Samhain

Do we think The Veil is thinner today?

I enjoy the cycles and rituals of nature-based religions. There is something very soothing to the human about indulging in the undulating rhythm of the seasons. The constant ebb and flow, from full to new, to full, to new, to full, to new, to full, to new. The gradual rotation of the axes of our year, from extremity of light or dark to equality and back again. A time for everything. Everything in good time. A safe and meaningful passage through the ages.

I struggle, however, to keep up. I get distracted by the trappings of modern existence. The grocery shopping. The school run. The job interview. The laundry basket. The time spent driving from task to task. The effort spent driving myself through each task. The sense I need to be more productive. The chronic strain of having my worth as a human externally judged by my financial buoyancy. Buoyancy is just how hard you push down on what’s beneath you.

I need a thinner veil. Because I am feeling disconnected. I am a little too far removed from what is real, and a little too far enmeshed in our comfortable collective delusion. I liked the idea, for a while, of chasing money. Chasing status. I liked the idea of the relief it would bring me. The world would consider me successful, and I could stop worrying it considers me a failure. The World. The World we have constructed. The Artifice upon which we teeter.

I don’t mind The Artifice. It’s useful in a lot of ways. It’s broken, sure, but it can be fixed. I just can’t live in it completely for very long before I start to feel ungrounded, and I need to reach back through to the other side. But the longer you stay away, the harder it is to feel your way back. So I probably need a ritual, and a night when The Veil is thin.

A shared language

Something I have been thinking about quite a lot lately is how we can tell someone something with complete openness and honesty, and they can still receive something totally misleading.

Effective communication is about so much more than telling the truth. We need to be able to anticipate how the other person will hear our words based upon where they’re operating from, and alter our message accordingly. Which sounds dangerously close to lying. But if we don’t do anything to manage how our message will be received, we can easily have the effect of lying unless that person is already of a similar mind to us.

So often, we have conversation after conversation with people, and never reach a mutual understanding. What’s worse, we’ll often feel like we have understood, because we’re satisfied with how we’ve expressed ourselves and we’re satisfied with what we’ve heard in response. But our individual narratives can still be miles apart.

This is how pain happens, even when we try our hardest: The limited ability of words to express truths.

When we hit this pain, we have a choice. We can continue down our separate rails, refusing to see the root of the disconnect. Or we can attempt, through trial and error, toil and ardour, to find truly common ground. We can choose to create, from scratch, a shared language, by first accepting that it doesn’t yet exist.