Gifts and flowers wrapped in pretty paper, consumer products and food carefully arranged, wrapped to show only the best side and covered in ‘information’, advertising, brides in designer gowns, all fashion and clothing styles, makeup, hairstyles, uniforms, costumes and suits, rituals and customs, car models, fancy picture frames, book covers, house designs, perfumes and deodorisers, grant applications as justifications for support, resumés and curriculum vitae, the profiles, charters, brands and principles of companies, charities, institutions and governments, politics, corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, military might and posturing, bluff in all its forms… gosh, a lot of stuff comes packaged!
Underlying these could be any number of things going on that bear close scrutiny:
- Engagement of emotions.
- That the essence of the thing is perceived to be ‘not good enough’ to stand alone in its truth.
- That perhaps the thing is actually not that good and would be seen as such and rejected unless covered up by ‘packaging’.
- That some kind of ‘force’ is required to make the thing acceptable to the senses, to ‘sell it’ to people, regardless of its merits.
- That appearances are used to override our natural sense of what is and is not necessary, or even right for us, and thus gain power and control over us.
- A belief that people fall for deception and are able to be deceived by appearances.
- That people will not speak up when they find they’ve fallen for deception and have been deceived by appearances.
These things say a lot about the motivation behind packaging, and they say a lot about us who do it, and who ‘fall for it’, and who don’t call it out for the deception it is.
When I sit down to ponder on ‘packaging,’ the list grows exponentially to include things I normally would not think of as packaging.
But when you really look around, the whole of our modern life is based on packaging: putting a layer of illusion (of varying degrees of untruth) around something’s essence in order to ‘look better’ or look different from what it truly is, to increase reception (by deception) so that it can be desired more, taken in and accepted, not for itself, but as the ‘whole package’. A lie, basically.
It doesn’t stop with material things. In fact the material things are probably the smallest component of the ‘global packaging deception’. Into the packaging ‘package’ there’s our own behaviour of putting on appearances:
- Pretending to be happy when we’re sad.
- Saying we’re fine when we’re actually feeling awful.
- Being depressed or having disorders when it serves to protect us from engaging with people and the world.
- Appearing to be full of energy when really we’re tired.
- Looking fashionably cool and aloof when really we’re craving love and connection.
- To be seen as an atheist when deep inside we have a sense of divinity that we don’t want to admit to.
- To appear stupid when we don’t want responsibility.
- To look strong when we feel vulnerable and wobbly.
- To look sexy when we don’t feel like it and really want intimacy and love.
- Using pseudonyms and anonymity.
- Name-changing: to look authoritative when we feel insecure and inferior.
- To appear intelligent and knowledgeable when we feel inadequate…
This list could go over pages and pages…
And then there is the most insidious form of packaging of all… the appearances of things and activities that seem fine on the surface and that we accept, but which contain within them energy of a kind that is not what we would approve of or accept, if we were aware of the nature of the energy behind them – for example, religious leaders who are paedophiles behind the scenes, or lovely-sounding music written and/or sung by abusive drug-takers.
What if we unpacked ourselves? What if we opened up, threw off all our packaging, our illusions, caps and covers, and allowed the world to see our true selves?
An immediate effect for me as I’ve begun to ‘unpack myself’ lovingly is incredible relief – to drop the tension of living a lie. Another: an increased sense of togetherness and relatedness. I increasingly discover that I and the people I meet, who also felt ‘packed up’ and separate, are more alike than we thought, carrying the same hurts and experiencing the same quandaries and difficulties in various shades and tones. I begin to see that even some of the ‘truths’ of myself that have been exposed during various stages of unpacking have (still) been deceptive packages and that another layer, or twenty, may have to come off for the shining spark of God at my core to be fully revealed.
What if as one humanity we did even the first layer of unpackaging together?
Might it bring compassion for others, as well as understanding and acceptance? We could begin to see the true essence of everyone and every-thing. Our sense of truth could naturally rise; we might no longer be fooled by appearances and could better discern the quality of energy behind everything and thus refine our choices.
What if ‘packaging’ could then become a way of supporting and expressing the true essence of people and things instead of creating a false appearance to hide it?
What if our clothes, makeup, houses, work, all the stuff and activities of how we look and live life, could then be shared, joyful celebrations of truth – the truth of us? Would some of our habits and behaviours fall away? Would we no longer need to consume so much or change fashions, emotions and moods as often as we have done? Would possessions, acquisitions, quests and dissatisfactions start falling away?
With an unpacked humanity, perhaps our companions – the planet, plants and animals – could breathe a sigh of relief!
So here’s today’s slogan:
“Unpack yourself today! And bring a friend or two, or 7 billion!”
By Dianne Trussell