Wednesday, 13 June 2012


Sometimes it seems like everything we say on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, or even in conversations is either “preaching to the choir,” or “falling on deaf ears.” Readers and listeners have already decided what they choose to believe, and they pay attention only to whatever validates their predetermined opinions. They seek confirmation, rather than education or enlightenment.
No matter what they believe, they will always find that confirmation, because an argument can be made for just about anything. For instance, some ”truths” are complete opposites:
 “He who hesitates is lost” and “Everything comes to he who waits.”
 “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “Out of sight, out of mind.”
 “Birds of a feather flock together” and “Opposites attract.”
So, why bother sharing our thoughts and opinions at all? Isn’t it a complete waste of time?
As a matter of fact, it isn’t. Tossing around ideas is a necessary part of our self-discovery process.
First, a tiny seed of an idea makes its way into our minds. We aren’t sure what to make of it, but cannot ignore it. We start looking around, noticing other ideas like it, reading anything we can find on the topic.
Everything we hear and read is like a thin layer of nacre (mother of pearl)… shiny, brittle, iridescent coating around the idea. Over time, successive, concentric layers of validation are deposited around what started as a passing thought, until it becomes a solid, and unbreakable belief.
As writers, we cannot make a reader believe anything in particular. We can only add our contribution, a minimal layer of mother of pearl, to what the reader is already working towards. Sometimes they agree with what we write, gaining validation. Other times they disagree, which still serves to strengthen what they already believe. Either way, their idea gains substance.
Eventually, with enough shiny layers, the result is a brilliant pearl of wisdom… a personal belief.
It’s interesting that the very thing that makes pearls shiny and valuable (nacre) is rarely valued at all… much like individual blog posts, or isolated conversations. Millions of mollusks are tossed aside, with their mother of pearl intact. It is only considered to be of value when, over time, it adheres to an imperfect irritant, eventually transforming it into a precious gem.
You have the ability to make this a conscious process. It doesn’t have to just happen. The burden is on you to choose the idea seeds you wish to cultivate.
The Dalai Lama stated, “It is not enough simply to wish that love and compassion should increase in us. We need to make a sustained effort, again and again, to cultivate the positive aspects within us – and the key here is constant familiarity. The nature of human thoughts and emotions is such that the more you engage in them, the more you consciously develop them, the more powerful they become.”
Decide for yourself what you would like to stand for, what you think matters, what is worth pursuing. Then put in the time and due diligence to cultivate that thought until it is a solid, and irrefutable belief. If you don’t choose, someone else will gladly choose for you.
Lisis Blackston