Life is pain?

If life is pain, then it seems the purpose of life is to be ok with this. To accept it and embrace it. For it seems like you can only be happy to the extent that you do this.

If I’m in pain and I’m trying to run away from it, to solve it, whenever I do enter a state of happiness I cling to it, so even that is tainted with anxiety. Worry. Fear.

So you’re never able to truly be happy.

BUT! If you are in pain and you say, ok, I’m in pain, let me feel this. Let me live in this. It’s actually ok. There’s nothing to fix here. It’s perfectly ok. There is an ebb and flow to nature and right now there is pain but it won’t always be here.

As soon as you’re ok with pain, that means you can also be ok with pleasure. The next time you’re happy you can fully embrace it because you won’t be clinging to it. I’m happy now, great! I’ll ride with this as long as it’s here and then when it passes, I’ll go on to the next thing.

So it seems like the purpose of life is to embrace what your current experience is.

If you think it’s your job, you will always be working. 7:00 on a Friday night and you’ll be stressing about everything you need to do. If it’s to give to the poor, same story, you’ll never be able to relax because that is selfish. But if you’re like, when I’m working the purpose of my life is to work, when I’m with my family it’s to be 100% with my family, when I’m eating it’s to be present with my food and that experience. When I’m in pain, my back hurts and I’m angry at the work, IT’S TO BE 100% WITH THAT EXPERIENCE. Every moment becomes the purpose of life, not some grand ideal. Not a static state or only one experience. It becomes everything… Including pain but not limited to it…

I think we all try to avoid this. We find our causes, our grand ideals. Maybe it’s a connection with God. Maybe it’s the relationship you have with your spouse. Maybe it’s the relationship you have with your kids. There is no escaping the pain. You can be very very clever and think you’re beyond it, that you have a special bond with whatever that protects you. You are 100% in love with that experience and pain can never touch you! But if you get very still and really look within you’ll probably find yourself running from it.

I think I’ve finally figured out how to stop running…

buddha laughing

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The Obligation of Loneliness

The theme of this past weekend was loneliness and isolation. It started off by watching the movie “Lars and the Real Girl” which really touched me. Afterwards, I felt an intense, acute loneliness for the first time in quite a while. Probably since I established a close group of friends through the Traveling Psychic Supper Club. Next was “Only God Forgives” which is an incredibly isolating movie. Then Saturday night I had a huge perspective shift with my closest friend.

It’s like I had separated a large part of myself and invested it in her. A place it didn’t belong. Whenever we fragment ourselves there will undoubtedly be isolation and loneliness. Even if the hands in which it’s resting are incredibly loving. That they were so loving gave me the illusion that I was whole, but that evening I realized I wasn’t. That part of myself became dislodged and exposed the underlying loneliness.

Initially it was very unpleasant, but I think this shift was absolutely necessary. Not only in consolidating my energy in order to obtain wholeness, but also in the ability to continue to grow in that friendship without this clinging energy getting in the way.

Then to cap off the Ryan Gosling theme I watched “Blue Valentine” which is a very sad movie about what else… isolation and loneliness… What a fun filled weekend!

So it appears like the universe was trying to make a point here. It wanted me to really evaluate the depth of my loneliness. It had been quite a while since I had done this, and I have changed SO MUCH recently that there was probably going to be a different understanding now.

So while I was meditating Sunday night I had this belief pop up that goes something like “In order to understand and empathize with those that are isolated and lonely, I have to be isolated and lonely.” Like I need to be able to show them that we’re in the same boat. Sharing the same story. But this is not true. I can be happy and whole and still empathize with those that aren’t. I can feel for more than those who are exactly like me.

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Chapter 6, section 1 “The Message of the Crucifixion”, paragraph 10:

“We are still equal as learners, although we do not need to have equal experiences. By being able to hear the Holy Spirit in others you can learn from their experiences, and gain from them without experiencing them directly yourself. That is because the Holy Spirit is one, and anyone who listens is inevitably lead to demonstrate His way for all.”

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Relating to someone who is suffering at their current level doesn’t help. This doesn’t heal. True healing happens in helping them bridge the gap from their loneliness to their wholeness. To their divine. I will see the divine in you, which gives you the opportunity to see it as well.

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Chapter 3, section 2 “Miracles As True Perception”, paragraph 6
“Truth overcomes all error, and those who live in error and emptiness can never find lasting solace. If you perceive truly you are canceling out misperceptions in yourself and in others simultaneously. Because you see them as they are, you offer them your acceptance of their truth so they can accept it for themselves. This is the healing that the miracle induces.

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It seems like if two people in a relationship (all kinds – not just romantic) are lonely, there is comfort in sharing this loneliness. It’s like “I’m miserable, but at least I have company!” And it can also seem like there is an obligation for each party to remain lonely. That they owe it to the other person to do this. Like if one person became happy, it would be a sign of abandonment. That if they really cared about them they wouldn’t do this.

