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Reader comment on Anna Quindlen's passage ...

Get a Life


On Sep 30, 2014 Syd wrote:

I want to thank everyone for your reflections on “Get a Life.”  I like to be real and speak simple truth, as everyone is doing here.  I enjoy everyone being direct and authentic.  There is also a side of me willing to reveal my flaws and irrationalities, since it reflects my essence.  With this said, I am willing to communicate a part of me which has over identified with my suffering and woundedness.  Because of my physical deficiency and even my inner deficiency I have made a lifestyle out of suffering.  To suffer is to feel deficient.
 
I am gradually realizing I am caught in my emotional reactions to my suffering.  I do not stay with my direct awareness to allow my suffering to transform me.  My belief is in my deficiency.  I have constructed an identity out of it.  If my ego is going full force, such as identifying with my feeling my inner lack, I begin to live in my story and I will even make up stores about being inadequate, unimportant and undesirable.  My story results in this constant emotional storminess and reactivity.  The whole of it obscures my ability to perceive my true identity, my value or anything else for that matter.          
 
I am beginning to realize I fixate on suffering, a bittersweet loss, and other melancholy feelings.  Unfortunately, this activity is immature and the fixations always play themselves out as a constant inner commentary on my inadequacies.  I can even get caught up in how others have let me down.  It feels like my fixation on my suffering is causing extreme self-consciousness, and is profoundly cutting me off from my source of truthfulness. 
 
I want to move to a new place and consciously accept my suffering, especially learning to accept this suffering from anxiety.  True enough this makes me feel edgy.  I feel like I am stepping into nothingness, this void, and like I am walking off the edge of the world.   I understand this place is beyond any beliefs and learned procedures.  I realize there is a self that can suffer and transcend s it.  I realize when the moment is felt and suffering is accepted the self is possessed.  Yet I get caught into trying to make my suffering a meaningful force.  
 
The moment or even my getting a life is no concept or belief.  It feels like the direct experience of my identity to suffer, without creating a particular image or idea from it, is living in this contact with Being.  Therefore, Being must partake in my suffering or there could be no self in this flow.  The hopelessness would make me look for ways to escape the crushing negative self-consciousness.  Maybe it is courage that draws upon the Essential and is this inner strength.  I just wish my faith could constantly let go and learn to rest in this void. 
 
I have not learned to rest in suffering and totally accept it without creating an identity out of it.  Yet also there is dynamic unfolding of life in this moment.  There seems to be a confidence to rest that offers this hope without my ego mind being caught in its agendas and projects.  Maybe this inner place can only be touched by stillness and getting a life is this stillness.  Stillness is simply learning to rest within pain and suffering, yet my mind is questioning this.  Nevertheless, this edginess, the void, suffering, depression all seems to need to fall into stillness where this raw material is given a place to rest in Hope. 
 
My writing creates this note like an echo of tears, yet truth also strikes my soul.  She is my hope just as you are all my hope.  This seems to be just a place to begin this journey, to let go as faith.  May the journey begin in truth and in faith, and hopefully it is an opening to this hidden depths.  Your presence is significant!   
 
                      
 


On Sep 30, 2014 Lfm wrote:

 Still cannot help believe your experience/reality, though painful, is for good . . . Preparing you for the future . . . Giving you reason to hope, hang on and even celebrate the journey.  
He is the Potter and we are His clay.  Let's continue to allow God to manipulate our shape and form us to His likeness . . . For His glory.
We "get no life" outside of Him.
I still very much admire your courage!
Again, I will pray for you this Thursday at mass.

 
On Oct 1, 2014 Syd wrote:

 Lfm, it is interesting you use the terms, “He is the Potter and we are His clay.”  This is probably true enough, where the Potter turns all our experiences, both the good and the bad, into something more for our growth as human beings.  Maybe the Potter can create beyond my human limitations. Yet I do not like this being burned in the oven, as this chasm creates inner darkness and it feels like a black hole draining whatever life I have out of me.  I feel like I am being burned from the inside out. 
 
You may know of John of the Cross.  He describes wood being burned in a stove where the snow, ice, dirt and bark finally turn into a red hot coal.  Naturally this red hot coal puts off heat and love, yet my unconscious impulses also burn in anger.  So it helps to open the door to the stove and draw a little inspiration from this heat.  Painful and paradoxical, raw material and inspirational is truly the highest form of creativity.  It is rather “soul-making,” something beautiful here and seems to be this fire which creates. 
 
