“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, …”

wolf-howl-silhouette1 “…but by making the darkness conscious.” I went to my Men’s meeting the other morning.   As usual it was an interesting place to be.   One of my issues with AA is the unwillingness to making the darkness conscious at the meeting level.   My wonderful friends who are suffering from the effects of PTSD and other “mental health,” issues express confusion that when they are in meetings and they struggling, most of the other people in the rooms are speaking of gratitude, acceptance and/or tolerance.  They ask me and I question also whether the people speaking of gratitude etc. aren’t just “imagining figures of light,”  because they can’t/won’t deal with the darkness that they carry.

When I am struggling, and much of the time my depression makes me feel like I am searching for a life raft in the middle of this sea of hopelessness, I have a hard time with gratitude, acceptance and/or tolerance.

waterfall“Six years and I am ready for a rope” This quote came from a guy who was in the meeting the other morning.   Usually this guy has that “gratitude, acceptance and/or tolerance,” to offer to the group.  So a part of me thought, yeah, this is how sobriety is for many of us.

Yet there was a part of me that wanted to just go sit next to him and hold his hand or put my arm around him.  I didn’t because of my fear of rejection, but I wanted to help him walk through his pain.

This dis-ease we have as a culture we think of as something that only I have, that me as an individual is the one who can’t function or be “productive.”

water-dropWhat I am learning is that we are living this as a society, we who are “alcoholics,” just can’t use those mechanisms we used before to mitigate the pathology we have.  I am left with my depression and I have to work my way through it as well as I can.  It has and is a brutal experience of pain, loneliness and despair at times.

I also remember that I am grateful that I get to express it here and in those meetings I go to.

Many say that I am just a rebel or I hate authority. To them I say this.   If the people who struggle with their emotional health because of past trauma or abuse can’t be helped or just accepted for who and where we are, then I do rebel and resist authority.

weeds-sunsetI only do so because we did not ask for the conditions we have.  The Fanatic didn’t ask for her struggle.  Willem3655 didnt ask for the pain he is experiencing right now.  I didn’t ask for my life to be shredded from 6 years ago.  They are where they are and I am where I am because my culture wants to have mindfulness, but not the pain that mindfulness will bring.

123 RV, SA, JW, RW, PA!  Quotes by Carl Jung unless noted.



2 thoughts on ““One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, …”

  1. Reblogged this on both sides of the wall and commented:
    I like this. we are so often told to be mindful of the moment, but remain silent in our pain. It’s in our pain that we need to speak out and have someone share it. I even struggle with this in therapy lately. De isn’t big on talking about what’s eating me, just how to cope with it. Sometimes that’s helpful, but a lot of the time I need to be able to give voice to what’s inside. It took me so lon to be able to talk about things, then I get a therapist who focuses on the distractions and coping skills without much energy devoted to just being in the moment of the struggle. I know she has helped me learn some invaluable skills, but at the same time, I feel more alone than I ever have much of the time. My family does not hold a culture of speaking about what bothers you. L tries, but I resist much of the time. It’s so easy to fall back into pushing things away. We need to pay more attention to opening ourselves, to feeling and being less alone in our hurt…

  2. Interesting thoughts. Reminds me for some reason of a book called “Care of the soul” by Thomas Moore. He talks about appreciating our Shadowside, Which is somewhat different from what you’re talking about, since appreciation isn’t really your point, But more acknowledgment. But your title suggests that we may end up having learned something from looking at the dark.

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