Taking that journey to enlightenment is a one way trip. A bell cannot be un-rung and you cannot un-know what you have learned. That was one of the last laments Christine left me with: “Why didn’t you tell me that there was no way back?”
The path is a pursuit you take on. You have to want to interrupt your own delusion. To do this you have to appreciate seeing what is not working in your life.
— Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel
People have learned to live with delusion. They don’t complain about what is, rather they complain about what they believe should be, complaining about how life, their partners and the world fail to meet their own expectations.
“Treat me like I want to be treated,” they wail, ranking out those who are stuck in their own delusions about how the world has failed them and how other people never treat them like they desire to be treated, how they deserve to be cared for.
To live in the delusion is to live in a negative identity, knowing what you are not, knowing how the world failed you, knowing how you are separate & different. Negative identity demands identifying enemies, those who are out to hurt people like you, shaping who you are as a wail or attack on those who refuse to change to meet your simple & beautiful needs.
The path to healing, to caring, is the path away from a negative identity, from knowing who we are not, to a positive identity, to knowing who we are. It is to live in love, burning with love for a world that you cannot fix, knowing how the battle serves you, knowing how you are connected & a part of all.
The delusion, though, is always easier, specially in a world where marketers have learned to use that delusion to control social behaviour, to control your behaviour. Everyone wants to be tame and fit into the group, following the conventions & expectations, even as we feel the need to be wild and claim our own messy, human, powerful heart.
Knowing yourself is owning yourself, owning your own history, thoughts & choices, knowing that the holiest you is a creature of action, not a creature of reaction. Your struggles are your struggles, but your choices are you.
Not having anyone to blame is hard, not just for the burden it places on you, but especially for the way it reflects on the people around you. Your positive identity, your responsibility for your choices casts light on their responsibility for their choices. It shows their rationalizations and beliefs for what they are, uncloaking the delusion they use to deflect scrutiny from themselves.
Everyone wants and needs compassion, for we are but humans doing the best we can in a world we cannot fix, cannot perfect. Explaining why we deserve compassion, though, pushes compassion away from us. By showing our effort, our work, our struggle to become aware and take responsibility for our choices, we open the hearts of those around us. By identifying as a victim, worthy of indulgence, though, others close to us, asking us to take responsibility for what we can change.
God, grant me the courage to change what I can,
the serenity to accept what I cannot change,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Struggling to leave the soft, shared delusion behind is always hard, because it always demands that we claim who we are, taking responsibility for our choices, rather than just living in who we are not, blaming the world for how it treated someone as special & delicate as we are.
People heal in their own time and their own way, even you.
We cannot heal the world, cannot fix it. We can only heal ourselves and let our healing, our service and our love become a force to help others who are struggling begin to move beyond their delusions when they are ready, when they begin to burn for moving forward.
The Buddhist path is not about cultivating peacefulness.
It is about cultivating wakefulness.
We are trying to expand our repertoire of what we can handle.
— Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel
Ms Mattis Namgel calls it the Buddhist path, but I see it as the human path, a path towards enlightenment that the Buddha took and that is open to each of us. “There are dangers in all forms of literalism,” and for me, the fundamentalist delusion that only the path you chose to healing is true & valid is getting the ladder mixed up with the destination.
For me, living among people who cannot afford to let their delusion die, those who expect caring and live in blame rather than those who give caring and live in love is very hard.
I struggle to engage wakefulness, becoming more aware though my own practice of writing, then sharing that work with the world in a loving attempt to help others.
Others embrace my service to them, my active caring. Because they need their own delusion, though, others have not really listened to me for so long that I am drowning in the the pool of my own unheard truth. I feel un-mirrored, my heart invisible and lonely, at the end of my rope.
Simply being myself in the world demands others confront their own comfortable delusions, the separations that they think are real but are only in their mind. “In cultures where gender is rigidly bi-polar, rituals of gender crossing remind us of our continuous common humanity.” That’s been my mission statement, and I am sticking to it.
In the end, our life is about what we are willing to fight for much more than it is about what we are willing to fight against. Tell me who you are rather than telling me who you are not, show me your personal pride rather than your shared enemies. That’s one reason why, even though I could easily be called “non-binary” I have slipped that identification; too many people use it to convey what they want to avoid rather than what they are willing to claim.
The only way to be a healer is to take responsibility for your own choices, no matter what wounds you have endured. When your scars tell a story of transcendence rather than one of victimization, you define yourself rather than letting your abusers name & shame you.
Love is the force that we have. We cannot fix the world, but we can be love in it, raging against the delusion of separation.
Enlightenment is hard because we live in a world most comfortable in twilight. Brilliance makes others want us to heal them rather than using us as beacon which can lead them to their own emergence, their own rising, their own light. Healing, though, only comes by doing the work, claiming personal wakefulness, seeing clearly what is not working and interrupting your own delusion.
Is emerging worth the risk of drowning in your own un-mirrored awareness? I guess that, for me, I needed healing so much that it was.
For you, though, how much is healing worth? Are you ready to move beyond your comforting expectations of how others should change and take responsibility for who you are?