"Why is his version of the truth better than mine?"
Whilst feeding my “Dr. Who” obsession this weekend, watching The Satan Pit, I was struck by the poignancy of one of the Doctor’s comments about truth.
Faced with the terror of an impossibly old beast that has appropriated the mental faculties and voices of the Ood, a charming and under-valued species, our heroes buy into the “truth” spoken by the beast. He undermines their strength by speaking of their insecurities or focusing on their failings and foretelling gruesome futures and impending doom. The group, for a moment, loses heart. Between the frightening surroundings, the terrifying oddness of the events around them, and their own human failings, they give into their inner mental darkness and begin to panic.
At this point, the doctor steps up, and briefly re-writes the mental script the beast has given them by challenging the crew with his own perspective.
“Why is his version of the truth any better than mine?” He proceeds to list the ways that humans are brilliant, with a certain stalwart enthusiasm and cleverness that is to be commended. He helps them to refocus on what they can do, instead of what they can’t.
The beast recognizes the power of the doctor’s words and terminates communication between the doctor and the crew. Nicely, Rose not only picks up the slack, but generals on---organizing the troops to take on the beast. Though frightened herself, Rose is not one to wallow. She trusts the doctor—sees the wisdom of his words—and goes forward.
Our heroes save the day, the beast is defeated through cleverness and clear thinking, and all is well. Hooray!
What I take away from this marvelously scary episode is the simple idea that it is important to think positively—to focus on the good and the real—and to do what I can to make things better for the folks around me. I’ve been having a hard time with that lately, and I’m not sure why.
In theory “the economy has never been worse”, the housing market is dire, our country is at war, etc, etc, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Beasts are everywhere, telling us how to think, constantly taking our emotional temperature as if it were news, whipping us into a frenzy of fear, complaint and entitlement, playing into our insecurities, and making us defensive. What we need, what I need isn’t to focus on how lousy the housing market is, or how close to recession our economy is, but to think about where I actually am at this phase of my life, focus on the good that is before me---and try to pass that around to those around me.
In short, my version of the truth is just as powerful as anyone else’s.
Yes, the housing market could be better. But I am tentatively hopeful that the government bailout will be a step in a positive direction.
Yes, my bike was stolen. But I still have a vehicle and no trouble walking, so getting places isn’t too bit a deal. (My neighbor has even offered to loan me his bike until I can get one of my own. And that little bit of charity takes away my bitterness against the one who stole my beautiful bike.)
The economy is “struggling”.
But I have a job, a roof over my head and food on my table.
Although I have had struggles with health in the past, things are getting better there. My breathing is more regular---and that makes me very happy. The bizarre numbness on the left side of my body that persisted for several months has gone away. The doctors could never diagnose the cause, and I choose to believe that the restoration of feeling to my left side is a miracle.
I have love. Real persistent love that greets me every morning and is with me throughout the day. I cannot tell you what that does for me.
Finding my mental abundant place and living there for a while may be the best thing that I can do for myself and for others.
In many ways I have withheld myself from the fullness of community life; for fear that it would dominate me. I want good, healthy boundaries. I think those are necessary. But I have held onto that so much that I haven’t gotten out much at all. And it is time to change that. It’s time to re-write that mental script, and start acting it out. It’s time to be my own Doctor. What about you?