I thank you for your prayers, as there is terrifying attraction to this darkness and yet a little opening in the door allows me to not see this darkness as being demonic.                

 
On Oct 1, 2014 Syd wrote:

It seems I could have described John of the Cross’s terms better about the wood being turned into a red hot coal.  For some reason something blocking my brain cells from saying the wood becomes the red hot coal.  This is strange.  Oh well, fire is purifying and many of us in hell maybe can see it that way.   It is a place where the Supreme Being or our being cannot be harmed.     

 
On Oct 1, 2014 david doane wrote:

Syd - A couple thoughts occurred to me as I read your words. 1)  I suffer my pain, that's life.  To suffer my pain efficiently is wise.  To suffer my pain painfully may not be necessary.  2)  I hope I have and suffer my pain, and not my pain have and suffer me.  Thank you for sharing openly.

 
On Oct 1, 2014 Syd wrote:

 What you write is well said David.  It feels like my suffering cuts me off from the ground of Being   My suffering seems to create a particular identity and I lose my source to Being.  So writing this out, after digging up my emotional reactions, is to find stillness or peace will allow  my soul to transform all my experiences.  I am not fully certain about my ability to live by this, yet it is a good place to begin. “Get a Life” fits the ground I am on and with this I honor your realistic faith David, as your faith helps me to find my center.           

 
On Oct 1, 2014 Lfm wrote:

 Why so angry, Syd. 
I pray God keep working your clay BEFORE the kiln.  
Let not the sun go down on your anger.  Give it away.  Walk it away.  Talk it away.  Forgive it away.  ****when the time is right****
(Anger would be equivalent to an air bubble within your clay.  Put to heat, you'll blow up)
His peace I leave with you, brother!

 
On Oct 2, 2014 Syd wrote:

 Lfm, I thank you for asking, “Why so angry, Syd?”  I believe the greatest reason is my expectations are unfulfilled, such as simply walking. Because my cells do not produce energy for my muscles there is lots of exhaustion, fatigue, and feeling alienated from myself and others.  If I sink into this physical or inner deficiency then suffering becomes my identity.  I will then turn anger and aggression against myself. 
 
I use to feel there was no way out of this tormented consciousness, like feeling hopeless.  I then realized I was caught in my emotional reactions and my beliefs about my deficiency.  I realized my inner commentary is creating an identity based on suffering.  My ego is based on suffering and ultimately is deficient.  So the best I can tell to gain a better satisfaction with my life is to move beyond all my beliefs.  This not a concept or even an idea to live up to, but is more like falling into a direct experience of Essence.       
 
The falling is letting go.  My moving into stillness is letting go of my anger.  There is no clinging to anything here, inner or outer.  This Essence feels like a place where everything arises and disappears, which creates this state of stillness and peace.  Peace also creates this flow, so it seems right in your offering His peace.  There is enormous dignity, self-respect, and this unshakable equanimity within peace.   It feels like this place of true worth.  Powerful!    
     

 
On Oct 3, 2014 david doane wrote:

 Syd -- You might enjoy Ram Dass' book, Still Here.  I found it helpful.

 
On Oct 3, 2014 Syd wrote:

 Thanks David and I just order it.  

 
On Oct 6, 2014 Rebecca McCarty wrote:

 Everyone suffers, there is no getting around this fact. However what we do with our suffering is a different matter. There are different kinds of suffering, and there are different ways we can deal with our suffering. There is real suffering, like physical pain, or loss of a loved one. And then there is imaginary suffering, based on negative imagination; worry about what others may think of us, feelings of disappointment or resentment, when events don't turn out the way we expected them to turn out, feelings of being misunderstood, feelings of self pity etc.. The difference between real and imaginary suffering is often difficult to see. Real suffering is unavoidable, imaginary suffering is a result of our own negative trains of thought, and is entirely avoidable.

When we suffer, a chain of automatic internal response begins. The negativity of suffering multiplies by something like a factor of 100. Some one insults us, first we are hurt, then offended, then resentful, then angry, we turn the subject over and over, think up ways we should have responded, plot revenge and so forth, all according to our programming, and we only forget the insult very slowly. From one point of view, it is exciting to feel negative, it even gives us the illusion that we are "real", for anyone who is suffering to the extent we feel we are suffering,"must be real".

