|"Broken Heart" by lucaszoltowski|
From my observations it isn’t very common that spiritual contemplatives, writers, or teachers to reveal, in a real way, their heart in all dimensions. Typically what is emphasized is the euphoria of possibility iterated in a single stream of thought to numb and distract the mind in awe of unrealized possibility. I think we tend to look for this as an act of aversion from our mundane, confusing, and hurting reality in hopes of escape through that. I have yet to see that actually work. I write today to reveal a dimension of my experience that isn’t as carefree and euphoric. I am hurting and I think it’s worth sharing my thoughts.
It may come as no surprise that I have had many past exchanges with Christianity that has left a bleeding heart. It has been over two years since I’ve journeyed away from it and as the dust has settled in my mind that pain is still there. If you understand my writing as of late I’ve been emphasizing the importance of understanding “what am I doing” over “what do I believe”? Asking myself this I realized I’ve been waiting for an apology I likely will never receive.
What I have been doing
The pain I have is not from two years ago. This may come as a shock as it is popular to associate pain with a past event and regress “to the bottom of it”. Seeing as how I am caught in the narrative of the story I’m making around the pain I am taking the approach through the pain that exists in the here and now --- asking the question “what am I doing here”? To answer that question directly I’ve nurture the pain by feeding from it.
What do I mean by “feeding”? As strange as it may sound this is common to our experience and it depends on our sense of identity and desire. Interestingly, I’ve created quite a sense of identity around being hurt and perpetuating that sense of “hurting”, which further creates a depressed or agitated mind state. New material, such as the RFRA, turns up the mental storm, which inevitably results in being intoxicated by it. It’s more complex than this as there certain “feel” to observing the inner life.
In the end, I’ve realized how prominent this has been in my experience. I use the word intoxicated as it implies a disparity between realizing with wisdom that it’s occurring and being lost to it (mental states). Over time this has sapped my mind into the beginning stages of depression via being regularly down, which has affected many aspects of my life. That doesn’t mean I’ve been Eyor, but it’s certainly come to my attention at just how (unnecessarily) unpleasant my experience has been day to day.
What I am doing
What I have been learning through Buddhism, both academically and through experience, is that we are creating our experiences (and I’m not inferring metaphysics). My attention is shifting from the observant side to the proactive: “what can I do”? It is easy to say “just forgive and forget”, but the human experience is not that linear and simple. I spent a majority of my life talking about forgiveness and, quite frankly, I am just now learning its dynamics. As it concerns with this pain today very little has to do with “others”, but has everything to do with how I’ve been perpetuating this. The question I have asked from here is “what function has this been serving me?”
I answered that question earlier and it is feeding. Although I have been learning much from Buddhism in this regard, a dimension of my experience is actively looking for “junk food” and in this case it’s been through the aversion I’ve nurtured in reference towards Christianity --- my memory of my pain has only served as a means to this end. At this point forgiveness strikes me as an act of letting go.
- Focus on what I am doing and can do
- Equanimity in regards towards what others are or are not doing
- Redirecting that painful energy into a practice of compassion (adjusting my feeding in reference to this)
- Redirecting and maintaining day to day a center within the body (embodied mindfulness in daily life)
- Tasking myself with more consistency in meditation for further clarity and stillness (further correcting my feeding habits)
I know that is not popular to draw attention towards these things, but I really feel like there’s a need for spiritual teaching that is more useful than simplify being motivated and inspired by only philosophical notions. Being hurt is real and a common part of the human experience. Contemplating healing in a real way is useful and I hope this contributed towards someone’s journey.