Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?

“Scare the world. be exactly what you say you are and tell the truth.” Someone posted this simple little admonishment on Facebook last week and it grabbed me, making me think of T. S. Eliot’s famous question, “Do I dare disturb the universe?” For, if I ever gain the courage to become authentic and act and speak out of that authenticity, I will “scare the world” and “disturb the universe.”

Now, the “world” and “universe” that I will startle will be very small for I am not a person of note; or, as I like to facetiously put it, I am merely a “small clod of cholesterol in the mainstream of life.” The first universe that I must disturb is the private one that I live in, that narrow prism through which I view the world which, if unexamined, is but a prison. And, if I can find the courage to experience the disturbance of “awareness” this cannot but have an impact on my thought, speech, behavior and consequently my little corner of the world.  (W. H. Auden noted, “O blessed be bleak Exposure on whose sword we are pricked into coming alive.”)

The key is awareness. The key is realizing that we “have eyes to see but see not” and “ears to hear but hear not” and if we ever understand that…in the depths of our heart, and do so with feeling, it will give us pause. For then we will understand that we will never be able to do anything but “see through a glass darkly.” And to see, and feel, this “darkly” dimension of our perspective field is very humbling and even frightening. It has been, and is, for me for I was taught that I could see things objectively.

Authenticity is a dangerous phenomena for the world as it mechanically, relentlessly grinds on day to day under the collective dictate of “the way things are.” The unexamined life is always driven by unquestioned assumptions which are merely those which we have imbibed from the little corner of the world in which we were born and have not dared to question. And as Adrienne Rich once noted, “We cannot begin to know who we are until we question the assumptions in which we are drenched.”

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6 thoughts on “Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?

  1. Anne-Marie

    I’m learning to be more authentic little by little and it is scary…however, I’m also more mindful about my words. I can so easily just sprout on about my interests, my concerns and not be present for others. We have to find the balance somehow and for each one of us, it is different.
    The question is when do I disturb the universe or not? It is hard living with this uncertainty, this not knowing, but then again I am starting to believe that that is what faith is.

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    1. 21stcenturyxstian Post author

      What a good observation! Yes, we must use discretion on when we “disturb the universe” as otherwise we are just being obnoxious as was Hamlet when he lamented, “The world is out of joint. Oh cursed spite that I was born to set it right.” Shamed to say but “been there, done that.” Thanks.

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  2. Sandeep Bhalla

    Where is this ‘I’. Every time it is dug up, it turns up to be somebody else’s thought. Please tell me how you found ‘I’. Authenticity is secondary. Please help me find this bloody ‘I’, which is so talked about.

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    1. 21stcenturyxstian Post author

      The “I” is that which offered your response. There is always an “I” and that “I” always balks at acknowledging that it is ephemeral. Yes, at some point in this line of thought we could be knee deep in psychosis. But then you and I are very well grounded in “reality” and that “roundedness” is what gives us functionality in this “tale told by an idiot.” (Spell check insists that I cannot have a “G” in front of that “r.” Hmm. Is the collective unconscious speaking to me?)

      Hey, it is always good to engage with you. I hope all is well with you and I’m sure it is. “Thoughtfulness”, or “mindfulness,” always offers comfort and solace.

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  3. 21stcenturyxstian Post author

    Now there you have given me “pause” again. And that is always good for me. It poses a challenge and I’ll be mulling it over. Btw, if I’m slow in response, it is because I don’t get email notifications anymore of “responses” even though my “settings” have been appropriately checked. Always good to hear from you. One of these days we will figure this thing out and then we’ll be setting in heaven on a golden throne, ruling the world with an iron fist! Yeah, as they say, “When hell freezes over.” Life is a mystery.

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