I started out writing this with “your” and “you” instead of “I” and “me”. This is a uniquely person experience, so I am telling it from my own unique perspective. All pronouns have been changed to reflect that. Also, the situation has been left purposely vague, as has the timeline, in order to protect those who wish to be protected.
My world has been turned upside down.
All that I once had supreme confidence in has been shaken to its core. Things that I believed in, lived and had faith in no longer exist. Those things I feared are now attacking me from all sides as the darkness begins to dominate my life. What is worse, I am facing it all on my own.
The Buddhas of the world want to tell me how I am “learning” to let go of my attachments. The Christs of the world want to tell me how to “forgive” and find salvation. The Yogis of the world want to tell me that it is all perfect and to let it “be.” I frankly want to scream “shut the fuck up and let me suffer!”
This need to suffer is not egoic. I feel like I want to suffer in this unimaginable hell. I want to cry my eyes out. I want to scream and yell. I want to feel the pain of aloneness and doubt and the fire of fear and agony. I want to hate you my tormentor. I want to hate myself even more. I want guilt, I want shame and yes in many aspects I want to die.
A Case for Dying
People sometimes become shocked when I tell them I wanted to die. I, frankly, cannot understand how they would not agree with me. No one speaks ill of the dead. In fact, with rare exceptions the dead are universally loved by all. I’ve seen many fairly anonymous people become saints in death. I’ve seen those who were at worst despised or at best rarely thought of become universally loved while being lowered in the grave. Death not only would end the numbness, it also would reverse the lack of love in my tormentor. It’s not unimaginable to understand the allure of no longer having to deal with this experience.
I’ve often wondered if people who throw themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge have any regrets before they hit the water. Would they stop their descent and head back up to their launching point if they could? I can say unequivocally that my experience is that they must feel so elated to finally be free from the numbness and the pain that they welcome the impact. I can almost feel their smile as the waves reach up to greet them.
In some respects, I am very grateful I have had that intense experience. It not only helped me understand the suffering that some face before their end, it also helped me understand my own value of life. I can feel their pain and understand their perspective. I no long say “what a waste” even if I can say “what a shame.” To me, it’s always a shame that the human condition brings with it such intensity that people would face the unknown in death with more joy then they face the knowns of living. I know I had a smile on my face as I began my process.
What kept me from finishing the job? Frankly, anger. I became angry suddenly that I was going to “taint” a place that should not have been tainted (ending your life in an area certainly taints it). In this anger, I began an internal shouting match that became external as the anger I had been repressing boiled to the surface. I started walking, screaming at my tormentor and the condition I was in. I was cursing the aloneness and the hopelessness of my situation. I was fighting the demons of zero self-esteem and utter rejection. I also came to the realization that I wanted to suffer horribly rather than end it all at that moment. No, my path was to suffer and then see where that path took me.
I make no excuses for either choice I made. I make no qualms about choosing death, and I make no joyous pronouncements about choosing life. Each one has its merits and its purpose and both, at this point, seem equally miraculous to me. We all die people, and I hold no judgment about those who choose their terms and conditions in which to do so just as I hold no judgement about those who choose to continue their human experience. It’s easy to judge both, and rather difficult to view them both as simply equal. I do, currently, view them both as equal without judgement.
“Shut the F@*k Up!”
In essence, the “shut the fuck up and let me suffer” is a wonderful thing. How? Well, all of the Buddhas in the world can tell me to let go of my attachments, but what led Buddha to that realization? He simply told the world to “shut the fuck up and let me suffer!” What led Jesus to his understanding that man cannot live on bread alone? He told the world to “shut the fuck up and let me suffer!” when he ventured into the desert. He reiterated that desire when he told Peter to sheath his sword and eagerly submitted to the venom of his persecutors. I can almost here the real words of Jesus during his arrest. They weren’t “he who lives by the sword shall die by it.” No, they were “Peter, shut the fuck up and let me suffer!” Gandhi told the world to “shut the fuck up and let me suffer” many times during his life, as have others from Mother Teresa to St. Francis.
Frankly, “shut the fuck up and let me suffer” is a spiritual statement that suggest “now is the time this caterpillar enters his cocoon. Don’t bother me, shut the fuck up and let me suffer so that I can see what happens!” I wanted so desperately to have the experience of intense suffering even as I wanted the cause of my suffering to reverse itself. I also want so desperately to share that experience (I am writing a book on this now, if there are any publishers out there who’d like to talk, I’d suggest doing so early because this is going to be one hell of an honest, no-holds-barred testament) so that others who are going through it will see its necessity. Yes, it is necessary, and when you open your arms to it you will learn just how wonderful it is even as it eats away at your insides, your outsides and your entire sense of Self.
Friends and Family Abound
Let me say one thing about the “shut the fuck up” premise. It did NOT pertain to friends or family. I must say that in this experience I have discovered friends I never knew I had, rediscovered friendships long left too dormant by complacency, and found such goodness in people that their light alone has given me great hope. I have talked to many people about this condition, and their insight and zeal for healing has inspired me greatly. I never felt once the need to tell them to “shut the fuck up,” rather I wanted them to keep talking. In many instances, I could hear the pain that still resonated in their hearts, and could see the effects of a pain-body that still had a pulse within them. In some respects, my sharing my experience with them was helping them share pain that was simply not healed yet.
To those who have shared themselves with me in my experience, I love you beyond words. I embrace you in all ways, and will use your example and your love to guide me for the rest of my life. It’s impossible to properly express the gratitude, love and emotion I feel in your experience and in the love you have expressed to me, but I can suggest to you that karma is built one brush-stroke at a time, and yours certainly is expressing itself in beautiful ways.
