So I will continue what I hope is a somewhat coherent account of a mostly incoherent, and hugely incomplete development of my spiritual understanding of my experiences. Again, not assuming there is anything spiritual about it at all, but not knowing what other word or paradigm to use.
Lately what has moved me are the ideas of choice, intention, reverance and radical acceptance. My ideas on these concepts are influenced as of right now, mostly by Tara Brach and Gary Zukav. My ideas on radical acceptance are talked about here. So now I will talk more about how choice, intention and reverance move me towards health whether considered within the context of a broader spirituality (as Zukav speaks of them) or not.
I mentioned the power of choice in another post with my experience with PMS. I can choose to act any way I want. And if I choose consciously rather than unconsciously I can determine to a large degree the consequences of my actions. We are always making choices though, even when someone decides there is no choice a choice has been made. Even when something wins out by default because someone “declines” to make a choice, a choice has been made. I’m not suggesting choice is easy and I certainly realize that some circumstances are impossible to extract oneself from, but there are still choices that can be made within the framework of the impossible situation. Whatever is done to us externally, we can choose how we experience it. (I can see peoples critical minds jumping into gear here–what about someone who is being raped, what about people living in marshal states and dying of starvation and on and on. Well I have problems with those ideas too, but I can imagine having a flexible and choosing to have an attitude that allows one to survive with spirit intact) Nelson Mandela comes to mind, Gandhi, Martin Luther King. Tibetan monks and nuns too, having lived through torture and losing their homes show a great resiliency and love of life and appreciation of their human brothers and sisters. I’ve met some of these people who have been tortured and still love and forgive and have a joy in life. These people are all human and they chose how to perceive the world and they chose love. Love transforms our experiences regardless of how ugly they may be.
I also want to get back to my ecumenical roots as I mentioned in my last post. Marissa at depression introspection, has much to say about her struggle with suicidality and depression in the context of understanding herself as a Biblically oriented Christian. She has been lately reviewing a booklet that she picked up at her Christian counseling center. I linked to her first installment of this coverage, if you’re interested in more of it check out the rest of her blog. She shares her beliefs about suicidality from her Christian perspective. Some people struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts will no doubt find what she says about suicidality and depression being a result of sin as offensive. I, on the other hand, have no problem translating the Christian idea of sin into something that makes sense to me. Somewhere along the line I was told by someone (I believe it was a professor in college–or it may have actually been a minister) that the literal translation for sin from the Greek (or Hebrew?) was “missing the mark.” A much gentler and more palatable understanding of the word sin. In any case, I had my stint with being a hard-core Christian as well, so I can relate based on memory alone–much about Christianity does make sense to me. I can just do without the fundamentalists and the idea of eternal damnation for anyone. We all miss the mark sometimes…even with the grossest of human degenerates, it’s all about missing the mark even if by a radically and sickeningly long shot. And often times, to tie this into the above, we can choose not to miss the mark or not to sin.
When I talk like this I wonder how I can possibly hold anger for my psychiatrists and the establishment any longer. My broad view of humanity is that everyone is worthy of forgiveness. I really see it that way. And there are a lot of people who have committed heinous acts. But if I can still see them as human and as such frail and worthy of forgiveness, can’t God? So…no eternal damnation for me. And I really have to work on my anger towards the psychiatric establishment!! It really is poison.
Zukav, who I speak about above expresses his spiritual philosophy through accepting the concept of reincarnation, which very neatly explains everything. I’d like it to be so simple, I’m just not sure it is. In any case the law of karma does indeed make a lot of things make sense and if applied through thousands of lifetimes can begin to explain the massive insanity and suffering in the world. I want to believe in reincarnation. I can’t say I do. I also can’t say I do not. His description of it is tantalizing but there are quite a few gaps in reasoning that I simply had trouble with. There’s that agnosticism again. His thoughts on choice, intention and reverence however hold up whether or not you buy into the rest of his philosophy.
The process of my coming to believe I have choice and that choice impacts my reality in measurable ways–even to the point that I “create” some of my reality, is helping me heal and helping me accept my present circumstances. If we own what we have created for ourselves we cease to be victims. (I have not mastered this line of thinking–I still often feel I am a victim of psychiatry, but I also believe that as long as I feel this way, I will be shy of recovering my mental health and so am committed to continue changing my attitude.)
I hope it’s okay to end here. I’ve not even begun to cover intention and reverence, but I’m exhausted and not really up to clear thinking today (my life circumstances are weighing heavy on me.) Also, I had no complete vision about what direction this blog would take, so you are discovering with me where it will go. I guess I said it would be my journey of recovery and that is what it is. An unveiling of the process as it happens. I suppose I could not possibly have a vision of the unknowable, nor could it emerge with fully developed thinking. I’ve been on mute for many years. I think my intellectual, spiritual and emotional growth have all been stunted. I have a lot of catching up to do.