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Contact with the Depths
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | April 2018
Recognizing Harmful Confabulations
We are delicate. Our psyches feebly interact with the world. As we mature we adapt; not always in healthy ways. Our strength relies on catching glimpses of these adaptations, recognizing faulty confabulations and forging change where needed.
We want certainty. We want security. To allow uncertainty requires fighting the instinctual need to make uncertainty—certain. In our drive for security, our mind satisfies uncertainty by creatively coloring in the unknowns with incomplete and unsupported explanations. Our mind confabulates non-existing information, explaining causes, and predicting futures. Emerging from our artful make-believe is a smooth, flowing story from the limited known facts.
We can’t prevent thoughts from creating meaning; we must make sense of the chaos. We need some graspable framework to act. We can—however— catch glimpses of this fabulous process of the mind, seeing the confabulations at work. When we pause to challenge our stubborn proclamations of knowledge, we discover infinitely more to the story.
"You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope...." -Thomas Merton
Our bold proclamations are just theories--thoughts without substance. When we understand our thoughts to be only fallible theorizing, we can step back, gain a wider perspective and act without the bothersome interference of unknown biases. From a position of distance, we make better choices pushing forward toward our goals and purposes.
Reality is not always the goal for some. Their delicate ego and powerful drives don’t allow for the torture of unknown. They live in a fantasy world, protected by the walls of deception. Sometimes the walls eventually crumble as the surrounding world easily sees the reality of the emperor’s missing clothes. But sometimes, the supporting factors are sufficient to cover the deficiencies. Strengths in other areas, large financial inheritances, or royal lineage interfere with our normal expectations of fairness and the unhealthy of mind achieve undeserved greatness.
Maybe it’s my own defensiveness, or possibly hidden jealousies but I can do without undeserved honors, staying connected to the world the best I can, rooting out disrupting confabulations disguising biases and creating illusions of safety. Occasionally, after completing an emotional essay, I will be struck with the projections, originally missed while in the heat of typing, realizing the exposure of unresolved hurt, and a protective distancing from the pain. These contacts with the depth of the soul are great moments of understanding; maybe only glimpse, which may be easily forgotten, or perhaps when received with wisdom, the contact widens, opens our heart and true growth begins.