“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
Nothing is simple when it comes to mental illness — there are no easy answers, no political slogans, no webcomics or awareness campaigns that can encompass the full and difficult reality of living with a mental condition.
Yet the truth is that many of us, and many of those we love, live their lives in fear of their own minds. We live in terror of the idea, the possibility, that we are damaged goods, incapable of bringing anything but pain and shame to ourselves and those around us.
I believe that no one “goes crazy” on their own — that we live in a society that is crazy-making in its capacity for trauma, denial, and rejection of its own complicity in the creation of disturbed and violent individuals.
If everyone had access to security and healthcare, if our social systems were more open to diversity of psychological experience and expression, I truly doubt that mental illness as we know it would exist.
This is what we must strive for: a greater understanding of how social oppression and intergenerational trauma breed violence and more trauma. We must come to the realization that everyone exists on a spectrum of mental health and illness, and that no one lives without being affected in some way by the “illness” side of the scale.
Let’s focus on the ways in which oppressive social forces such as poverty, racism and systemic violence, as well as personal traumas like child abuse and neglect, are actually responsible for creating and maintaining the symptoms of mental illnesses.
Finally, we must learn to recognize, and love the madness we find within ourselves so that we might better hold and heal the madness we encounter in the world.
“Truth is unalterable, eternal, and unambiguous. It can be unrecognized, but it cannot be changed. It is beyond learning because it is beyond time and process. It has no opposite; no beginning and no end. It merely is.” ― A Course In Miracles
You, who read this now, may be from half way across the world. We may be separated by decades of age and experience or be from completely different races, cultures, and religions but we can all relate to the ever-present helplessness, fear, and disconnection we feel being part of the human race on planet Earth. But feeling lost, in reality, is a universal truth that connects us all. We share the same journey; to stop allowing fear to chose our lives for us, and end the control it has over our existence.
Most of us believe we need more of some THING to keep this constant fear at bay. More money, more success, more ‘friends’ and ‘likes’ on our Facebook page. Many of us will do almost anything to get these THINGS. Some of us dishonor our boundaries and compromise our true selves to feel accepted. Some even try to conquer their helplessness through intimidation; living a life of greed and unhinged aggression, and taking advantage of their fellow human beings in return for a false and empty sense of superiority. These facades prove yet another universal connection; WE ARE ALL HELD HOSTAGE BY OUR FEAR.
All these tactics and manipulations are defensive human staples utilized to feel, even for just a moment, a respite from our loneliness and fear. The truth is, fear is not real. Fear is created only by our perceptions. True connection is not something to be attained. It simply is… always whispering quietly in our consciousness while the world rages on, drowning out the truth, and roaring the lies our experiences have ingrained in us since childhood. The greatest lie being that the vulnerability which accompanies connection must be avoided because if anyone truly sees who we are – they will reject us. And there is nothing worse than that.
Pain and tragedy have become what defines most of our society. It is constantly screamed into our consciousness through every medium available. As it increases, it becomes almost impossible to let our guard down enough to empathize and truly SEE or understand the other humans who are all around us, and in the same stranglehold of fear and pain that cripples us.
Almost every sensation we encounter is now based in an instant gratification that stems from our need to distance ourselves from this primal pain the simplest way we know how; DISTRACTION. It is a web that both protects and suffocates which we willingly and gratefully envelope ourselves in. Our phones, computers, and televisions have become the way to live a false life of connection through the safety of disconnection. It’s empty and transitory but it’s easier than seeing the reality of what CHANGE honestly requires from us; facing ourselves, what has formed us, understanding and forgiving those who have had a hand in our formation, and ultimately forgiving ourselves. It is a momentous undertaking and understandably the most terrifying thing any of us can attempt.
It’s comforting to blame the external world for our fears. If it’s the outside world’s fault then we don’t have to take responsibility for how our lives turn out and we’re off the hook from the fact that we avoided recognizing the transformation desperately waiting to be embraced by us. It’s distressing to accept that we have always had the power at any moment to live our lives to the fullest but have chosen to deny it out of fear.
Because our past seemingly reflects our future, we don’t expect to see things transform and we are often blind to them when they do change. If hope and possibility are not within our Rolodex of life experiences, we don’t recognize the warmth when it finally shines on us. Most of our energy is put into imagining what life would be like if only we had more time and money. Then we’d feel safe. If only we were thinner or more popular. Then we’d feel accepted. If only we had more outside sources of love. Then we’d finally feel adequate inside our own skin.
THE TRUTH IS, if we have the courage to destroy the defensive walls we have built around ourselves, and become absolutely fascinated with our fellow human beings and enthralled with the world of miracles around us, we would finally and truly let ourselves feel the unconditional love that has always been available to us.
If we can forgive ourselves for getting lost in the human condition by letting fear control us, just as everyone else has, we can finally BE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. Start by realizing that everything is made from atoms. If everything originates from the same energy source then EVERYTHING is really only ONE entity. We are part of an all-encompassing energy presence that embodies all of us. Therefore, whether we recognize it or not, we have always been connected. You and I have never been strangers. We as humans were never separate. I am you. You are me. WE ARE ONE.
All of you are precious to me, and we are not alone in this present moment. We continue our journey towards the collective realization that we are all one and always have been. Peace be with you all!:)