In terms of the personal struggle nothing will ever resolve itself. Their content may change but the same neurotic patterns will keep cycling through and flaring up. I will experience the same frustrations over and over again, the familiar push-pull texture in my interactions, the fixation on (the latest) Her, the paranoid attachment to unadulterated freedom, etc. The more clarity comes to shine on these patterns—with each consciously appropriated iteration—the less intensity will be involved in them, perhaps. This prospect feels quite daunting and intimidating still because it basically means that the struggle will never cease, I (as a person, as ’me’) will never make it, except in this moment. I will never make it. Except for this very moment I am doomed: to living a regular human life, painfully involved and blissfully detached at once.
Being alone feels like home. It’s a [neural] pattern that got imprinted early on. Solitude is where I feel I belong. Let me explain in glib victim-speak: According to my mother as an infant I was left alone a lot to my own devices so to speak. Apparently, mother played ego games with me and refused to jump to my cry-calls for she believes in the importance of methodically breaking down the will of a whimsical infant. Supposing that this is indeed what happened I would infer that in the face of the overwhelming emotional pain of the darkness of solitude I resolved to cope with it by relying more on my dreaming mind. When occasionally she appeared to comfort me—timed on her own terms—I felt overexcited [and bewildered I guess]. Engaging mother thus involved anxiety: hence the over-excitement. It became a big deal for me. Alone I’ve found relative peace and equilibrium while engaging and relating with [m]other involved imbalance and ambivalence. This imprinted a pattern in my neural makeup that decades later has determined the trajectory of my social life. Today I seem to compulsively seek solitude and a respite from the company of others. I deal with lots of stress in the realms of friendship and intimacy for I’ve adapted to relate from a state of neurosis there: a state of [hormonal] imbalance and [emotional] ambivalence. Exposure to the attention of others usually triggers a massive neurotic flare up in my psychology. Attention—I surmise—turns me on and overexcites me to the extent that I grew up deprived and starved of it. The chronic observer shuns attention but chronically pines for it—flip flopping between intense bouts of avoidance and indulgence.
Admittedly, this is nothing more but a neat little story that I could comfortably believe and use as an excuse to live love-poor as a recluse rather than lovingly, against the grain of my pain, feeling home everywhere and any time with any one: within the timeless dimension of the present moment. If there happens to be any grain of truth to this unilateral account the narrative most certainly goes back [multiple generations] deep down our family tree and involves an infinite amount of incomprehensible variables. This is where victim-speak falls short. What’s more, these very insights are borne precisely from the pain of the neurotic patterns I inhabit. It is what it is. It’s a given. All the precious pearls drop from the eyes of our mortal wound. Our neurotic pattern is the fountain of true love.
As the ego is crumbling away a sense of solitude escalates. The illusion turns even more vivid and poor little me feels totally isolated, unappreciated, misunderstood, abandoned, misjudged, lonely and separate.
—If they only saw what I can see. If they only had the wherewithal to look within like I do. Etc.
Melancholy is a great way to bypass the truth (of the moment): Feels so good to wallow in self-pity and to feel the me being dissed, pissed, frustrated, misunderstood, abandoned, disturbed, annoyed, perturbed, inconvenienced and other ways victimized by fortuitous circumstances—jilted by girls, misjudged by other egos, bothered by noisy neighbours and enervating nocturnal emissions, etc.—it keeps everything deeply personal. It keeps the world revolve around me.
Without struggling and constant frustration nothing else remains but this moment, constantly, that turns on a dime, instantly—no guarantees, no hope, no prospects, nothing, really.
Whose freedom am I protecting so desperately?
Outside the cloistered world of private practices such as ’sittling’ (sitting in/with stillness), journaling and strolling in solitude I tends to feel about to be engulfed and hemmed in by the demands, errands and duties of social existence. Outside its airtight little bubble—in an effort to make a living I gets caught up, much like a fly in a spider’s web, in interpersonal strings attached, unavoidably. I constantly seeks to fend off binding communal duties and obligations to offer phony terms of endearment. But then, this I that struggles so desperately for its precarious sense of peace & freedom is but an idea that needs constant maintenance too, and even though it’s merely an idea (that is entertained to keep the ’me’ feel real & separate) it’s, in effect, quite a costly one, in that it takes tremendous internal tension and lots of gut-wrenching & constipating melancholy to maintain. Which stands to reason, of course, given that outside its (buffering) practices the I as such would cease to exist. Now, imagine how devastating would that be? The prospect of no more suffering. It’s just too much to take, I guess.
At any rate, I still tries to reason its way out of its irrational ways and so it occasionally reminds itself that: No matter the type of reality tunnel one happens to inhabit it too will have its ups and downs, its inherent opportunity cost. The idea of protecting one’s freedom is totally nonsensical in this respect. Inside the insides of one’s sprawling rabbit hole there will be joys and there will be sorrows and the desire to protect one’s privacy and delicate freedom just as much as in any other rabbit hole out there. It’s all the same from an ego’s point of view. We all play the same human game. All the tension over the mental noise echoing and reverberating off the walls of our private holes, however, is completely redundant and meaningless.
The very effort to protect anything is what creates the reason for that thing to exist in the first place—it only exists in the effort but not beyond it.
You come into the truth of your being by breaking, by losing, by failing, by falling, by crashing, by hurting, by continually dying. You must crack and you will crack at some point because the loosening up is inevitable. Once you crack the cracking up proceeds—with or without your acknowledgment of it—until all the remaining pieces of the constraining & insulating shell that shielded you at the take-off are jettisoned.
I as an ego have been (en)trained to fixate on pleasing others and feel ashamed and contract in emotional pain whenever (I (perceive that) I cause some form of (emotional) damage to an other. Yeah: I am absolutely loath to put a dent in youse delicate souls.
The emotional pain I typically feel stems either from a sense of guilt or shame [which compels me to recoil] or a sense of over-excitement [which compels me to grasp] and it functions like a black hole that siphons off my energetic flow (shunting blood sugar and cuing the stress hormones) leading to a crash, an energetic collapse (glycogen plummet), a shutdown of bowel movement and severe exhaustion or even a hangover headache in its aftermath.
Once I recognize that ’I’ ain’t the black hole (& totally bound by the gravitational pull of a self-obsessed ego) but that I am the limitless cosmos that contains it: the energetic see-saw dampens to a gentler, more sustainable swing.
In essence, this recognition comes when I finally come upon [=relax into] the distinction between white noise (aka stillness, true freedom) and noise (the emotional pain triggered by shame, guilt, frustration and the compulsion to struggle).