One of the things I’ve had to learn over time – and that I’ve learned poorly, I should add – is that everything, everything, exists.
It might not exist in the sense of being real, I suppose; it might exist only in the imagination. It might not even exist in the “real world” in the sense that you think of it – I might think of the ball being red, but it’s actually blue when it’s on the floor. Yet the red ball exists, along with the blue ball; one is my concept, the other is the reality.
It’s not that everything that exists is also real, if you define real as being concretely realized.
What got me thinking about this was my introversion and my learned responses to it.
I’m in a number of small communities, loosely associated by interest. This one’s about programming, that one’s about politics, this one’s psychology, that one’s science, this one’s religion, that one’s writing.
I’m in a lot of communities, for someone as introverted as I am, I think.
But what I’ve noticed is that as I’ve become more… normalized in these communities, based on their acceptance of me and my quirks and how much I decide to trust them, I actually end up trying to “show up,” manifested as what I think is an overreaction to my own introversion.
I try to respond to whatever there is to respond to, to show that someone’s listening, someone’s caring, someone’s there.
It creates a massive burden on me, because I end up feeling responsible for a response even when someone else listens, or cares, or whatever. I feel like if I don’t respond like I would if no-one else was around, then I’m sending a signal that I don’t care when I certainly still do.
(I pay attention to the maxim to be who you are as if no-one else was looking.)
But… the thing is, people exist in a continuum without me. If they never knew I existed, their lives would be just as full; I am not arrogant enough to think that their lives are somehow more complete because I am there. I try to contribute, sure; I try to leave their lives littered with whatever benefits I can grant, but to say that their lives were less before I entered… no.
It’s very much a struggle for me, to let go, even though I desperately want to. This impulse is who I am, certainly, but it’s from the Sitra Achra, the other side, and does no-one any good; I may not be God’s gift to humanity, but everyone is God’s gift to each other, and I have a responsibility to try to bring good into the world.
And at some point I need to find a balance where I am able to acknowledge that existence exists, and I am part of it, and it’s okay.