I’m writing about this for several reasons, but mainly just because I’m feeling it. The signs are all around me. I’ve been studying myths, and this book about suicide came my way. It’s called the Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. Sisyphus is a man cursed by the gods to forever push a huge boulder up a mountain. Every time he would summit the mountain with the boulder it would simply roll down the other side, and he would be forced to push it back up the mountain again. No end in sight.
Enlightenment is a funny thing. It’s sold as a cure by most guru’s, but it is not a cure. They tend to exclaim, merely learn these truths and forever after your life will be “Insert amazing awesome spiritual adjective here.” Using the word to the average TV watcher invokes visions of saintliness, or perfection in life. Anyone with any kind of awareness at all knows nothing could be further from the truth.
It doesn’t cure anything in a way that is meaningful regarding one’s past. Sure, finding some new level of awareness will create a wave, and one might ride high, for a while, thinking life is great and wonderful, but all waves eventually crash against the beach. Enlightenment is understanding the dark as much as the light; understanding the high wave as much as the low. More than that, chasing the low wave, chasing the darkness with the same fervor as one chases the high wave, as hard as one chases the light.
We are the accumulation of our past. Nothing can change this. We are living evolution; evolution in effect. Both as individuals, and as a collective. We are the direct result of our experiences. The sum total. No new piece of information will change that. It will only add to what is already there. Most people fear change, they worry about who they will be after the change, especially with ego work. The loss of ego is so scary because it generates a feeling of loss of self. The feeling of “loss of self” is terrifying, but it is also impossible. There is no such thing. Fear of the loss of self is fear of one’s own imagination. It’s just a trick of the ego to perpetuate itself. One cannot lose their sum total self.
If you came over to my house, and spent a week talking about life, deep stuff, metaphysics, and then left with a new worldview on life; you would still be the direct result of all your life experiences. Even if your worldview change was radical. If I put you to talking about all the fucked up things, all the things you’ve avoided, all your fears, and self created mind games. If I picked apart your beliefs and theories on life and showed you your lies nothing would change. Even those memories and experiences we are unaware of, and those forgotten; all of them will still be there, with you, forever. They are you; you are them. In these terms reality doesn’t give a shit what we think.
So there you would be, hypothetically speaking, enlightened after spending a week with a non-thinker, and guess what? You still have your life, you’re still the same monkey, sitting in that monkey suit. You will still have all your memories, all your shitty decisions, regrets, mistakes, it will all still be there. Your shit job, your shit culture. If anything, from this ‘higher’ perspective, enlightenment makes all these things seem even worse, because now one is aware of what it could actually be; a literal garden of eden.
Oh, the loneliness of that. The only thing that has now changed is the story you tell yourself about what it all means. Everything that ever happened, still happened.
I’m also writing this for those like me who’ve spent so much effort wanting to forget. Wishing to forget. Praying to forget. I’ve been dealing with abuse all my life. My own, and friends’ of mine. People I don’t know too. I hear their stories through my friends, through my reading. One doesn’t have to study psychoanalysis for very long to realize most of the children of the world do not reach adulthood without someone raping them. Abused such that it wreaks havoc on their lives forever after. I am forty one now, and the trauma of my life still affects me profoundly. I hear people in their twenties and thirties exclaim, “I just don’t want to deal with it anymore!” I say, “Tough shit.”
It makes one suicidal.
No new found awareness will wipe this away. Spirituality is not a cure for trauma. Spirituality doesn’t fix anything except how one thinks. Unless of course you wish to exchange your intellect for faith. This is a road many take, but if you pay close attention their unconscious mind does not let this go. For the rest of their lives they repeat the same lessons over and over again like a petulant child standing before the universe refusing to grow up. Children in grown up bodies are everywhere.
If anything the opposite is true, enlightenment brings more confusion, uncertainty, and that one merely acquires personal power mastering it. In these terms it could be said that enlightenment is the certainty that one is uncertain. That is, one grows stronger bearing it, and making use of it, instead of being used by it. Taking shit, and turning it into gold. The stamp of shit will always be there. There will never be some happy sunny beautiful day free of the stamp of shit. To believe so is merely idealism; fantasy.
