Pain As the Touchstone of all Spiritual Growth...
Fuck that. Pain sucks and is the touchstone of shit that I don't want to learn.
Ok, I know that I have learned a lot from pain. What happens when I drink too much - lots of physical pain. What happens when my heart gets smashed into bits - lots of psyche pain. What happens when I am sexually connected to someone who is not a good person - lots of sexual/emotional pain. Combine all of the above for the trifecta of spiritual pain. Given all that I have signed up for, been handed and survived...I should be a fucking pain ninja. But I am not...
Seems like the final take away for me is that I am still going to try to avoid pain despite all of my lessons to the contrary. I will keep manufacturing pain because it is a habit, I seem to enjoy it given all the pain that I create unnecessarily and because it is part of life.
The Buddha said that what makes us most miserable and long suffering is that we seek pleasure and avoid pain. What we fail to realize is that neither one is sustainable...then why the fuck does it feel that way? Why does it feel when I am experiencing pleasure that it is endless and is a final resting place in my life. A place where I can unpack my troubled mind and finally be at ease? And why does it feel like when I am in pain that it will never end? Why does it feel like I have set up residence in da Haus of Pain?
I get that life is occurring in the moment and that each moment brings a new quality and measure. While each discrete moment could be classified as pleasurable or painful, it is the coagulation of moments that leaving me feeling like:
“Fuck, it has been a month since the break up and I am still barely hanging on...”
“Fuck, this taco is amazing and endless”
It is in the stories that I tell myself that result in the above tag lines. Really, for the entire month was I just hanging on? No, I was sleeping, eating, going to work, being a parent, being a sponsor, being a friend, being a daughter - barely hanging on is what happened inside my mind when I was not occupied with those other things. Which given the number of other things, was not really all that much time...
Did I really believe that the taco would never end? No, seriously, China would be able to just walk into the US and take over if tacos were ever made to be endless.
So why if the stories I tell myself are not even true do I believe them? And even more fucked up, why, if I can tell any story, do I choose to tell this completely fucked up one that is not even based on reality?
I believe the stories because there is a kernel (some kernels are bigger than others) of truth in all my stories and since, I have not yet been given omniscience, I am never completely sure what is factually true and what is just bullshit I make up to change my reality. So I add up this “fact” and then that “fact” and then my head screams TRUTH and I believe it. And because I believe shitty things about myself, any story that has me suffering, getting left, being humbled and hurt seems like TRUTH.
So I am going to do this shit to myself forever...like seriously until I die. I cannot fathom a time when I won’t do this. As my friend Peter says, “I have never missed an opportunity to suffer.” And while I would love to tell you (and it would be true) that I suffer less today, I still suffer way more than I probably need to.
It has just occurred to me at Forty Fucking Nine that since I am the author of all my stories, I could write a better less dire script! FUCK ME NOW! Seriously, I could just write myself a different story that does not require so much suffering...
For example, If I am dating someone and it ends it does not really matter if I end it or they end it because either way I will suffer. If I ended it then I will tell myself the story that I will be alone forever and I will never find someone and if they ended it I will tell myself the story that I was never worth loving anyway. It has just occurred to me that I could , instead, write this story:
Hey I tried. They tried. It didn’t work out. Some of why it ended was because of me and some of why it ended was because of them. I can do nothing about the part that is them. If I was able to have effectuated a different result in them, then I would have before it ended. Since I was not able to, then it didn’t happen. So I did all that I could. My part in why it ended takes a little longer to sort through but I can see where I made mistakes, own it and will eventually become willing to do it differently the next time.
And I could do the above - pretty much every fucking time except for the high emotional state that accompanies the above. I can think those thoughts but then what do I do with the frothy emotional highs and lows that accompany the above transactions? Since I am going through this currently, I can tell you what I tried to do today: eat sugar, drink diet coke, not eat lunch, try to buy a car I cannot afford, behave passive aggressively, be an asshole to my son, take things out on my kids and animals and finally collapse into bed at 5:18 pm.
However, writing this, I can see that I can write a new story all I want but that new story is not going to save me from feeling the pain or pleasure of the last story...regardless of truth or reality or fear or anything else. I can launch myself into orbit with a new story that has me leaping tall buildings with a single bound...but it will never save me from the emotional aftermath that must come. Like it or not (and I still do NOT like it) I just have to feel the feelings and TRY to drop the shitty story that seems to accompany any new script I write. Perhaps if I just had a little compassion for myself...perhaps, if I just allowed the raw feeling to remain without adding anything else, it might dissipate more quickly and the pain that I have been dreading feeling would fade away quietly and without further ado...
So that is what I am going to do..allow the feelings to be there for as long as they need, work really hard to not weave them into a story that makes me and everyone around me feel worse and begin to tell myself a new story that allows for the old one to just be as it is, with its attendant pain, its attendant drama and sorrow and allow it just to be there until it leaves. The story could be this simple: I loved and it ended. I will love again and it will end again. This is the nature of life for all of us. Not very cheery, I know, but it is the truest thing I can tell myself. It also allows me to see that I am not alone in this storytelling life that seeks to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Instead, it shows me that I am just another lost soul living in the fish bowl year after year.