Posted by: xeper | September 5, 2008

The Price of A Voice – The Sacrifice and The Treasure

(Earlier..)

And the verse and the talk reminded me of another story I learned as a child. It’s the story of a mute boy whose only friend was a little green grasshopper. And they were happy. But then the boy grew older and understood the importance of having a voice. And the two set out to look for the boy’s voice. And as the boy was starting to lose hope and stop looking for his voice, the grasshopper asked him what would he give to get his voice back. “Anything,” the boy wrote in the sand in front of them. So the grasshopper confessed apologetically that he had stolen his voice, that indeed he is his voice. And without giving the boy a chance, he thanked him for all the good times they had together, again and apologized, as he disappeared into faint green fog. And the first thing the boy uttered was a loud grieving “Nooooooo!”. It’s been more than twenty years that I watched this story, but I couldn’t forget it.

Your Voice is highly priced. You have to lose your comforting state, your conforming behaviors. One has to be able to go on their own in their journey of Truth-seeking, and Truth-speaking. One has to give up the warmth and assurance of Conformity in this long journey. What is wrong needs to be left. Clinging to the comforting untruth is a trap, much like the proverbial How-to-catch-a-monkey trap. Hindu thought seems to suggest all life is sacrifice, and our role is simply to choose what to sacrifice. I did sacrifice to seek my Voice; fun outings with hilarious conformists, easy well-paying jobs, beautiful girlfriends, strong professional networks with people I despised morally, afternoons I spent improving a product that was already approved but I still wasn’t happy about. I paid and am paying the Price of a Voice. I might still cherish my nest, or my little grasshopper friend, from my more conforming times, and I am tempted to go back, lose my voice, but real Truth-seekers are not there, I would not find Hotep there, I would not find you there, someone “different”, a true treasure, sacrificing time for the company of fellow “different” souls.. Truth-seekers.

I treasure you for being different.

I treasure you for searching for Truth in this difficult time.

