“We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star in our hand...
and melting like a snowflake.”

Life Within, Life Without

I believe we urge to feel connected to Life. We feel that connection when we belong, when we connect to others, either humans, animals or nature. When we feel that what we give is beneficial, accepted, when we interact, play. We also feel that connection when we experience flow in any activity.

The opposites are stagnation, the absence of flow, or isolation, the absence of connection, even rejection. The Life within us urges to connect to the Life without us.

This is one of the most deepest needs of human beings, provided survival is secured, and it can be a source of joy but also of pain and isolation.

I believe that at the root of mental illness, is the fact that this need has not been met to a point of satisfaction. In this way most human beings are subject to experience some form of what is known as mental illness, or suffering. This is because the connection between the Life within us and the Life without is dependant on conditions imposed by others, by society, the world. As long as this conditional connection is maintained our self-esteem and mental balance remain uncertain and dependant on conditions. It becomes a gamble, we're placing our sense of well-being at stake. We might some of the time succeed and feel exalted as long as the show is running smoothly for us, as long as we're behaving as expected. But the moment we can't keep up with the script, it all falls apart.

And it is bound to be uncertain, and somewhat dependant on conditions actually. Because we do need connection and affection. I never found anyone possessing an unconditional sense of self-worth, or totally liberated from a need of connection. It is a good goal to strive towards to, to cultivate an independent sense of well-being, and self-worth, but it never becomes perfect, absolute. We need each other, and we all suffer ups and downs through out our lives, because that's just the way it is.

I might sometimes use terms as "unconditional" or "independent" in order to make this mechanisms within ourselves, more transparent, at least to myself. When I understand what is behind my pain, I find I'm better able to let go of the conditions this world we created imposes on us, and this allows me to get closer to self-compassion, forgiveness and acceptance for me and others.

"I guess I have to do the only thing I can do, acceptance and forgiveness. It’s the only tools that you’ve got left. And evolution, if you’re interested in it."
- Bill Hicks

Society imposes so many "ifs" and demands on us, either our appearance, the way we should behave, talk and act that for many of us a gap starts to grow between our Life within and the external world. The connection is severed, we lose balance, our self-esteem and sense of self-worth go down. In this gap we start to grow our dark stuff: the way we talk to ourselves, thoughts that cause mental pain, fears, insecurities, blame, memories, emotional pain, all of this start to form in this gap, and with time they tend to become solidified, due to repetition and habit. We create that Gap by believing that we are not good enough, a belief in the feeling of inadequacy. Although we create that Gap, it does not mean it is our fault, that we are to blame. We were taught to do that to ourselves.

A culture of praise and blame is prevalent and our families have grown in it and have been educated by it, and that is passed down to us. So simple as "don't do that or mommy doesn't love you". I believe we can overcome the Gap, we can connect with ourselves and the external world again. But I believe a better and lasting form of connection is making it independent of the approval of others and society. We must learn how to love ourselves for what we are. We need self-acceptance. Connection and support from others is of course important, but from the right people, who can offer empathy and understanding, because they have been where we are.

Reaching out and Living life is an important part of the process. In my experience introspection is also important in the beginning, but we need to reach out, be with others. Our reactions and our inner mechanisms that come about by the experience of interaction with others and Life in general, are most revealing of what solidifies that Gap, what makes it real: our thoughts, our thinking, habitual inner mechanisms. This Gap exists within myself so this does not mean I can do it. It's not black or white, everyone has this Gap, it's organic, it's a grey area. But the process of understanding it, walking it, working with it, shinning light on that dark area proves to be very interesting, and very revealing of the human condition.

“You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering.”
- Henri Frederic Amiel

No comments: