Seeking Authentic Reality

R.N. McManus

“The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another.” ―Jiddu Krishnamurti

Disorder within me; what does that look like? Do you feel some degree of disorder within yourself? The idea is proposed that this disorder might be restated as pursuing an object or an action that others deem worthwhile, but you don’t see that same value. Should you or I continue that pursuit because others see the value that remains elusive to either of us?

My mom taught me to read with the daily and Sunday comics

What do I pursue? Reading has been a major component of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom taught me to read with the daily and Sunday comics plus many Little Golden Books, some magazines, etc. Likewise, I’ve utilized the public library and the school library so long, I cannot remember not wandering the stacks. Are you an avid reader, maybe just read a lot? Then we are kindred spirits. It doesn’t matter whether we are set afire by fiction or nonfiction, history or romance, sports or science fiction; I’ll venture a bet that you even read the cereal box at breakfast if nothing else was available. I certainly did.

A banked fire, just waiting for the day when fresh air and fuel would produce a roaring blaze

My desire to be a writer first surfaced during my first exposure to science fiction. A heady time with the original Star Trek still a weekly TV show (and mine was in glorious black and white), my discovery of Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein, and Marvel Comics in full swing. My best friend and I began to make up our own stories, draw our vision of spaceships and machinery. Let’s do a shoutout to Jack “King” Kirby here, the very best of his time and a major influence. As we churned into adolescents and girls assumed a new priority, those nascent dreams of writing and artistry cooled significantly. I still read books like there was no tomorrow and still sketched, though they were a banked fire, embers glowing, just waiting for the day when fresh air and fuel would produce a roaring blaze…except that puff of air would be a long time coming.

The study of Latin has served me well over the decades

Always intrigued by words, picking up snatches of German and Spanish from movies and TV shows, I ran headlong into Latin in middle school. In the beginning, we definitely a love-hate relationship. I wasn’t the only student digging on this cool new language, well new to us. I took two years of Latin and it has served me well over the decades. So well, that I’m using Duolingo to self-study along with Spanish, the other language that has captured my imagination.

Did any of you experience a language in a similar manner? If so, has that love of words also led to a renewed interest in telling stories again? Writing them down because you just need to do it? After several years of writing dormancy, the muse prod me sharply in the ribs, my masterful procrastinator powers kicked in to put some brakes on this, and I began once more to write. Not with the joyous abandon of my former self, but still, writing. So that’s where I currently stand and I wonder if you are at a similar place, too.

Do I not value these pursuits enough? That is a definite possibility, I have been touchy and sharp when some people have praised my efforts. Why? I simply have not trusted that they were truthful; I have always had an aversion to praise, preferring to stay in the background. I want to be known as a writer of depth and grace, just don’t tell me. It sounds stupid and looks worse when I type it out, but there you go.

Then, why pursue them? I can and will pursue the activities that I enjoy, and they are:

Studying Scripture — to build a closer relationship with God and fellow believers, and because it centers me. I enjoy some philosophy, especially Stoicism, which seems to have many parallels to Christian practice. Maintaining calm and not stressing over what I cannot control, are two major similarities.

Reading voraciously — a lifelong pursuit that is easy to maintain. I read widely, enjoying several different subjects and genres, so I seldom am at a loss for material. Plus, there’s always the cereal box…

Writing — I blog and write other things because it’s the fulfillment of many years of wanting to and drawing back. And, I have received positive feedback — disregard that shyness.

I dabble at learning new languages for neuroplasticity benefits and so that I can better communicate with others and better understand my own language. A renewed interest in Latin and Spanish is what I am excited about currently.

Not on the promise of others, then, but on personal motivation.

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Robert McManus

Robert McManus

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Retired RN from VA ER, reader, writer, Southern, Christian, veteran. That’s the bare bones, the trees, not the forest, the whole picture.