The Journey Continues
This journey has not ended, of course I am writing this after all! Each and every day presents a new set of challenges and experiences. Most recently, I have been dealing with an intense anger that has been brought out of me during, of all things, meditation. It was so intense, I sought spiritual help from a guru because it was so new to me.
Usually, mediation brings out the greatest love and joy in me. I usually feel light and present after meditation. Recently, however, I have been feeling dark and angry during and afterward. It was shocking, and it was effecting my daily behavior. It seemed to add turmoil and confusion to already chaotic conditions. It also, ironically, began to put things into perspective for me while adding some clarity to what I was feeling. It also, as detailed before, helped me survive the experience.
Still, I no longer find much comfort in anger. Any feeling of comfort is certainly temporary, and my experience certainly has taught me that. Anger is like a welder’s torch. Used sparingly and correctly, it can build bridges that last for a lifetime. Used excessively and incorrectly, it can destroy even the strongest of steel and weaken the mightiest of structures. Since I never went to welding school, I am learning through experience in a kind of “on the job training” program. Needless to say I have been burnt and have burned others as I have learned how to build bridges that last for a lifetime.
Anger and Healing – The Act of Forgiveness
“You have a lot of repressed anger in you that meditation is purging from your system” was the consensus of my spiritual gurus. I was shocked but not surprised. Yes, there was a time in my life when I was a very angry human being, but I had left that person a long time ago. This realization began a “review” of where this anger was coming from and what I would need to do to cease being angry.
I discovered that I had a lot of anger in me that I hid not only from everyone, but from myself as well. I won’t get into details about the source of that anger, but I can tell you that it was real and had been stored up for many, many, many years. The suffering I was was experiencing was allowing me to see it, experience it, and hopefully let go to it forever.
Yes, the Universe works in its own time. Now is the time I rid myself of the anger that has been effecting my life over and over again for years and years. I am no where close to there yet, but I can feel the forgiveness process beginning. Forgiveness, in my experience, is the only way to properly heal the Self. If you are unwilling to forgive, you will never heal regardless of how much you lie to yourself about your condition. If you can’t forgive, you can’t heal and you will simply be like a dog scratching a wound until it becomes infected and finally costs you a limb or your life.
The Healing Process
There are, in my experience, three steps in the healing process. They are:
- Removing the bandage,
- Forgiving the wound,
- Letting go.
So, I must practice both anger and forgiveness. Anger identifies the wound that, to paraphrase Rumi, is where we should focus the light on. First, I had to remove the bandage. That’s what the meditation did, it exposed the wound. Then, I have to allow it to heal. I have to stop picking at it. That is the “Act of Forgiveness.” This will allow it to heal, and it will do so without any effort on my part. At this stage, I have “let it go.”
In fact, the only “effort” I have had in this process is in the meditation and the forgiveness. Those are some difficult challenges even if some who meditate out there would disagree. Discovering anger in you through mediation is certainly work, particularly when you discover it is something you simply can’t let go of. I’d suggest to you that purging your system of anything is hard work and takes dedication, discipline and a willingness to have the experience.
The “letting go” so far has proven work-free. It also takes very little time. I can say, however, that I haven’t even begun most of the healing process because I haven’t fully exposed the wound or forgave it. You have to be very careful on how you remove the bandage so that you don’t create even more damage (this is an integral part of the process that I have yet to master). Sometimes, it takes a while to forgive depending on how deep the attachment to the wound itself is.Yes, I can become attached to the wound. It becomes a part of me and I can’t help but to pick at it. It nearly is healed and I start to scratch as it begins to itch. It opens up, bleeds, and I am right back to the forgiving phase (or worse, I am bandaging it again!). The “itch” is an opportunity to further forgive it. It’s a sign that some part of me still holds the wound dear and that I haven’t fully forgiven. I have a choice at this point, I can either scratch or forgive.
The healing will take however long IT decides it will take. I will tell you though that my experience suggests that the longest time comes involves the removing of the bandage and the forgiveness. The “letting go” is usually very easy once those things have been finished. If the letting go takes a long time, you aren’t healing…you simply have not removed the bandage fully or have not forgave completely. I would say that healing is nearly complete when both of those things have been done to there fullest. Letting go is actually the final piece, where the wound itself disappears and is forgotten about for eternity.
Now, Shut the F&@k Up and Heal Thyself
“Physician, heal thyself.” Yes, you are your own best physician and you have the power to heal thyself. It is a CHOICE, one you are free to make. I suggest to you that if you want your suffering to have purpose, you must be prepared at some time to simply “shut the fuck up and heal thyself.”
Currently, I am not fully there yet. I have bridges of anger and resentment, despair and guilt, doubt and fear. They took years to create and will not be healed in a few days regardless of my level of understanding. Still, I am ready to get down to business and dedicate myself to the process. Why? Because I love people and want to fully express who I am to everyone. Currently, who I am is a wounded soul with much to heal, but I have a desire to be healed and fully present with the world. I want to love those I love dearly, and be the best friend to those who wish to be my friend and a light for anyone who wants to see.
Since that is who I wish to be, I have work to do. That is the greatest expression of suffering, it exposes who we want to be. We can fulfill our desire to be sullen, depressed beings in our experience, or we can find other expressions of who we wish to be. It is our responsibility to our experience to be who we wish to be.
That does NOT mean I have to bandage the anger in me when it is present. I must allow the anger to be without covering it up and pretending it doesn’t exist (have you ever seen those skin-colored band-aids? They are there to help us pretend the wound does not exist! :)).
I look forward to sharing the experiences I have had, both the wounds and the expressions of love that healed them, as the process continues. Look for the book (I have a working title and have started writing) and send me any thoughts you may have to my email at [email protected]. Comment on posts, write yourself, share your story. You never know what wounded soul could use your inspiration as a guidepost to their destiny!!