May, 2017

Suffering, Courage, and Meaning

Who hasn’t suffered? Who hasn’t felt pain?

What if we understood our experiences – our woundings, so to speak - in a larger context?

In my own life, where I have known cruel abandonment, loss of friendship, loss of family, job, status, finances, even my place in the world – I have been led to reflect on the meaning this kind of suffering could have and to extrapolate out to the greater picture, to decontextualize things within a life we all share.

In times of existential annihilation, when the pain has become too much to bear, I have been flipped into an understanding of the potentiality of evolvement. Not just to see crisis as opportunity, or to merely accept my suffering, but to understand it as a dying of an archaic self into a new version of a new self; to be re-birthed as something formerly unknown but willing to experience this apparent phenomena.

What is the knocking?
What is the knocking in the door of the night?
It is someone who wants to do us harm.
No, no, it is the three strange angels.
Admit them. Admit them.

D.H.Lawrence “Song of a Man Who Has Come Through”

Often primal, painful experiences cause us to stop, shift our perspective, and face what shadows had formerly been hidden.

It may be true, and in my case, is true, that we are never completely healed from our woundings. I still suffer from the devaluation I experienced at the hands of my ex-husband, who kept his bad parts in abeyance, until he had me a hostage; shriveling my self-worth so completely I was scarcely recognizable to myself. The strong, capable self I had built was all but gone, yet because of this, I have been able to help others go through the crushing ego blows of this kind of diminishment.

When we are wounded, the body goes into electrical shock. Most of us want to find therapies to discharge the shock. But what if we found ways to use the shock instead of getting rid of it? Too many of us recoil from pain because we are terrified of it. Then the charge debilitates us, and we organize around safer and less intense lives, foreclosing on possibility. But we can reactivate the memory of failure or of loss and then take that charge and select an entirely different set of variables – say a movement toward creativity and compassion rather than toward collapse or safety. “Dear God, please allow me the grace of release rather than the old way of choosing safety. Let me be born again. Amen.”

If we are courageous enough to choose this metaphorical re-birth – and it takes courage to plumb the depths of one’s heart and mind – we can experience an inpouring of light or grace so sublime we are left breathless with understanding that we are living in a benevolent universe. We are given the grace of understanding that we are loved and forgiven no matter what we have done or have not done. We open to a reality that is pure beingness - the grand frequency that contains all other dimensions and realities – a primary order of pure potentiality. This is where we find, as St. Francis so eloquently said, That Which is Looking is That Which is Being Seen.

Getting past the small story to the larger Weltenschaaung, trusting that our lives mean something, then letting go into the Mind that is Minding, takes courage and discipline. It takes a devotion to trusting that our suffering is authentic. And ultimately, it takes brave understanding to allow ourselves the realization that we are not the Doer but the Done, not the Thinker but the Thought.

And as soon as we think we have found meaning in any of it, it is gone…. And we begin questioning all of it…and it is gone...

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