Caught in a web of what you feel when suffering, there is often a pain, an indelible pain that takes hold within you, as if possessed by an otherworldly force unbeknownst to you, and which you seemingly have no control over. This pain can be physical. It can be emotional. It can be psychological. It can be spiritual. Or it can—and often is—all of the above. It claims its hold upon you, ready to unleash its vengeance upon your soul.
And you feel powerless to stop it. So you do what most of us do in this sort of situation: you run from it. You hide from it. You pretend it isn’t there. Perhaps you merely accept it, masking the cowardice that pierces you, all in the name of riding it out. You know that there is something that needs to be done, urgently, but you are at a loss.
You cry from within, as if lost in a sea of blackness, a blackness so thick it cannot be penetrated by even the most formidable light.
You yearn for love. For compassion. For hope. But you seek it externally, whether via the people around you, or via the endless numbing agents available in today’s world. And you don’t know what to fucking do.
You’re screaming inside, a voracious hunger so intense it brings you to tears.
You wallow and fight against what your heart is telling you, which is to stand up and fight. To rise up against it, and battle it to the death. Perhaps you think you’re incapable of such an endeavor, but you know it is your only option.
Positive thinking isn’t going to get you out of this one.
“Talking to someone” isn’t going to curtail the rage that beckons you to seek the heavens.
Evasion isn’t going to help you find the cure; indeed, it will only delay its revealing itself to you.
And you know this. You know this so well, it drives you absolutely fucking insane.
You are paralyzed with grief.
As if caught in a coffin, buried alive.
You cannot breathe. You cannot rise. You cannot live.
This pain is no ordinary pain. It arises as a result of death, tragedy, depression, war, and so much more.
It is almost always hidden, and that is its greatest weapon against you.
It causes shame. Guilt. Endless comparison.
It longs for only one thing: your destruction.
It doesn’t matter why it does this, but it does.
This is not merely a matter of interpretation.
It’s not a matter of simply adjusting your thinking or worldview.
This is life. And life is cold, hard fact.
We do not like to admit this. We think we’re in control. That somehow, our lives are dictated by us, and us alone.
But deep down, we know this is not true, and could never be. It’s far too simplistic, it doesn’t correspond with reality, and at its heart, it’s extraordinarily narcissistic.
We ache for the pain to leave us. We plead for a revelation of paramount significance. We awaken an inner panic so intense we are left aghast at the fact that we’re even still alive.
A ferocious trembling
A lament of the ages
A howl to be heard through eternity
This happens because life is fundamentally a gift of feeling. We feel, most beautifully, most tragically, and most insidiously. We don’t like to focus on the darker aspects of ourselves, out of a pervasive fear of ridicule.
And this is how we are destroyed.
Yes, many of us are. We may still be alive. We may even appear to be happy, content, successful.
But we are dying inside. And we know it.
We imagine walking up a hill, yearning for the sun’s gaze to show us the path to tranquility.
We dream of sweeter times, breathe in the past that gave us good fortune.
We grow fond of that which is not good for us, and we know it.
But it doesn’t matter, for once the damage begins, it is not easily undone.
Thus we spiral downward, in a turmoil the mind unleashes upon us in a frantic attempt to keep us salient, and sane.
And yet. We find a glimmer of something. A presence within that desires to guide us, to take us home.
But we have no idea how to reach that presence. For it is hidden in the recesses of that which we have allowed to mask us.
The mask is meant to hide the torment, yet we find that the mask is itself yet another torment in and of itself.
We are stultified, hopeless, broken in our inner paralysis.
Thus we accept it as normal, to be acquiesced to, not to be undone.
But this is a lie. The pain does have the capacity to end us, both literally and figuratively.
It is the pain that paralyzes. We have all felt this.
It screams both within and without, surrounding us with its venom.
We beseech it to leave, to depart at once and never return. But it will not do so.
So we learn to live with it, hide it, tuck it away in the fabric of our soul. Hoping for a miracle, a gift from the heavens.
And we stop. We cease our efforts, and do no more.
This is where it ensures its victory over us. We have the taken the first step, correctly, but we fail to recognize that we’re on the right path. This is one of its greatest tactics, as it works perniciously well, over and over and over again.
Though if we were to proceed forward, to meet it where it is and face it, it would begin to be revealed for what it really is.
A pain. A horrific, tragic, monstrous pain. But nothing more, and nothing less.
It is not an actual entity, nor is it some sort of illusion. It is real. Denying this secures it victory. But it cannot destroy us without our permission, and this is extraordinarily difficult to accept.
It is our responsibility, and it is not.
It is our burden, and it is our greatest challenge.
Yes, life has burdens. Not everything is good. Not every challenge will be overcome. In fact, most won’t.
This is scandalous.
This is why we delight—and envy—in the success of those around us.
But we do not really see them most of the time, and they do not really see us.
That requires focus. Fortitude. Discipline. Listening. Compassion. Vulnerability. And love. True, patient, resilient love.
These are not what we want to focus on. We want to delight in the externals, giving credence to the greatest facade of the age.
The facade that life is not difficult. That we are not broken. And that we can—and should—have everything we want.
The pain that paralyzes us is often a mirror image of that which we most hate about ourselves.
A colluding reality
A seismic shift in the cosmos
A penetrating weakness, like a canvas not yet completed, but hindered by the desecrating self-judgment of the artist in front of it.
Come with me.
Tell me who you are.
Let us love one another.
Give me your fractured state, and I will embrace you.
This will cause the pain to begin to flee. It won’t be conquered, but it will be weakened. Weakened by grace, by joy, by perseverance.
And you will begin to be found.