I treasure you for having paid, and continuing to pay, the Price of A Voice.

~~~~

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Responses

  1. You sacrificed:

    “Fun outings with hilarious conformists” Does this mean there can be no fun with other truth seekers? Or just during the early stages as you are to trying to find your feet and seek the real ones as opposed to the wannabes who are only paying lip service.

    “Easy well-paying jobs” Where is the reward in being paid for easy work. Even those who profess to enjoy will usually search for more challenge without leaving conformity behind. Easy is also not always well paid since there are always a line of others waiting to take the easy chair. That is unless the work was easy for you, but wouldn’t necessarily be easy for another. Maybe the fact that it was easy for you is why you were well paid and less to do with conforming.
    Are you under-estimating yourself and your potential when you apply for and accept jobs?

    “Beautiful girlfriends” Female truth seekers were not in the queue when God was handing out His gifts of beauty? I must use a cliché and say it’s in the eye of the beholder. You could find your perception of beauty change the closer you get to your own island of truth. Also does your life (or short term) partner need to be on the same train in order for you to reach your destination? I’m wondering this myself these days and I haven’t yet decided if these doubts are more to do with my idealist dreams as opposed to the realities of love and life.

    “Strong professional networks with people I despised morally” You can make such (and better) networks with other truth seekers which would no doubt be more fulfilling. So can you really call this a sacrifice?

    “Afternoons I spent improving a product that was already approved but I still wasn’t happy about” This sounds like perfectionism.

    I don’t believe you have sacrificed anything if losing these things takes you to a place which you envisage to be more pleasing. You may look back and rethink your “sacrifices” and realize you merely shed the shackles of your previous existence which most people are not even aware exist. The conformists.

    In my opinion, when you decide to embark on a journey of truth and finding your voice, the only thing you are sacrificing is comfort, which you mentioned, and acceptance from the conformist. You will however replace this with acceptance from other truth seekers and if not agreement then at least understanding. I also feel that the rewards at the end of the road should be enough to extinguish your feelings of having lost anything. Nothing forces a person to start on this journey therefore there must have been something lacking in those past benefits which made you want to leave them behind. Again, this means they’re not sacrifices, at least not from the view of a truth seeker.

    I think that if you fail to shed those ideas of sacrifice you will find you’re carrying a heavy load on your journey which you should be free of so you can see and welcome truth when it comes. The load will also make the road seem more difficult and lonely resulting in feelings of the need to turn back to the comforts of conformance. It, conformance, will always be there, I think you know that, but you will never be the same so where will you turn next?

  2. @Zakhak:

    Please allow me to tell you how I see sacrifice. Sacrifice is not something bad. Yet it is done. Consciously. Conscious choices. Hinduism teaches everything is sacrifice. You sacrifice the food for your life. You sacrifice your life (your time) to read these lines. We would sacrifice these lines for other things. The trick is that you sacrifice for the better. And that is good life, lived to the fullest. Suppose I give you a Rolls Royce for 100 pounds. Almost everyone would see that as a wonderful thing. Yet I prefer to remember why it is a wonderful thing: because I sacrificed so little to gain so much. Yet there was a price.

    Of course you can have fun, and good real memorable fun with fellow Truth Seekers (as opposed t shallow meaningless laughter you get from others). And if I do this consciously it is because I appreciate that.

    Same with easy jobs. I couldnt take on easy meaningless jobs. Thats why I sacrifice them. And though it is to the better, I still paid the price of having less money after being more tired, which was lower than the price of being a well-paid bag of nothing. Though I think you touched on issues about my job searches which Id like to revisit some time.

    Beautiful girlfriends? Again like the fun with empty heads above *smile* again I do not mean there is no beauty on our side (quite the opposite, I might discuss this later for many reasons), but there were.. possibilities.. that were destroyed as soon as the empty-headed beauty spoke out. If you never saw someone you liked and couldnt know because he was such an air-head (is that the expression?) then you are either very lucky or very wise. I am currently engaged to a girl I think is the most beautiful girl ever, and she is a Truth Seeker, among many other wonderful qualities.

    Briefly, am I happy on our side of the fence? You bet I am. Would I switch to the other side for anything? (Umm.. anything like what?) Well NO! and yet, is my stay on our side for free? Is it because I and my fellow Truth Seekers could not afford anything else? I hope not.

    I have to confess that these days I am passing some tough times where many around me want me to believe that I am simply staying on the “budget” side of life. That they have put in more effort and sacrifices to reach their current “success”, which is illusion. I was going to say it is material, but they are in deeper debt than I am, attached to too many material obligations that they are more precariously positioned, even materially. Truth-seeking wise, dont even ask. God help me I am never like them unless He wants something much better from pitiful state.

    Thinking in terms of sacrifice, I would be honored if you thought about what you were sacrificing to read and converse with me, and yet choose to read and converse with me. I would not be as happy if I realized you were only here because you were bored.

    So yes they are not bad sacrifices, they are good, or I hope they are. But I have to remind myself. Of my choices. Review myself to make sure I have chosen well. Review myself, double check so to strengthen myself against those claims from others that I felt were getting to me. It might be a moment of weakness in which I had to review what I knew was good. Yet it is the mark of ignorance in my opinion not to review one’s past decisions.

    Thank you for the difficult commentary. Please keep doing it.

  3. First, congratulations on your engagement and finding your truth seeking life partner 😀 She’s a lucky girl and I’m sure you’re lucky too. So, already one of your sacrifices has paid off for something better. I’ve known a few airheads so unfortunately I’m not lucky in that respect and I understand what you mean. This is what taught me the meaning of beauty being in the eyes of the beholder because the most handsome airhead can suddenly look like a beast after he opens his mouth 😀

    I’m trying to see some way to disagree with you on the issue of sacrifice but all my arguments seem to prove what you’re saying! I’m not trying to disagree for the sake of it, but I’m reading what you’re saying and agreeing, but still feeling that I disagree. I think it’s because we’re looking at the sacrifices from different angles, they’re the same in the end, at least the concept, but we’re coming from different viewpoints i.e. every sacrifice has (or should) have a benefit at the end, in your case you see what you gave up or lost as a sacrifice and I don’t. Or is it that I only see it as a sacrifice until I see the gain and then it loses its label as sacrifice? I’ve gone around in circles on this one so I may come back to it.

    Regarding your job search issues, I did read one of your posts where you talk about that. I was kind of amused, but impressed that you were worried enough to ask a psychologist! I can’t give you any scholarly opinion on this but if you decide to write a post I’ll be happy to comment. I have my own issues with jobs similar to yours.

    The situation of the people around you clearly shows one of the negatives of being part of the conforming crowd and this comes from trying to please others and create an image of success or as we say in England “Keeping up with the Joneses”. This is the beauty of rejecting that way of life because you have nobody to impress. In saying that, I would add that being different is not any easier because it would be all too easy for a person to try too hard not to be seen as a conformist so that they lose sight of what they were originally trying to achieve. As with anything we need balance, and to keep things in moderation. One thing I don’t want to do though is feel pity for those who have chosen a different life from me. We all think our life is better than someone else’s but is it? Is this just a relative thing? I faced this when I first came to Islam, I would look down at those I left behind because I thought I had found something superior, but at the same time I’m sure they were looking down at me thinking about what I had “lost”. I got over that and converted it to a wish that they could find what I have. The same now, as I am reading about Sufism I feel sad for the people stuck in the rituals of Islam and “Kalam Fadi”, but why should I do that? They are content with this way of worshipping Allah so who am I to pity them? “Tawadu” – Humility. Something I have been reading about and will post about soon.

    I agree you have to review your achievements and your benchmark will in most cases be how far behind you have left your old life, this should be balanced with what you are aiming for ahead of you. I guess it would be all too easy to fall into the negativity trap if you focus on what you haven’t achieved so you’re doing the right thing.

    What am I sacrificing to read and converse with you? Not much to be honest because I don’t see this as a waste of time. I don’t lose anything from this; I get benefits from reading your thoughts. You give me ideas to think about, solidify my beliefs, push me to think more clearly about what I write, give me alternative ways of seeing things. So reading your blog just replaces some of the time I spend reading books to gain knowledge (and sometimes my work time). Same thing, different medium. I don’t have a very active social life (read “ I’m sad”) 😀

  4. I would like to know more about your Sufi efforts..

    😀 I am glad we agree again.. though maybe you agree optimistically to what I was saying not-so-optimistically.. I am sure we will revisit the sacrifice issue again, though I wonder whether we’d switch places maybe 😛

    And the egoistic guy inside is flattered by the things you leave to read Xeper 🙂

    Thank you 😀


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