I asked myself “Is that what’s happening with me?” and got a very interesting response…
Isolation and loneliness have been major themes my entire life. I’ve been unable to establish genuine bonds with others at school, church, sports, social events… And in those rare instances where something was starting to develop, I would somehow distance myself from them or sabotage the relationship.

I think this goes back to childhood. My mother and father had a relatively good relationship, but I think my mother quietly dealt with severe isolation and loneliness. And as a baby, getting approval from your mother is your highest priority. Your life literally depends on it. So if your mother is isolated and lonely, it’s natural that you would mimic her. Establish the same pattern to garner her approval. And then you could never change from this, as this would be an abandonment. A rejection of the person who gave you life.

I think this is one reason why there has been conflict between us as I got older. I wanted to make genuine connections, grow and evolve, be happy, but unconsciously I believed that I had to stay lonely. That she was essentially forcing me to do this. So naturally I resented her for this without really understanding what was happening.

But now I do understand. Now I am in a place where I do have genuine connections. Where I am happy. Where I have people surrounding me who I love. And now I have the opportunity to invite her into this space. To release her from that loneliness.

Ultimately it’s still her decision, and I can’t force her out. But even if she chooses to stay, this no longer affects me. To truly love someone is not to jump in the pit with them, it’s to patiently sit on the outside with an outstretched arm, waiting for them jump up so you can pull them out.

where the rubber meets the road

I realized tonight that an essential aspect of any system is how well it interacts with the real world. That a healthy system cannot be isolated to the mind, untested from fires of relationship.

I spend soooooo much time establishing these belief systems, and then use them as the foundation on which I base who I am. Since they are such an important part of ME, I need to hide them when around others. I’ll just comfortably drift through interactions with others, never really saying anything important, never really engaging, never really exposing what I truly believe. This might leave those systems brittle and untested, but at least there is a semblance of stability there.

This all changed a few months ago while working on a very intense project with a group of people. I was essentially forced to get these systems out into the open and see how well they meshed with others. Surprisingly, it went pretty well. It turns out all of this knowledge that I’ve built over the past 7 years really came in handy. But there were some glaring weaknesses. There were a few key conflicts that really made me step back and reevaluate large parts of these systems. Which was a very humbling process.

A very vulnerable process. I had to let go of that foundation that I had been clinging to for so long. To kind of float in this unknown space, disconnected from what I had known. But this allowed that system to break apart and readjust itself based on these conflicts. To learn from them. To take that experience and use it to make that system more dynamic. Flexible. Able to fit into more scenarios and mesh with more people.

The process lasted for a few months, which I think reached some sort of conclusion tonight with me realizing all this. Looking back, the system that I had before this project happened was very untested. I was very unsure as to its stability. It was appropriate for the specifics of how my mind works, but would break down when interacting with others. Or in scenarios I was unfamiliar with.

Now, it’s so much different. It’s not something that I’m clinging to. It’s not my foundation anymore. It’s more of a tool now. Something I can draw upon to understand a situation. To figure out how to relate to someone.

And it’s no longer something that I’m afraid of exposing to others. It’s been tested. I know how strong it is. And now that it’s been broken apart and reformed, it’s not as rigid as it once was. It’s come back together, but in a very fluid manner. So now it’s much easier to expand and reorganize this very quickly based on what’s happening. So it doesn’t take months of contemplation to try to rebuild it, it happens in the moment, on-the-fly. There is still that feeling of vulnerability. Like I’ve temporarily lost my foundation when I’m shifting it around. But I’ve become much more comfortable in that scenario. And it’s almost like I have a different foundation to pull from.

My foundation is now deep within my core. The divine. The system is now just a way to translate this so that others may see it easier. A way for this divine to interact in the physical world. Yeah… It’s a direct extension of the divine. Ideally. As long as it’s flexible and I’m not relying on it to establish who I am.

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I almost forgot to mention this… The whole “getting your systems out into the open and interacting with others” is one reason I’m so glad there are a lot of discussion groups set up in Austin for a course in miracles. I’ve attended a few of these, and am about to start my own (with the help of a good friend 🙂 ), and they have been so instrumental in my understanding.

If you’re in the Austin area, and free Tuesday evenings, consider yourself invited:

http://www.meetup.com/A-Course-in-Miracles-Tuesday-evening-study-group/

A Course in Miracles, Schizophrenia, and Einstein

Schizophrenia has been a deep interest of mine for quite some time. Reading “The Divided Self” by R.D. Laing was a hugely transformative experience. It explained so much of my structure, of my struggles with extreme vulnerability, of feeling like I didn’t really exist.

Tonight while reading the course I came across the following: chapter 4, section 3 “Love without Conflict”, paragraph 9, sentence 2:
“God has given you everything. This one fact means the ego does not exist, and this makes it profoundly afraid.”

