It is important for people to maintain the common lie: this is what we all believe, we are happy, and everything is alright. Denial is so much easier if you can suppress things below consciousness. I do not like to admit being confused or anxious, so I suppress these feelings below consciousness. On Wednesday morning I paused, centred, and sought to know what I felt. Perplexity. That’s another one I would not normally admit. Feeling that jeopardises the common lie.
“How are you doing today?”
Anticipating this question, I had worked out my answer for it. I am nearly overwhelmed. I do not like my situation and I have no idea how to begin to improve it. Hearing the question, I flicked into smalltalk mode, which is not really appropriate for this interaction. “Oh, I’m well, thank you”.
These automatic responses replace authenticity, and feel like pleasant conversation. Truthfulness is harrowing. The Monster lurks in my unconscious. It stops me from saying or feeling certain things, and when it becomes conscious it is under threat of losing its power. It does not stop other people seeing these feelings in me, so it is “filthy rags” which do not warm, cover or beautify me. It just preserves my own illusions.
Alone, now, I am the only one telling that lie. The Monster is either something that benefits me now, or something taken into myself so strongly that even when it ceases to benefit me it still affects me. Believing the lie would make me feel safe, but I no longer believe the lie.
I think The Monster is breaking down. Twenty years ago it was unconscious. Now it is more and more in consciousness. Being perplexed or anxious is useful information about my surroundings. I want to shatter it, take a great sledgehammer and smash it to smithereens then grind it to dust, though watching it slowly disintegrate would be good enough.
-What are you suppressing now?
I laughed at that. How could I know? I have fewer blind spots than before, but the remaining ones remain blind spots. “What unpalatable truths might you be evading?” That’s always a useful question. The word “nothing” popped into mind, but it is not nothing.
Insofar as The Monster still protects me, it protects me from all my pain, sadness, loss, hurt at bad things happening, all mixed in with how I feel about life now.
The act of liberation is all bound up in one. I will see my circumstances. I will feel my feelings. I will be in The Now. I will let go of The Monster and the Lies. I will be the Inner Light- I will be I Am. These are the constraints on I Am, which I wish to tear away.
Like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.
How to approach it? Like diving into a deep cess pit, at the bottom of which is Grendel’s mother, and I fear being overwhelmed by the mess before I get to her. Perhaps there is the perfect sentence, which I have not yet formulated, capturing the essence of the situation. I might start screaming and weeping, at All of my Life, but the weeping might change nothing, just make me feel ashamed.
Crying can be a moment of breaking, liberating me to be my real self. Right now it might break me again so I could go deeper, and that feels completely terrifying.
“How can we make that feel safe?”
Well. The soundproofing in this room is fairly good. The neighbours may be out. If we were in the same room, I would ask if you were prepared to hold me. I want to be held.
I go to kneel on the floor in my ritual space, on the rug with the meditation stool. There is space to move here.
“Do you have a big blanket that you could enfold yourself in to give a semblance of being held?” Or swaddled. That’s something to consider. I can caress myself, feel my own touch, my hand on my skin, down the low neck of this t-shirt, under my skirt. Or I could think of Beck with her hand calmly, reassuringly, laid on my back. I am both the cowering me and the caressing, both Ariadne and Theseus, going down into the labyrinth and giving the skein of wool. I have to support myself and I have the strength to support myself and I am quite strong and now hours later I don’t know if that was God or The Lie speaking.
I am very defended against this. Trust is difficult.
The cost of maintaining this self image is too great, imagining myself not ridiculous, yet on the other side of the illusion, entering Reality, I imagine myself dead. Or lying powerless in my own piss shit and vomit. That is what the defences say they protect me from. I have the feeling it is an illusion. I hope Reality means “rise up singing and take the sky”, but that seems impossible.
What would be in between? “Before Enlightenment, hew wood and draw water. After enlightenment, hew wood and draw water.” Or just “let the soft animal of your body love what it loves”.
Contemplating The Doorway, on the other side of which is humiliating death, transfiguration, or Something Else- ordinary life?- is too much. I need to stop. Just before we met I was in worship with Pendle Hill. Someone ministered on MLK. He had continual death threats, and prayed to God “I can’t go on”. Two days later he was firebombed, and had the strength to call his followers, in the light of the flames, to a non-violent response.
I’ve lost the mood. I will give myself a reasonable mark, I think, for getting that far. I am able to sleep, veg out, or study something else, as necessary. I have got the food in for a few days. In the last nine years I have been working on this, and made progress. I will be subtly changed in three weeks’ time.
All my unsafety comes from preserving my defences. I push people away then complain about being alone. I am terrified, both of going on and not going on. I have set my intention.
Then I tell a story which
how harshly I judge myself.
On the other side of the door is neither death nor transfiguration, but mere reality.