When something good happens to us, a chain of automatic response also begins. However, as odd as it might seem,the positive emotion only multiplies by a factor of something like 10. Someone compliments us, we feel a spark of happiness,a momentary thrill, we may think about it a couple of times, feel a few good feelings related to our memory of the event, then we forget about it fairly rapidly. 

It takes psychic energy to sustain moments of higher consciousness. Negative emotions burn up psychic  energy, which is why we feel exhausted afterwards. When we have a positive emotion it actually creates psychic energy, which is why we feel invigorated after a good laugh.

If awakening is your aim, that is, if one is actively committed to the process of spiritual development, one comes to the problem of  where to get enough psychic energy, to elevate one's higher self, high enough to enter, and sustain a higher state of consciousness. This is where suffering can be of great value, because the negative emotions produced by suffering can be transformed into positive emotions. When this happens the 100 factor multiplies by the 10 factor,  positive emotions produced as a result of transforming negative emotions multiply by a factor of 1000. Christ's simple statement, "Forgive them, they know not what they do". Has multiplied itself far beyond the 1000 times factor, it has powerfully touched people the world over,changing the way generations of men conduct themselves toward one another, a most beautiful example of this principle in action.

How can we transform suffering? Very simply, by accepting it, by rising above it without expressing it. To do this one must find a place above suffering and from that higher space, simply watch all of the automatic negative feelings that arise as a result, without attaching a sense of  identity to them. We are not those negative emotions, they are just passing phenomenon, temporary, transitory in nature. Transforming suffering is not to be confused with suppressing suffering, pretending to ourselves that we are not suffering, is simply living a lie. Transformation occurs when we find a space "to be" above suffering, and observe it, without identifying with it, without blame without judgment.

When we successfully are able to transform suffering, something grows in us, something strengthens,  virtue expands, we find ourselves blessed with increased tolerance, patience, increased ability to compassionately forgive. There is nothing which makes us more God-like than transforming suffering, for think...God, the source of all Being, must have transformed the travail associated with the act of turning the potential of pre-creation, into this, our manifest reality. I remember this when suffering seems more than "I can bare", and it is exactly at this point, where all that is weak in one says, "I can't take any more" that one CAN take more, and it is at this leading edge of transformation, that surmounted, leads to the greatest spiritual development. Rilke, a sensitive German poet of the 1800's said, "We are wasters of sorrows". Everyone suffers, there is no avoiding it, if we burn the energy we could gain by transforming it, by indulging in negative emotions, wallowing in self pity, resentment, anger, self doubt, and so forth, we waste our opportunities to add much, to our inner spiritual life.

Deep down inside, we all know that transforming suffering leads to states of grace, studying how to gain the strength to rise above, and how not to succumb to the lower states suffering evokes, is a worthy pursuit. One we master, slowly, over time, by degrees.




 
On Oct 6, 2014 Syd wrote:

Rebecca, I was pleased to see your post.  I appreciate you expressing the point when we say, “I can’t take it any more” and is the point of transformation.  The last few days I have worked at not being lost or swept away in my emotional reactions.  There is this connection with truth, sometimes painful experiences and realizations, yet I allowing peace to find my suffering and experiences worthwhile.  This day, I am realizing by not attaching an identity to my suffering experiences, is this profound stillness.  There is no accomplishment or a source of doing or even dividing my experiences into different categories.  This stillness is a self, empty, yet paradoxically everything.  Maybe it is the point my identity becomes Beingnness and there is nothing to prop up here.  Maybe this stillness is Divine awareness, rather than my projects and preoccupations of my personality around my suffering. 
 
I just want you to know your writings are offering confidence to rest in hope and it feels like this place to cease my agendas and projects.  I never new stillness could offer such Hope and becomes everything.  I am just touching this awareness, suffering moving into stillness.  I want to thank you for your awareness and writing, which helps my awareness to be in stillness and rest in Hope.  Your presence touches me and your presence is deeply significant

 
On Oct 7, 2014 Amy wrote:

 Wow, Rebecca!  Amen to your thoughts!  T y!
Much to ponder . . . "recycling" our pain.

 
On Oct 7, 2014 Jo wrote:

 Back at you, Syd!  We help each other . . . we are His Body . . . given this day to offer life and love support  as He directs us.  Blessings

 

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