“The ego does not exist” was like a lightning bolt going off inside me. It was the link between all of this knowledge I have on schizophrenia, and what I’m learning through the course. It spun everything into a new light.

One fear that has constantly plagued me throughout my life is that others have the power to completely annihilate me. To cease my existence. To shatter all that I am with one look. This is an incredibly vulnerable position that leads me to retreating from the outer world.

This is a very schizoid structure, and one that I now see is very close to the truth. Feeling like I don’t exist, like others have the power to destroy me, is actually true in regards to the ego.

It’s perceiving the truth but still being trapped in that illusion. I think most “normal” people don’t have as intimate an understanding of the truth. They have more fully convinced themselves that this illusion is real. They might have some doubts, but they aren’t as fundamental. A schizophrenic is aware of the illusionary nature of our world at its very foundation. They KNOW that it isn’t real, and regardless of how hard they try, they can’t suppress this fact. Can’t resolve this split.

So in many ways it seems like they are on the precipice of fully awakening. They are aware of the truth, but can’t quite let go of illusion. They fear their annihilation, their death, and this is accurate. For the ego does die when the truth is fully embraced.

Chapter 4, section 2 “The Ego and False Autonomy”, Paragraph 10, Sentence 3:
“The ego cannot survive without judgment, and is laid aside accordingly.”

So it’s like they understand 99% of the puzzle, and are one small step away from liberation. But the problem is that the world tells them that what they are correctly perceiving as illusion is the truth. That they are wrong. That they ARE really their ego. Everything is reaching out from this illusion and pulling them towards it, and they are all very convincing… and have deeply embedded hooks… and pills… and authority… and numbers… and “facts” on their side…

It seems like if the schizophrenic is left to their own devices, this process will naturally resolve itself because the pull towards truth is stronger than illusion. But the system is set up to pull in the opposite direction, so delays this healing process.

Which is where the miracle can come in. Divine intervention. Because once that schizoid individual tastes the divine, I think there is a recognition there. A truth that they have always been aware of, but have finally tasted. Something that helps release the illusion, and quicken the pace towards truth. I had an experience like this at 20, and it very much had this effect. I was rocketed towards truth, and the pull toward illusion lost a lot of its vehemence.

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I’m friends with a lot of psychics (check out travelingpsychicsupperclub.com), and we often talk of receiving information. I’ve always felt somewhat inadequate in this regard because this doesn’t often happen for me.

I’m in the process of reading Einstein’s biography, and earlier tonight I really resonated with the following “Einstein would develop a lifelong devotion to field theories as a way to describe nature. Field theories use mathematical quantities to describe how the conditions at any point in space will affect matter or another field.” p.13.

I realized after connecting my knowledge on schizophrenia with my knowledge of the course that this is my gift. Understanding complex systems, then linking them all together to form a unified understanding. It’s like Einstein’s drive to find his theory of everything. He wanted something that would connect all of these systems he understood. I think in this we share the same goal. I’ve always had this drive in me, and never quite understood it until now. I’m just trying to fit all these pieces together.

Vulnerability in the eyes of the Divine – thoughts from “A Course in Miracles”

This is from “A Course in Miracles”. Chapter 2, section V. “The function of the miracle worker”.
Paragraph 7 and 8 have some really juicy stuff about feeling vulnerable. About what we try to hide from everyone.

“I said before that the Holy Spirit cannot see error, and is capable only of looking beyond it to the defense of Atonement. There is no doubt that this may cause discomfort, yet the discomfort is not the final outcome of the perception. When the Holy Spirit is permitted to look upon the defilement of the altar, he also looks immediately toward the Atonement… Discomfort is aroused only to bring the need for correction into awareness.”

Atonement here is really just a synonym for healing. So it’s saying that spirit can’t see all these walls you’ve spent so much time building up. It doesn’t exist to it. So when it visits you it immediately cuts through to your core. Which is definitely uncomfortable. That’s not a place that’s touched very often. But it’s ultimately necessary, because this is a very healing process if allowed to continue.

The term “defilement of the altar” really struck me. It does seem like that’s what I’m trying to protect when I think people are looking at me. That part of myself that was once pure, but that I corrupted. Soiled. Did the most vile unspeakable things to, which no one can ever know about. And I’ve constructed oh so elaborate methods to keep this hidden. I’m like 99% sure they will never see the light of day again.

But it seems like that’s the whole point of this Holy Spirit. That’s what it seeks out. It’s its purpose. So I think I had this belief that I needed to be “good” because that’s what would attract divine attention to me. Would lift me up. But what if it’s actually the opposite? That in acknowledging those places in us that are trapped in despair we are raising a flag, saying “Hey divine spirit dudes! Here I am! I’m ready for some lovin’!” And at first the attention we receive here is uncomfortable because it’s digging up all that crap, but the shovel is in the hands of the divine, so if we can trust in that and let go, we will be healed.