A long contemplation…

contEvery morning when I wake up now I start it first with a period of contemplative prayer, followed by a period of mindfulness meditation.

I only began to pray recently, (and it’s not distinctly religious in nature) in the last few months when my physical suffering at times became unbearable. Emotionally too I was struggling with questions about why in the hell I should be going through all this. Before that I had a pretty cynical and even anti view towards prayer for myself, though I always gladly accepted prayer from others.

I like the way Daniel Mackler refers to prayer in this post on being your own therapist here:

Prayer, a hateful word to many because it is so misused (by ultra-religious people) and so disrespected (by those traumatized by the ultra-religious), is a wonderful form of self-reflection. It is done best in silence and privacy, so that only you and your own heart can hear your deepest desires and needs. Prayer is a chance to go as deep as you can consciously go, and a chance to let your soul air its most beautiful truth. The most original and honest prayers open the deepest doors, and let us know who we really are and what it is that is most important to us in our lives. They say that prayer is talking to “God,” and when we remember that the Kingdom of God is within, and that “God” is really just the best of our truest inner self connected with the truth of the whole universe, we remember that when we pray we are talking with our best friend in the universe.

So anyway, I start each day in this manner. Prayer with word and thought in my mind, I speak my heart to the universe, and then meditation with the goal of being present with whatever is in my being and embracing it completely. This may include painful and unpleasant feelings as well as positive. I try to embrace it all and simply be with it.

Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve started to feel guilt about my part in the mess I find myself in. At first this made me uncomfortable, but now I’m choosing to view it as a step in the right direction because I believe it’s always been there. Guilt and anger at myself for getting to this place. For taking drugs for 20 years. For poisoning my body, mind and soul for 20 years. For denying my true being. For letting others control my destiny. Huh? Stop, right there. We cannot let others control our destiny and that is exactly why this feels like a good process. We have choice and volition in the way we allow others to effect us. We may not be conscious enough to recognize this and there are times when we are so vulnerable that, yes, people hurt us, but ultimately if we don’t take responsibility for how people effect us once we reach adulthood then we give away all our power.

As I forgive myself for my collusion with all the doctors and mental health care providers and just people in my life (boyfriends for example) and how they’ve hurt me—as I let go of anger at myself for trusting people and GIVING away my power, I can also then stop being angry at all the people I perceive to have harmed me so gravely. I was there. I could have walked away. I could have said no at any time.

I’m not talking about childhood here. What happens when we are children is in a different category and I still need to work on some of that stuff too. And it’s most likely a very different process.

It’s not to say all those people in my adult life are innocent. It’s simply realizing none of us are innocent. I’m not innocent. We all take part in the dance of humanity helping as well as hurting others and ourselves at different times.

I’ve been very angry at a few specific people in my more recent history of tackling my problems because I thought they shared my views unlike the psychiatrists of old, and indeed they do. But in trusting them implicitly because they shared my views I actually gave away more of my power then I did to some of the traditional docs. And so I felt much more betrayed and hurt when these people failed to be perfect and made decisions that I went along with that hurt me very badly. Are they bad people? No. And neither am I. And neither were most of my traditional psychiatrists. There were a couple who were truly control freaks, but for the most part I had nice people I worked with even in traditional psychiatry. The man who prescribes the last bit of Klonopin to me, is a traditional doc and a beautiful man. He is allowing for my self-determination even if he is also actively prescribing to others.

In fact he has embraced my truth and needs much more profoundly than the last couple of alternative docs I worked with who had control issues of their own. But I also see that these people meant well, much like my traditional docs, but simply had dogmas of their own. A different kind of dogma, perhaps a safer dogma over-all that don’t involve toxic drugs, but a dogma nonetheless and they wanted to put me in their boxes much like other more traditional docs.

All of us do this sometimes. Yes, me too. And in seeing myself in all these people, I am letting go of the anger at myself and thus, what I’m really doing is stopping my internalized anger from going out and blaming others externally. Externalizing my pain in rage at others is simply not stopping to look in the mirror. All these people have been mirrors for me. Teachers. I am slowly embracing this. Slowly being able to thank god that these people have been in my life and taught be valuable, if painful lessons. Some of them, more recently, have given me bits of extremely important information that helps me heal in practical ways as well. My supplement regime that allows me to sleep so well is a result of the knowledge and wisdom of one of these imperfect souls that hurt me. I must be grateful for that assistance and I am.

I will end here with a quote I posted just yesterday.

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.
African proverb

This is a process. I have by no means let go of all anger, rage or hatred inside myself. That is most likely impossible.

Part of this process has been aided by special people in my life who have no desire to control me, but honor me with great respect and have been signposts in the right direction. To them I am profoundly grateful. And they work in tandem with those who have hurt me as teachers. Life is strange, no?


(first published March of this year)

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