In a moment of silence that impinges on the quiet of my home, a car screeches by, its radio shattering the silence. The music is familiar…
You don’t feel it or see it, but I can’t help but say, my friend, that a new change will soon take place. And what was new, young some time ago is now old, and we all need to rejuvenate.
This excerpt from the song “Old Colorful Clothing”, written in 1976 by the Brazilian singer and songwriter Belchior, is very resonant for me today. Time can be so relative! And in this fast-paced world we live in, where everything changes constantly, the words make me reflect on the time we waste fighting each other.
We attack others for their divergent views and values, and we defend our own interests fiercely. To think that there are actually people who are killed for having a different religious persuasion, sexual orientation, or skin color… how crazy! And then, from time to time, words like those in this song appear, which remind me of the foolishness of wasting our most precious asset, our time, simply arguing.
Subjectively, the music says that nothing is permanent, nothing is stable. Our inflexibility is shattered by the speed of transformations. We are just passing through.
If we can stop and examine ourselves, we can see how attached we are, glued to, and strongly identifying with, our opinions, and our ways of doing things. We are also attached to the past, to our memories, and proud of them. In possession of our crystallized “valuable experiences”, we say to our youth: “Listen to the voice of experience!”
But we don’t realize that we fiercely cling to a small part of the spectrum of our limited vision and regard it as complete, as absolute truth.
And our opinions are strengthened by the groups with which we identify; shaped by their character and consensus, thus forming our ‘correct view’ of the world.
And possessing our self-belief and brave activism, we want to show others just how correct we are, in the hope that we can win another member to the club. As if everyone should think the same way.
If, however, we open ourselves to another’s opinions, to other perspectives of seeing the world, with the understanding that, as human beings, we are imperfect, then instead of approaching the other with our fixed, immovable ideologies and beliefs, we can connect with a new force, a subtle and powerful compassion. And in such exchanges, we can come to better understand each other, and broaden our vision. Those who do not cling to fixed opinions, are open to broadening their perspectives.
The truth is far more extensive, and perhaps none of us can fully grasp it. For a long time, a large part of humanity shared beliefs that are now a source of shame. Slavery is one such striking example. Many believed that it was fair, and even necessary for the benefit of the world economy, when in fact, it only demonstrated our blatant and primitive egocentric consciousness, that is, our selfishness. Could it be that we still currently believe in truths that need to be abandoned in order to build a fairer world?
It is important that we doubt our beliefs. Only when we are detached from our own perspectives, we can catch a glimpse of other possibilities and, potentially broaden our understanding.
This is the basis for any evolution. It’s like climbing a ladder. To reach the top, we need to progressively leave behind the steps which earlier supported us, and as we climb new steps, we gain a never expanding view. The clash of egocentric opinions is fruitless.
We cannot visualize any truth while in the grip of attachment, but only when we take on the humility of a wanderer, of a consciously limited being. This is the soul of a young entity, no matter how old the physical body may be. This is the fluidity of a learner, who begins to acutely perceive everything around him.
Is this a dream? No. We cannot visualize any truth with the grip of attachment, but with the humility of a wanderer, of a limited being. This is the soul of a young human being, no matter how old he or she is. This is the fluidity of a learner, who perceives everything around him.
Maybe a part of this is giving up the need to always be right in front of others. A harmonious coexistence is worth more than a thousand defeated arguments.
Our passage through this world is brief. It is foolish to waste our time in struggles. Our time is for us to discover a new path to another kind of life. Perhaps Belchior thought so. I remember the excerpt from another song, “I Know my Place”, in which he expresses this idea:
What can the common man do in this present moment, but bleed, try to pursue a life in comotion, entirely free and triumphant?
It’s a choice between continuing to cling to our old and lonely beliefs, or being open to the new like a child.