the world. My life is suddenly great. Does taking my attention and focusing it elsewhere really do anything towards truly shifting everything in the world in which I live? That is, if my life gets better does the life of that dog, the child, the mother change for the better too? Is the universe really conspiring with me and if so how can I know since I’m only focusing my attention on only a tiny sector of the whole? I see things relative to my conditioned state and in that conditioned state I’ve made a habit of seeing things through the filter of my own predilections and prejudices and therefore I do not see from the perspective of the absolute. In this state, am I even capable of seeing things as they are? The facts could be right there barking right into my face and because I’m so filled already with all this junk, the facts are beyond the grasp of my senses.
The facts are, but on top of the facts there are the colors that are brushed over, the shapes that are sculpted with the likes and dislikes that solidify and give form to the ‘me.’ One says “I have a unique perspective, a vision unlike any other.” And, through this constant building of this thing which is the ‘me’ the reality becomes distorted, the facts smudged until at such point the mind creates fallacious images that satisfy the appetites of something that is not driven by facts but of fantasy. We hide, we escape, we look away, we suppress, we disavow the truth from entering because we are afraid of the abyss that awaits behind that door.
They say that facts are beyond belief, that it is something that has actually happened. A child has been murdered, a woman raped, a father committed suicide. These are the facts. But how often do we ask why? What has led to that? What has allowed these things to happen? And, within a system of time: A system of checks and balances, of writing things off, of new fiscal orders every year is there enough space in which to truly investigate these matters and get to the root of them? If not, why? Why do we have a system that continually instigates working people to an apathetic mold? Why do we not care for the getting of the facts? We are only concerned for the getting things done so much that the reality gets pushed aside and the results are just more of the same. So nothing changes in such the paradigm because the facts are never seen, never realized, never uncovered and investigated, the roots never heard and accepted.
The fact is we are a people not concerned with facts. Facts are uninteresting, they are bland; they have not the taste to which we are accustomed, they take us away from our typical routines, they can’t hold down our short attention spans, and they are not always positive. The fact is our reality is encapsulated in so many instances and iterations of concentric circles of conflict that peace no longer is a desired reality. Many of us say we want it, put on our displays and we cry for it, we want our Messiah to come so bad but we don’t see the facts of ourselves. The fact that we think our way is the way and how we’ll fight to our deaths to protect it. We speak of the “evil,” the demons, the devil, and of sin but we never acknowledge the ways in which we contribute to the inadequacies of the world. The ways in which we contribute and perpetuate the very things that we dislike. The fact is most of us do not know what a fact is because we can’t bear to look at it, we can’t bear to look at ourselves.