I remember the first time I heard my ‘recorded voice’. When I was about ten or eleven a friend of mine brought over a cassette tape recorder. We were going to record songs off the radio. Yea, Yea, and dinosaurs lived just a few houses down. The point is, we obviously recorded our own voices and even tried to sing a little. When I heard my recorded voice for the first time I was absolutely shocked. That was not my voice. It sounded nothing like my voice. I asked my friend if that sounded like me and he responded in the affirmative. There was no way that was my voice or even remotely how I sounded. Later on, I would play and sing, mostly backup, in several bands. Again every time I heard my voice an overwhelming wellspring of cognitive dissonance would wash over me. That is not how I sound.
To complicate matters further throughout my life I have been told, on numerous occasions, that I have a ‘radio’ voice. I have been approached to do audiobooks and guided meditation tapes. One particular instance stands out. During my banking life, I would speak to several different people in office hierarchies. I had been conversing regularly with one particular woman who worked at an office that provided us with appraisals. The normal course was to fax a copy of an appraisal followed by the original via snail mail. This one particular time she insisted on hand delivering the appraisal. When she arrived at the office she asked to speak to me. As I approached her she said, “You are not Clarkson.” I assured her I was. She was quite flustered at this point. She stammered, “No, your voice. You are supposed to be tall, dark, and handsome.” Well to her dismay I wasn’t but the voice told her otherwise.
I did not hear what others heard in my voice. To me, my recorded voice was alien. Now there might be some scientific reasons for the difference such as how our ears receive our own voice or resonance within the cranium. Regardless I did not hear myself as others hear me. And I did not hold my voice with any esteem as others did.
Now I know this is getting long but bear with me. The foregoing also applies to our physical appearance. When we look in a mirror or see our reflections in windows what we are seeing is not what others see. As the recording is a mirror of our voices so are the reflections we use to assess our appearance. Now add the filters of 'ideal' that have been ingrained by the media. We do not measure up. Keep in mind these images you see of ‘ideal’ are presented after hours of makeup, custom-tailored expensive clothing, great photographers, and great Photoshoppers. This is your measuring stick. This is not the norm. Hell Tom Cruise is 5’5” he’s shorter than me for fact's's sake. I have never seen myself as ‘good looking’. The filters that I have acquired have left me unable to see my true inner beauty.
And likewise, these same filters have hindered me in seeing the inner beauty of others. The filters have become so ingrained. I see a man wearing old loafers and no socks then think homeless or poor. I see a native and think dirty and drunk. I see a woman with purple hair, tattoos, and piercing and think weirdo or slut. These notions are so deeply rooted that they appear unannounced and uninvited. And do not tell the world you are not judgmental; at very best you will judge and hopefully correct yourself, but you will judge first. Sadly some will accept the first impression as they have been taught. Through an open heart and open mind, the ‘Observer’ corrects these impressions and I work to see the inner beauty. I listen to folks say such platitudes that appear to discard the physical impression or judgment yet I suspect the first impressions would be similar to mine. “I don’t care what a person looks like on the outside!” As they hurry to comb their hair or put on makeup. Wear the latest trends and don’t forget to show the labels. “I buy all my clothes at the Thrift Store!” That’s wonderful as you look for the latest styles to be able to afford them.
I guess I really don’t have a point nor do I have any answers. What I am working on is trying to remove the filters that society has put over my eyes. These filters lead me to uninformed and often incorrect judgments. They preclude me from getting to know folks on a truly spiritual level.
And some will say, ‘You are singing to the Choir.” and others will say, “You are not telling me anything new.”. That’s okay. I have heard it all before as well, it is just now that I am starting to understand that I have a lot more work to do than I originally thought. Maybe someday I will see my inner beauty and hear that wonderful voice. As well, I will hear and see yours.
Dayvid. Otober 25, '21
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Grand Mother Moon is not yet in her fullness however her light illuminates the night. I enjoy living in the country, being able to see the sky without the city lights dimming my view. I am well protected surrounded by majestic evergreens swaying gently with the wind. My view looks over the lake encompassing the farmer’s fields and the mountain guardians in the distance.
I am sated with this evening's meal and I rest in a comfortable and warm abode. What am I missing?
There is this mystically deep yet fleeting yearning to understand the sojourn. I think I recognize my senses are not yet developed sufficiently to comprehend the vastness of this existence.
What I am learning is ‘Wu Wei’. It is an important concept of Taoism and means natural action, or in other words, action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort. It appears that when I attempt to control outcomes, I am somehow struggling.
When I let go and stop trying to govern the future life seems to flow. It is extremely difficult to release control when all our lives we are taught to take action, to dominate, to be the best.
A quiet smile grows on my face as I feel a reflective warmth spread through me. I will always be satisfied with baby steps. I don’t know where I am headed but I know I am traveling well. It is definitely not as I had planned it, yet I am enjoying how it is turning out. No words will ever express that quiet knowing that life is flowing as it should.
Some are on a similar journey so I encourage you to stay the course. It is easy to write; harder to live it. I will continue to practice.
DayvidOctober 2, '21