“There isn’t any hell or heaven except for how we relate to our world. Hell is just resistance to life.” ~Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape.
When I am in hell, I need to write. The part that is screwed up (of course!) is that I resist writing, as well. When I am in hell, I am resisting life. I am not embracing what is. I am upset, although at this point in my life, I am incapable of being upset without thinking I am never upset for the reason I think, which gives me pause. Yesterday, when my husband and I had a rare instance of clashing, I found myself wondering what it was within me that needed healing. Intellectually, I knew I needed to be present to the discomfort, though what I did instead was pour myself a glass of wine and hide from life by playing solitaire for a few hours. It did nothing to relieve my pain. It lurked in the background like some threatening jailer. Being present can be painful when we are resisting life, but it is not really less painful than hiding. As I frittered away the hours last night feeling as if the clock was moving way too slowly for my taste, I thought about how frequently I resist life. The result is a subtle version of hell. There is no yelling and screaming in my house. Even when Jay and I are trying to regain our footing with one another and haven’t made our way back yet, you can tell that we both crave the easiness that is the hallmark of our marriage. We clash like that so infrequently that we don’t even know how to do that dance. I sat with the psychic pain as best I could and understood for the trillionth time how really bad scenarios can be birthed in the midst of misery. Suicide. Murder. Domestic violence. Alcoholism. Drug addiction. Gambling. Porn. Any addiction really. All of them are attempts to escape the suffering born of resisting life.
I am trying to be present, but my thoughts are still causing me to suffer.
Yet, who controls those thoughts exactly????
In our ACIM group last Tuesday we read, “You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own. Whatever form his sins appear to take, it but obscures the fact that you believe it to be yours, and therefore meriting a ‘just’ attack.”
You spot it. You got it. I just project shit outside of myself in a feeble attempt to disown what needs healing.
I am rereading Pema Chodron’s The Wisdom of No Escape: The Path of Loving Kindness. Chodron says, “Mindfulness is loving all the details of our lives, and awareness is the natural thing that happens: life begins to open up, and you realize that you’re always standing at the center of the world.”
That sounds so much better than the habit of stress I have been falling into.
The Course says, “There is no one who does not feel that he is imprisoned in some way. If this is the result of his own free will he must regard his will as not free, or the circular reasoning in this position would be quite apparent. Free will must lead to freedom. Judgment always imprisons because it separates segments of reality by the unstable scales of desire. Wishes are not facts. To wish is to imply that willing is not sufficient. Yet no one in his right mind believes that what is wished is as real as what is willed. Instead of “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven” say, “Will ye first the Kingdom of Heaven,” and you have said, “I know what I am and I accept my own inheritance.””
Quit resisting life. Go with the flow. Trust that God has your back. This too shall pass.
Lately, I have been reminding myself that it is only by facing my fears that I build courage. I cannot disempower them if I am unwilling to engage. I am, quite frankly, getting tired of resisting life. I am tired of believing the lies of the ego. I am tired of acting as if I am imprisoned. I want out of hell.
I need to write more so that I can tunnel my way out. I need to write, but I resist that, too.
Chodron say, “The problem is that the desire to change is fundamentally a form of aggression toward yourself.” It is the opposite of self-acceptance. It is an ego-trick that reinforces the notion that who I am, as I am, is not good enough.
“Our neurosis and our wisdom are made out of the same material,” says Chodron. “If you throw out your neurosis, you also throw out your wisdom.”
I could see peace instead of this. I could rest in God, knowing that everything already is okay. But I won’t experience it as long as I insist on resisting what is and acting as if God got it wrong.
Namaste, my friends, Namaste.