Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tale of a Comfort Zone

The truth is in here.

Truth, like deceit, wears many faces. The fearful masks of deceit seem to be an attempt to lead one away from truth, while the masks of truth could be designed to lure a human into itchy curiosity about what's underneath.

I say "seem" and "could be", because however terrifying or gorgeous the layers of the mind, they are exuded by the same intelligence.

Tell me the truth of an oyster. Is it the tender animal organs? The pearl that could form within? The shell so tough that it takes determined strength to pry it open? Is it the seabed, the fact of the ocean soup, earth/air/fire/water, what? The truth of an oyster is all of this. The truth is also none of it, since the Intelligence at work cannot be described or contained, as it will always and also be the describer and container.

The truth of a human seems to display in a similar fashion, the fragile animal living within a series of calcifications that most are too fearful to shed. It is what it is. But here in this story, humans are curious, reaching and generally fun-loving by nature. Growth, fulfillment and the regular discovery of one's own pearls are part of the natural program. Why-oh-why would such a being deny, attempt to escape, routinely sabotage or even fight this process to the death?

Theories abound. We call them causes and effects, and use our ideas to create methods of healing the malfunction. We say that such misery and suffering is environmental, genetic or both. We say that dis-ease is inevitable, that our sick society produces sick people stuck in sick situations, and indeed, this is one form of truth.

I was almost a professional victim, myself. It is difficult, in our current legend, not to identify with being victimized by everything, and I dabbled in this career for a while. After all, my childhood included various forms of abuse--yes, even the really bad ones--as well as some hard times known as "poverty". This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I aligned myself with some fairly violent and addicted characters in my young adulthood.

There were a few very dark periods in which I suffered immensely and thoroughly, wondering how on earth anyone would want to live on Earth for a period of seventy or eighty years, and how I could muster up enough courage to get the hell off this planet. Fortunately, I had babies, and they regularly gave me reasons to live--not the least of which was being on the receiving end of the absolute purity, love and confidence of their tiny-human grins and expressions of delight at the simplest of things. This was a Truth, I realized, not just infantile, but human. I remembered that delight in my own childhood, which flourished in the least amount of natural radiance, in spite of the senseless violence or depression participated in ritualistically by adults.

Wanting to be there for my kids, wanting sanity more than any insurance policy, I sought various forms of therapy, several times. I paid people to listen to me talk myself into corners and back out again; I paid people to give me some form of structured thinking, some rope to follow out of my own whirlpools; I paid in an attempt to educate myself in the theories of self. I had a burning desire to get to the bottom of The Truth, whatever that was, and perhaps that is why I eventually stopped seeking therapy. I was offered ideas, one hour of adult contact (however professional) and medication. I was offered several diagnoses--perhaps I was "bipolar", "clinically depressed" or a statistical victim of childhood trauma. At one point, I exhibited all the symptoms of what is now known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I wanted more than these disease names. I didn't want to be comfortably, numbly identified as an incurable statistic, with nothing to look forward to but med changes.

I wanted what my babies showed me, which ironically I knew how to preserve and protect in them to a great extent, in spite of the state of the world and my personal history! See, the truth was constantly in my face, which was why I couldn't see.

My point is, there comes a place in the therapy game where one understands, even faintly, that this is one more comfort zone, one more mask, one more identity to hide behind. Yes, it's better (in most cases) than acting out on the street. Yes, it has it's place. And going to a meeting where you get to play the part of someone lost and struggling and making occasional breakthroughs can be fun. Yes, fun. Like Mardi Gras, like a carnival, like a movie, like...

It can kill time, offer a relieving distraction, and definitely give one a safe place to "lose it", to grieve and rage and howl...if that's what you want to do.

I had to reject the clinical identity. I could "legitimately" call myself a victim, right now, of abuse in childhood and marriage; a victim of social ills, earthquakes and climate change, government and doctors, nasty landlords and dog bites, poverty, conspiracy, the school system, the church, mass hypnosis, menopause, apathy, others-in-general, or my own stupidity. Perhaps I could even be a victim of my tendency to victimize, or to judge, or to just "not get it".

Oh, the comfy shells we grow...

But I am not a victim of anything or anyone. I am not separate from these or any scaly husks I imagine in my psyche; I am not separate from the not-so-tender love pats (more like wallops) that the universal current administers. My imagining that there is an innocent self that is somehow "punished" by circumstance is an activity of the whole, spinning out the sacred geometric patterns and apparent random chaos that express this, painting the outsides of pearls and the insides of humans. Knowing this is freedom from the masks of reality--comedy or tragedy, truth or deception. Masking, my loves, is voluntary, while loving is not!

Loving is not. I can't volunteer to love or not to love, because it is the loving that does the deciding. The love I am talking about precludes the idea that I am one thing loving (or unloving) another. Any identity I can "adopt" is subsumed, presumed, assumed in that which I already am. An ocean and its oyster are two faces of the same process, as are a chicken and an egg, a human and a fear. Love is the activity of it all. "Being in love" is the awareness of the activity which lives both inside and outside time.

This activity is going on always, every second.
Babies and oysters know, and invite you in with their smiles and with the sheer unlikeliness of pearls.

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