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Prism life

Posted by Simon Parke, 10 September 2019, 10.29am

It’s no fun going to prism.

It means the loss of freedom, the loss of honesty, and with those gone, there’s not much left.

We’re in prism when we see everything through one set of lenses and must therefore contort truth to make it fit; or avoid the truth completely.

If you’ve listened to the Labour MP’s Barry Gardiner or Rebecca Long-Bailey - or any member of the present Tory cabinet, you may know what I mean.

They are not engaging with anything outside their prism; for the interviewer, there is no access to their internalised narrative - and unutterable and avoidant bollocks is the result.

Brexit is a prism. Fundamentalist belief is a prism. There are a lot of prisms, in every walk of life - at work, in families, in friendship groups… and I need to mind my own, always dismantling along the way.

How does it happen? We enter our prism with thoughts about some great truth which excites us.

But as these thoughts harden, they have the capacity to absorb all our awareness, leaving us blind to other light; blind to the emotional and physical impulses that govern our everyday lives.

We become pleasingly (and perhaps proudly) trapped in our prism, and scorch all earth around it.

I remember from my past a vicar of a large evangelical church who found himself trapped in this manner. He was saying things on a Sunday that were true in the prism of the church’s particular belief – but not in the real world beyond.

And so a chasm grew between his authentic self and the vicar persona he needed to maintain to keep the ‘successful’ show on the road. It required a breakdown to help him leave.

It can be unsettling when our prism walls crack; though there is only freedom beyond.

Thoughts created the prism and thoughts beget pride, which may be one of the first casualties, but this is OK. Pride is no friend to our wellbeing.

It was Cardinal Newman who said ‘Life is change - and to be perfect is to have changed often.’

This is not a call to change for change’s sake, which has no value in or of itself. Rather, it’s about dismantling the prisms which our thoughts create along the way, when their time is done.

And fear nothing. On leaving prism, you will be met, hugged and transported to a kinder place by sweet mystery.

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