Friday, April 29, 2011

My buttons have been pressed many times this past week.
It took me a while to recognize what those buttons do to me,
as at the initial pressing, I merely felt numb. Thus, it is not the act itself that fucks me up, but the reaction it creates within me in the long term. That's why I've found it so hard to place the source of the hurt...

It is those automated negative responses, that are the problem. These mechanisms, that are so hard-wired into my system, that they are very challenging to undo.
But undo them I must. It is in my power. I will not live my life allowing others
to manipulate me and make me feel like I owe them something. I am in no debt to anyone. No one is. People who try to put us into that position are attempting to control, and that is really fucking unhealthy.

So, this week I've been re-learning some things that it turns out I hadn't quite absorbed yet. Thankfully, the lag time seems to be a little shorter these days.
I'm choosing to look at the button-pressing as an opportunity for growth.
The goal, I guess, is to have no buttons at all.

"The important thing is not the finding, it is the seeking, it is the devotion with which one spins the wheel of prayer and scripture, discovering the truth little by little. If this machine gave you the truth immediately, you would not recognize it, because your heart would not have been purified by the long quest."
-Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, April 22, 2011

This story hits home for me on many levels... It is an excerpt from The Four Agreements, a book by Don Miguel Ruiz. For me, one of the hardest things in life is learning how to balance things, and not to overdo it; I get very impatient sometimes... Here's a reminder to try to take it a little bit easier:

There was a man who wanted to transcend his suffering, so he went to a Buddhist temple to find a master to help him. He went to the Master and asked, "Master, if I meditate four hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?"

The Master looked at him and said, "If you meditate four hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in ten years."

Thinking he could do better, the man then said, "Oh, what if I meditated eight hours a day, how long will it take me to transcend?"

The Master looked at him and said, "If you meditate eight hours a day, perhaps you will transcend in twenty years."

"But why will it take me longer if I meditate more?" the man asked.

The Master replied, "You are not here to sacrifice your joy or your life. You are here to live, to be happy, and to love. If you can do your best in two hours of meditation, but you spend eight hours instead, you will only grow tired, miss the point, and you won't enjoy your life. Do your best, and perhaps you will learn that no matter how long you meditate, you can live, love, and be happy."

Friday, April 15, 2011

It is becoming increasingly clear to me, that in order to remain sane in this world, one needs a variety of emotional tools. It really makes sense if you think about it: it is not enough to use a hammer for every job, as there are many different issues and problems we need to tackle. So, we need: hand tools! power tools! wrenches! welders! a sponge! glue! Ok, you get the picture...

The last couple of weeks have been hard for me, because I've been learning to use tools that I haven't handled before. What invariably has happened in the past, is that once I find a new tool, I drop every other one I've ever acquired. (Example: I discover anger, then proceed to be blinded by anger for a full week, and more...)
Then, when I've realized that the new tool is not the answer to all my problems, I usually get frustrated and scared and lose my mojo for a couple of days. Well, after last week's momentary hopeless slump, I started trying something different: how about I use all of these tools I've acquired?? At the same time, or whenever I need them? Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Truthfully, it's required me getting well acquainted with all these tools separately, before I'm actually able to do some serious damage, by using them all. There are no shortcuts and no quick fixes. Lessons are learned gradually, in their own time, and with experience. To be able to hack away at my life, in the manner that I'm doing right now, has taken a lot of work on my part.

Many of the tools that I'd acquired until this last year, were twisted, mangled and rendered useless. I could just throw most of them away--just like that. But I now have a new kit, and this shit works. I can certainly be better at utilizing them, but I'll learn. One day at a time. And perhaps there are still some super-tools out there waiting, undiscovered. Well, I look forward to finding them, and learning to use them too. Life is exciting.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Much of what I'm going through right now is a developmental phase that apparently is usually experienced around ages 13 to 20. Circumstances got in the way of my emotional development back then, but luckily, it seems it's never too late to get to know oneself. (!) It is quite possibly the most important thing one could do in one's life. The only way we could ever live up to our own potential, I think.

It occurred to me this week that I've never really thought through what I actually believe in. My religious experience in this world has been a vague hodgepodge of deities and belief systems going in and out of my consciousness throughout my life. I've delved/dabbled in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age, even atheism, but none of it stuck. So what do I believe in, Truly? I suppose when I started thinking about it, I was expecting to to discover that I am an atheist. It seemed natural, with all this interest in science I have these days... But in truth, I am quite
possibly the opposite of that. Turns out, I am a pantheist.

As I google Pantheism, this is what I find: "Pantheism is the view that the Universe (Nature) and God are identical." In other words, to me, All is God. Every frickin' thing and being, no-thing and non-being in this universe and beyond.

I no longer wonder why so much of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations speaks so directly to my soul, and why I've felt so connected to Stoicism; why I've recently fallen in love with the writings of the poet Robinson Jeffers, and also Lao Tzu, whose Way Of Life I have been studying... All of them are apparently pantheistic. It feels strangely like home, finding this thread.

Going with my gut is the closest thing I know to doing "God's will," following the logos, going with the flow of life...
To do that, I'm trying to silence all the other voices inside my head.
Every day now, I can hear my own voice a little louder than before...

"Straight, not straightened." -Marcus Aurelius

Friday, April 1, 2011

Man, I'm having trouble deciding between two things I want to write about, that are both extremely important to me. I've had one of them breakthrough weeks again..... Eenie Meanie Miney Moe:

I was in kung fu class last night and the conversation suddenly turned to the nuclear disaster ongoing in Japan. Then it continued flowing through other bleak environmental issues....Someone described humanity as a cancer... Hmm. I've heard it described as a virus before. This is interesting....what kills cancer? "Radiation," someone piped up. That got a dark laugh out of us.

But I started thinking about this in more depth. I can certainly see the similarity. We are indeed cells of this organism, turned against it's host, and thereby itself.
We are frickin' lung cancer, killing the trees that provide us oxygen. The bare tree-branches even remind me of lungs in the winter, with their veins rising up into the sky. But I think this cancer has spread all over the organism by now.

True. Radiation kills cancer. But aren't there alternatives? I've heard that there are times when the cancer gets healed seemingly on its own. The cancer cells turn back into healthy cells, and once again start assisting the organism, instead of attacking it. Isn't that possible here?

Through my own experience of churning out muck (anger, rage, resentment, sadness) from my soul these last two weeks, I realize that the change has to happen on an individual level first. By cleaning out my own system, I have been able to start healing and gaining strength again. I am not paralyzed anymore. I am able to stand up for my rights now, one step at a time, and it seems these skills are being put to good use on a daily basis. This is me turning into a fucking healthy cell.

I think it's remarkable, that as a cell, I can understand my potentially destructive qualities. I can choose to be cancerous, or I can choose to be a part of the healthy body, fighting for renewed health. It is a gift of intelligence, to be able to realize one's own darkness, and then make the choice to go for the light.

I am a treehugger. Seriously, I want to hug trees when I go walking in Prospect Park. No lie. I feel like I'm going sane.