I’ve not been hiding away long enough to write freely about my experiences yet. Certain people might be able to connect the dots, and determine who I am writing about, and this is something I loathe to do, but in this case I feel safe in that no one here knows of whom I speak. I am purposefully leaving it general.
My friend was terribly abused. You can see the rage in her eyes. They shine from it. Like most people abused in such ways, she has to lie to herself to maintain self image, to stay alive. If she came to terms with the reality of it all at once it would destroy her. She must live a lie. For now at least. Her lies bite her though, at every turn. Her sum total mind does not want to live in lies. She knows this too, can feel it at every turn, but doesn’t have the personal power yet to transcend.
Her significant other does not show love to her child in a way in which she wishes her child to be shown love. She is far from alone in this regard. She is asking me about this, because she knows I have been a part of raising children who are not biologically mine. She is trying to make sense of this man she loves. She knows I was raised jacked and still love children, why can’t her man?
She says her boyfriends claim is that the little boy does not act in way that deserves love. In other words, her boyfriend was saying, if this child is to receive love from me, he must act a certain way. This is probably obvious to us, reading this, imagining this from the outside, “Why must this child do anything to be loved by his caretakers?”, so why isn’t it clear to my friend? She is intelligent. She is highly sensitive. What mother needs a child to act a certain way in order to love it? To probe even deeper, we might ask, if she loves her child so much, why can’t she love herself the same? Or the other angle, why isn’t she protecting her child from this man who does not love him?
Well, the simple answer is, she lives an ideal. She lives a lie. The lie here being that her boyfriend is this great awesome guy she imagines him to be. She does not understand, that because of her past, no guy who loves children naturally would be with her. Her lie is that she is worthy of some great awesome guy just because she is who she is. Most women, abused or not, suffer this fate. They think the perfect guy is just going to come along; just for them, without them having to really do anything at all. Egomaniacal comes to mind. They think they are special just for being, but do not bestow the same sentiment on the male. She cannot see that she does to him, what he does to her child.
Here is the kicker, she has lived with her boyfriends father. They lived together at his father's house for a period of time, to avoid homelessness, so she has first hand experience of what a douche this guy's dad is. She knows what a piece of crap his mother is too. She knows for a fact, witnessed with her own eyes, that her boyfriend was not loved as a child appropriately at all. She has all the proof she needs, so why is she asking me why her boyfriend can’t love her child?
She is doing what everyone has done to her. She is doing so unconsciously because of her self taught lies. She is doing what almost everyone I know is doing. She is taking someone who was raised fucked up, and then expecting them to act like the ideal. This is exactly what happened to her. This is exactly what happens to her every day of her life. It happens to every single one of us. Never not once has she caught a break in life, except maybe through her acquaintance with me. She was completely thrown under the bus, raped, abused, neglected, all of it, and then is being expected to act like the ideal. The ideal mother, the ideal girlfriend, wife, citizen, employee, all of it.
She holds herself to this ideal, in the same way she holds others to the ideal. This prevents her from loving herself. How can she love herself, if she cannot even face who she is? As I’ve said, she is the sum total of her experience. As I’ve said, her experiences were a living nightmare.
She just wants to forget it all. If she remembers it, it will kill her; she knows that. Her only way out is to live a lie so hard it might possibly becomes true, fake it to make it, but this isn’t the way out. It will never be true. She will, I will, we will, always be the sum total of our experience. The way out is coming to terms with reality. The way out is through the darkness. The way out; is not a way out.
Can you see this? Can you see in her extremeness a reflection in your own life? So what if you were not abused. You then, don’t even have the excuse of abuse for not handling life. Avoiding the truth is living a lie. Living a lie is not forgetting. It is merely perpetuating the bullshit. Enlightenment is sitting in the bullshit. Going through, sifting through; the bullshit. My friends and I, those thrown under the bus, those of us who are aware of it, we are the modern Sisyphus; forever pushing our boulder up the mountain only to watch it roll down the other side. No end in sight. Pushing a rock covered in shit.