Want to change your life? Change your mind.
I once had someone describe my personality and thought process as a work of art. It didn’t make sense to me at the time, maybe still doesn’t. Does it make sense to any of you? If so, how so?
Well, it may appear different according to the observer. Everyone can have their own interpretations of it.
It is in some way mysterious yet also makes perfect sense.
Something that only seems obvious after it has been revealed.
If I have sculpted my mind and heart in any way, it’s this. I learned to die on purpose. No matter what, I couldn’t escape all the hurt around me. I couldn’t come to an understanding of it through parental, or any external, guidance.
They have even discovered something strange about autistics. The theory of compromised empathy has been solidly disproved. Autistics commonly display an over developed capacity for mirroring. They feel empathy too much and thus struggle to develop pro-social behaviours around it. This is why they become so rules obsessed so commonly. I avoided that. I still don’t understand why I share too little in common with others that could be called “my kind.” But back to the dying on purpose…
Since I couldn’t avoid the hurt, I began to look carefully at what it was doing to others. How it made them act. I guess I wanted to learn how to limit how much of their hurt I had to deal with, and I discovered that their hurt constrained their thinking. They literally could not think outside of the box of their pain and fear. To create a space for myself in all my relationships, I learned to finesse how I saw the world in those relationships, centre on myself and how I felt about… not their social role. I still struggle to understand social roles and the self images people build around them. I discovered I could feel differently than they do about that pain, and in feeling differently I could act differently although I continued to suffer right alongside them.
My offering today is not a release from suffering, but an understanding that hopefully will preserve your consciousness in the face of suffering. You will die, you will fail, things will change, you are wrong, and all of these things have always been true. Since you have already failed, how do you feel about that? Can you feel in the failure?
I can identify with that. No, identification is not feeling. That’s just another way of clinging to status, of going to sleep. You find a way to not die, to not change by saying things like “I’m just a loser.” “I’m just a failure.” That’s not dying on purpose. Even the so called failure must die. What happens if you die to that inner failure?
I work with the assumption that everything will change, that I can control nothing. In my experience, this has proven very true.
That’s frightening. It does not frighten me. Living in a social world that is governed by the illusion of control does frighten me. I choose my actions not based on my status, but on my feelings, on how it is that I am alive in that moment. My heart, my feelings, my inner being seeks its own centre, its own continuity, and the roadsigns distract from that, the status symbols and identities distract from that. They feel threatening to me. My inner being, perhaps conditioned by my own strange mental architecture, always emphasizes that all stories must end. So dying on purpose is that same as this question, “And then what?” You have already failed, and then what?
Another way of saying this was expressed in the body of philosophy known as Bushido. They believed that in order to truly embody the true spirit of ones honour, in order to truly and fully express ones convictions, to really live up to the truth as you know it to be, you have to surrender preservation. You have to give up on notions of enjoying those things you seek to defend. In order to defend your loved ones with every bit of your soul, you have to give up the notion that you will get to enjoy that relationship. In order to preserve the peace of your community, you have to give up on the notion that you get to enjoy the protection of that peace.
I personally believe, though, that the thinkers behind Bushido philosophy stopped too short, that the understanding though true was a half truth, superficial at best. Though they encouraged the students of their philosophy, warriors, Bushido (Bushi-do literally meant warrior way), they encouraged warriors to see themselves as already dead so they would be ready to lay down their lives when the time came. If we embrace the way of feeling, the way of pain, the way of dying, deeply, we can come to fully understand not why we should be ready to lay down our lives, but how and why we should preserve them. Really feel the meaning behind that, come to intuitively understand how to preserve and nurture them, and maybe even by extension foster that living presence in others.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.