Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Shaming of the True

            It is the Hour of the Wolf and I am chasing a thousand rats around my head. A 900lb gorilla is gnawing at my heart and my adrenal glands are yelling at me to either fight or take flight. How do I fight a thousand rats and a gorilla? And where can I run to escape? No matter where I go or how fast I run, the rats always find me, and the gorilla is not far behind.
Alcohol won’t drown those damned rats and the white noise of TV is drowned out by the screaming of the gorilla. Worse. He has invited a legion of demons to his dining table. Hey, David:  so much for the promised Still Waters and Green Pastures, eh? My soul is engulfed in a tsunami of fear and panic.
Is this my life? Is this how it is going to be? I dreamed of so much more, knew there was so much more … and then the dream was replaced by this nightmare of existence.
If one more minister or motivational speaker starts spouting off Hallmarkain blather I swear I will throttle him. Yep. No “Amen!” from me. More like a “Shut the hell up, you mindless excuse for a human.” That smile was induced by Zoloft, wasn’t it? I read your books and followed each step of your spiffy How To’s. You missed the step called Reality.
The Rats still reign and the Gorilla still feasts.
            Am I going insane? “Please, God. Not that. Save me or kill me.” And then … shame.

Suffering is a nightmare, especially when it is the psyche or soul that is suffering. Everywhere I turn, I encounter such suffering people: depressed people, anxious people, sad people, tormented people, fearful people, numbed out people, people with “an eternal funeral marching round their hearts.” (Arthur Miller) These people hate their lives, or their jobs, or their spouses, or their bosses, or their priests, or their bodies, or their selves, or all of this.  
Some of these people tell themselves to Grow Up and seek to will their way through the pain. Some go for a personality makeover by attending a self-help seminar. Some try to assuage the pain by using it as leverage to control others. Some run faster and do more, so as to distract their minds from the pain. Some drown their pain by abusing alcohol. Some seek solace by having an affair or by becoming superficially religious, which are two sides of the same coin. Some people party hardy. Some go to psychiatrists for medications to dull their pain. All of these are soul-shattering ways to deal with your suffering and none of it works in the long run: all of it is a diversion from the wound your soul is screaming for you to pay attention to.
“Pay attention to my soul? You gotta be kidding me, Wilson. I want to pay attention to the clown that’s causing my pain!” (I’ll get to the “clown,” in a moment.) No, I am not kidding. But you can hold on to that suffering, if you prefer. The problem is the problems will keep being problems that keep producing even more severe problems until the problems wreck your life. I would think you might want to face your suffering and where it is coming from before that point in your journey.
Many people do prefer holding on to their problems. They choose to wait until they are in a hospital, or served with divorce papers, or are fired from their jobs, or their children tell them to get lost, or they have a nervous breakdown. They keep feeding the Rats and the Gorilla, resigning their selves to depression and despair or numbness as a way of life—“Screw it. This is just how life is. Hoping for joy, peace or healing is my enemy. Hope in anything or anyone is my enemy. I just have to be more realistic about life. You’re born, you suffer, and you die.”

You and Not You
What if your symptoms—the upsets, the breakdowns, the addictions, and the numbness—are actually your soul’s way of saying, “You aren’t being ‘you’”? What if the actual source of your deepest suffering is not your job, your spouse, your boss, your body or any other external thing? What if the source is your soul screaming at you, telling you that this “you” is not who you were meant to be?
What if your suffering is due to the persona you developed haphazardly and unconsciously, or the “you” that was required by your parents or your tribe or out of reactions to your parents or tribe? Might the weight of a false self, over time, produce barely bearable or unbearable suffering?
What if you are suffering by your own devices? Think about it: What if you created a self and a life that does not fit your soul, does not reflect your soul, and, consequently, is always at war with your true self: the self you were created to become.
There is a meaning for your existence, for your being here on this earth. I am not here referring to your missions in life, although those will also reflect your soul. I am referring to you as a unique human being, with a unique way of being in this world.
For decades, I hid much of myself, and frequently held back from “speaking the truest sentence that I knew.” I was quite conscious that I was doing this, too. I did it out of fear of rejection, out of not wanting to hurt others, and because I didn’t know how to integrate these hidden aspects of my self with my public persona. It took a lot of pain and suffering before I embraced the fact that I could not integrate a false self with my true self.
For me, there was the Idealized Monte, and then there was the True Monte. As I never pulled off the Idealization in my day-to-day life all that well, my self-hatred became nuclear powered, as did my suffering. The fact was, however, that I didn’t hate my self: I hated the Idealized Monte.
I was one of those people to whom I referred as preferring to wait until the problems wrecked your life. I lived according to a script I did not write. Much of my life—not all of it—was an act for which I just knew God would award me with an academy. Both God and my soul would have none of it, so the play was called, due to the fact that I went insane, went off script, and blew up the theater. This last sentence may sound funny: believe me, it wasn’t.
Soul-work is not something many people are familiar with. It takes time, reflection, counseling really helps, and digging deep into the answers to such questions as, “How did I get to where I am today?” “Is this person that I have become really me or the “pretend” me, a character I adopted along the way?” “Am I hiding aspects of who I am, and, if so, what am I hiding and why (toward what end) and ‘for’ whom?” “ “Is there a spiritual component to both my suffering and my healing? In other words, is there a God I have ignored to Whom I can now turn: a Transcendent Being Who breathed life into my soul on the day I was conceived, and Who, if asked, would begin breathing life into my soul, yet again?”
No, discovering and developing an authentic self will not do away with all your pain and suffering. There will be some major healing, peace, and joy, for sure. Some losses, some wounds, however, remain with us for life. But your True Self and a growing sense of meaningfulness and integrity will help you bear it and to even use it for the good of your True Self.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2012

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