Earlier this week, a friend sent me a list of songs he’d been listening to lately and among them was a song called “Little Talks” by an Icelandic band, Of Monsters and Men. Who incidentally might also be Steinbeck fans, which makes them even more lovable to me. Although I prefer East of Eden personally, it makes considerably less impact as a band name.
Wanting to listen to the song in it’s entirety, rather than an iTunes snippet, I youtube-ed it and found one of the most entertaining and visually arresting music videos I’ve seen since Black Hole Sun (you know, Soundgarden– does anyone else remember the mid-nineties?).
But the lyric that stood out for me and inspired not only my classes this week, but a lot of personal reflection, is a one of the lines from the chorus:
“The truth may vary but this ship will carry our bodies safe to shore.”
And because that phrase is repeated several times during the song, you have the opportunity to consider whether or not the truth actually does vary.
Which it does.
Person to person, day to day, moment to moment–the truth is shifting as our relationship to the world shifts and changes and settles and then shifts again.
This is an unsettling thought when all you want is for the truth to be consistently accurate. To be able to count on certain realities always being what they are, instead of the promise that my teacher, Douglas Brooks makes which is, “It’s true until it’s not.”
I prefer this, actually. I like knowing that what is true for me might not be true for someone else. It simply becomes my job to become more adept at discovering what it authentic for me, anchoring into that authenticity and allowing that knowledge to carry me through the rougher currents as well as the placid ones. That’s what “Little Talks” is all about. Uncertainty is often more certain than what is true. So we just have to get more comfortable with that concept. Worry less about proving what is true and concentrate more on recognizing, in each moment, what rises to the surface as real for us, individually.
The other skill sets we develop around this notion of authenticity and truth is o make sure that we don’t try imposing our truths on others, as well as not mistaking judgment or criticism as truth. Both are static. But both are what we tend to do more of when we’re not so clear on what is real for ourselves.
So listen to this song. Then pause. Sit with it. What rises up for you as true, in this moment? What authentic statement rings like a bell through your body?
The truth may vary, but we can each become the ship–the vessel–that carries ourselves safely, soundly, skillfully and gracefully from shore to shore.