i like to look at people’s true faces. It’s something i’ve picked up, or maybe created, i dunno. What’s a true face to me? i think it’s something that few people deliberately show to the world, or even know they have. It’s in our own minds that we subconciously catalogue all that a person presents to us. From this catalogue, we each may create the image of a person’s true face.
How do i do this? It’s nothing, really. It’s more a matter of not doing than doing. First, you have to have known a person for long enough. How long is that? Well, sometimes it depends on how well you know them, or much much of them you have known. i find it best to have some experience of a person’s full range of emotions. Then, i think it’s best to take some time away from that person.
This is not too far from Khalil Gibran’s advice from The Prophet: “When you part from your friend, you grieve not; for that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.”
When i wish to see a true face, i must have no emotion. i must not think of that which i love or hate, know ot not, within my friend. i must empty my mind and heart. Coming to this, many memories will come to my mind. i will often remember forgotten times we’d shared, old jokes, or shared achievments. i may remember some things best forgotten, old wounds, hatchets best left buried. but overall, and remaining after the other images have past, i will remember the face of my friends. i will remember the range of emotions. i will remember sadness, anger, and grief. i will remember tears. i will remember uproarious laughter, shouts of excitement, and calls to join in fun and frolic. i will remember times of repose, of introspective thought, and of intense concentration.
i will remember all these faces without casting my own emotions upon them. i will not choose what to see. i will not judge. i will not force myself to visulaize without predjudice, but rather allow myself to. i will allow my preconceptions to drain away. i will see this face without fetters.
The face i see will not be what i imagined it to be. i will not say, “Of course!”. If i cannot see, i will not force myself to. i will take as much time as i need to, until everything presents itself, or nothing at all.
In the end, i will see a true face. i will hold in my calmed mind’s eye the true face of my friend. This true face is the reflection of their soul. It is not simply the average of all the faces my waking mind has seen, but instead it will be the true face that both hides behind all the others and supports them.
Often this true face will be commonplace. Seldom is there a wealth of emotional expression. Still, the calm mind can draw much from the subtlest of expressions.
I have known my mother all my life. She has known me for all of mine. Furthermore, she has poured so much of her life into me that i might know something of her before i even was. My mother is a passionate woman, and i have seen the full range of her expression. When i calm myself and think of her, eventually i can see it. Her true face is not what most would usually see with waking eyes. Nor is it unusual. Her tue face is the face of the sage. Her eyes see inwards and outwards. She appears wise in a way that suggests she is unaware of her wisdom. She is calm without effort. She sees the tue faces of others.
i have known my friend Slacks for years. We have often been parted, and often been returned together. He too is a passionate person. i have seen him at his worst and and at his best. i have seen him display emotions both false and genuine, and at end of days, known in him the things he might hide. When i calm myself and think of him, eventually i can see it. His face is not what most would usually see with waking eyes. Nor is it unusual. His is the face of the persistant thinker. His brows are slightly tightened, in concentration and curiosity. His countenance suggests that he is always at odds with the ideas that he finds, but that he will never give up. His is the face of one who sees everything in life as a small challenge; in meeting these challenges, he masters both the world and himself.
i lived with Yeuxvert for years. For some now time i have not known her, and so her true face may have changed. Still, for the years we were together, i knew so much of her. She was seldom given to great rise and fall of emotion, but she was not cold. When i calm my mind and think of her, it is with difficulty that i apass over that one image; the image of her face contorted by grief, anger, and bewilderment, that look she had when she found out i was cheating on her. That is a compelling image. i must move past it. i must see all that i knew her to be. When i move past her grief, i begin to see her true face. Her face is beautiful. She is smiling the smallest of smiles. Her hair is long, as it was in her youth, for hers is the face of innocence. Innocent, yes, but without ignorance. Her eyes show depths i cannot focus on. The slightest tension of her jaw shows she is anxious or annoyed, but only distantly. She looks as though she may never change. Ah, that is how i knew her… Quite, shy, beautiful, and deep, with the weight of the world resting within the green drops of her eyes.
Often, we project our own fear, apprehensions, loves, and hates upon the images in our minds. To see the true face, these must all be shed. When you find yourself seeing something unfamiliar, it is a sign that perhaps you have made the wrong assumptions about a friend all along. When you find something that you expect, perhaps you have not cleared your own mind enough. But then, sometimes, you unexpectantly find a true face that identical to what you have seen in life. Perhaps you have not known them well enough.
Or, perhaps, they have nothing more to show.