This is the continuation of Conscious Suffering- How I Drag Myself Back Down. That was the pain stage and the Buddhist teachings stage; this is the solution stage. In Part One, I realize I’m doing it to myself. I’m constantly recreating the rhythm that leads me to my own depression. I keep going there, allowing myself again and again to walk down the path that takes me exactly where I don’t want to be. So, read Part One first so you’ll know what’s up; and now, Part Two: Ending That Suffering- Four Decisions To Pull You Back Up lovingly awaits you.
In Part One: Conscious Suffering, we talked about how I allow the stimulus to drag me down, how I seek ‘pure consciousness’, and what Buddhism’s Six Sextets Model of Consciousness has to say about it. As I learn new things, I’m playing therapist on myself, and using the new tools to relieve suffering. I ended Conscious Suffering identifying a short list of What Exactly I Am Doing Wrong. You may find yourself in my lists. You may just find your thoughts and motives there too.
So, in this solution stage, I want to know how do I stop doing that which I know is wrong for me, and start doing that which I know is good for me. Deep breath….
And How Do I Do That?
The magic question to end my own inferno. Here is what the Buddha himself said in Majjhima Nikava:
“…[K]nowing & seeing the eye as it actually is present, knowing & seeing [visible] forms… consciousness at the eye… contact at the eye as they actually are present, knowing & seeing whatever arises conditioned through contact at the eye – experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain – as it actually is present, one is not infatuated with the eye… forms… consciousness at the eye… contact at the eye… whatever arises…. The craving that makes for further becoming – accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now this & now that – is abandoned by him. His bodily disturbances & mental disturbances are abandoned. His bodily torments & mental torments are abandoned. His bodily distresses & mental distresses are abandoned. He is sensitive both to ease of body & ease of awareness…”
Translation, as if the Buddha himself were smiling down at me and speaking:
Dearest Gabi. Take that which you give passion and delight to, take that which you associate craving and torment to; and note what comes up. Observe it. Become aware of your body’s distress, Gabi, become aware of your mind’s distress, Gabi, and, with time and practice, they will become at ease.
So, Buddhism tells me to take at my yearning for my addiction (and for the late-night Snicker’s bar), and just look at it. Look at it. I can write about it, talk about it, walk with it, or close my eyes and meditate through it. I don’t have to act upon it. I don’t have to allow myself to create that contact, that will lead to that feeling, that will lead to that craving. If I can observe it earlier and stop it, great! But I don’t think I can just yet. I would like to change my translation in the contact stage from ‘painful’ to ‘neutral’ but I don’t know how to do that, just yet. For now, I can see myself doing four things that I think will work for me, right now.
The Four Decisions
1- Stop looking at all the things that bring it up. Just stop it. Decide (I have) and stop it. We often allow ourselves to get sucked into the comforting pain of self-inflicting habits. It does you no good, dear Gabi and dear you. And we’re both doing it, for no good reason. It brings us absolutely no light. Not at this point anyway.
No light. Won’t do it.
I decide. And so, I stop it. You can decide too.
2- When I begin going down that mental path of memories, stop it. Again, does you no good. Again I can use my life jacket ‘I control my thoughts, I control my emotions’ mantra to get me out of that old, familiar path I keep walking down that hurts so much. I just repeat ‘I control my thoughts, I control my emotions’ as long as it takes me to stop myself from that thinking, and start to manually think of something else.
At times, I’ve had physical panic attack reactions, as I manually change my thoughts away from that which I so victim-like, zombie -like walk into and onto something else. But, if I can do it, so can you. Manually force yourself to go somewhere, anywhere, else.
3- Create active outlets for me to get out what it within me. In the last week, I have stopped cold-turkey 100% all forms of exercise. I can tell you all the great reasons why, but it’s irrelevant. I need that. I need that time alone, I need that physical burning of my muscle’s juices to let my chi flow freely.
You may need to play guitar, write, sing, swim, dance, read, or paint. Otherwise, you also might turn to less healthy escapes from what is stuck within. Otherwise, I start eating sweets at night, like I used to before I lost 25 pounds. And am I willing to go back there again? No, I’m not. Are you? No, you’re not either.
4- Love myself to death. I am doing such a great job in overcoming the hardest thing I have ever had to in my life, and in overcoming the medium and small things along the way. So, this last week, I’ve eaten more sweets than I have in the past two months. Ok, I hug myself, and stand ready to observe all that comes up with love and light. And for me, part of that loving myself is actively making decisions to stop unhealthy habits that escape my pain. I will not continue on this destructive pattern of self-abuse. That is what it has become. And I recognize that with love and light. Loving myself means forgiving myself for hurting myself (physically and emotionally) and deciding to do something else.
The Take Away Message
I realize that all of my four ways to help myself may sound similar, and they are. But, they are different enough for me. For I need to hear the same thing in several different angles. You need to hear the same thing in different versions. Why? So that when when hit we moments of weakness, we will have several different life-jackets to hold onto.
Will I look at that picture when I’m lonely? No.
Will I let myself daydream into depression? No.
Will I down into inactivity that makes me heavier? No.
Will I continue in these destructive habits that try to escape my pain? No.
Will I berate and begrudge myself for feeling this pain? No.
But… I will exercise, I will write through it, I will seek knowledge, I will celebrate who I am, I will play guitar, I will look deeply into my children’s eyes, I will hug my husband really hard, I will talk to my body, I will breathe.
And, yes, I will recognize the deepest truths in Rumi’s quote from the beginning of this entry:
I have lived on the lip of insanity,
wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I’ve been knocking from the inside. – Rumi
No one, no one, no one will give me what I need. Not the reasons, not the apology, not the righteousness I seek. Not the relief for my jealousy, anger, or pain. No one will relieve my suffering, no one will make me whole again. I was insane seeking that from others. I was. Until I realized that I was knocking on my own door, from the inside. It is just me. Just me. Just me. Everything else is just cream. It is just me.
I’ve squeezed the juices out of my soul to bring you this one. This post took so much out of me, professionally and personally. Putting it in simple terms, expressing it just right, touching all of my pain after so long was really tough. Should you have any thoughts you wish to share with me, this is the time and place. I await anything you may want to say. And, I know that if you are silent, that I will answer the knocking of my own door. 🙂
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