Moments late at night, trying to assimilate some disturbing information, there with the book, with that textual dream ready to spin up inside my head again, a part of myself wounded, volatile, overcharged to explode into distracting drama, when this other part of myself doesn't actually move into the light as acquire firelit radiance, says, "Just let it go. There is work to do. Not much time." I sit there with that, staring into the fire of it all, burning in my mind, settling into peace, remembering each and every hell that I have suffered through, the demons dancing in the fire, desire throbbing in the blood pulse of the embers, contained transformation, soon ash.
In every life, there is always a season of moments that mark down deeper changes. A mother's voice: you are no longer a child. A father now: you have to stand up for yourself. Sadly, for most there are the sanitized rites of passage celebrated by society. A going through the motions. There's no weight to those rituals, no sacrifice. All is routine and compromise. A pre-printed card devised by some hollowed-out job-hating doofus at the Hallmark factory sums up your world perfectly. Where is the section for Sorrow Over the World's Darkening? Or, the politely chuckling off-color joke elbow to the side fist bump teeth brushed corrected smiles on the fake painted faces clucking around in a saccharine charade of solemnity where a parent's pride is continually leavened by a sidelong glance at the Jones' thus confirming the nightmare of the Sartrian No Exit: Hell is other people. In the most banal and bathetic way. There is nothing to remember about such pain for it is the only an incessant electric buzz of utter boredom. Mediocrity. You get used to it like a cheap paperback gets used: read and reread until its spine it broken and everything falls away except for the garish faded cover. A great read. Story of your life. What this is: the desperate and quiet lives of most men, most women. Men? Women? We live in a culture of artificial adolescence, spoiled rotten (in the most rigorous sense) brats left home to be always alone.
I never wanted that. I still don't. (Who does? Then, look around.) But you know how it is: you go to the party and no one is happy sitting with you in the kitchen as you raise your voice for a Living Philosophy that will Bleed! Them: discreetly eying the steak knives. You: shot down by a fucking metaphor, then wondering, but was I really? Like this: the vulpine pediatrician with the wet hand on my leg, telling me to use "all of my willpower" to not move my leg. Then the hammer with the rubber triangle strikes beneath the kneecap. The involuntary fucking jerk. A slow burn of shame as the doctor congratulates himself over the one thing he remembered from his third-rate education, looks over the top of his glasses, humming, "You can't control a reflex, son!" a lingering horsebite squeeze of the thigh. I wonder what started there as I imagined showing up next time with a secret metal harness to keep my leg in place. However, the social reflexes can be controlled. Still... difficult in every sense of the term. There are all manner of hidden social hammers. Even sitting there watching the game, declining to play, has been written into the rules.
Ritual involves pain. On all levels. Sacrifice is predicated by pain. The lesson taught about putting your hand into the fire is to not ever do it. But anyone who has ever tended a fire knows there are ways of putting your hand in without getting burned. The point is not to avoid pain, not to take some drug ("medicine") to get relief from it (licitly or illicitly), but to understand where it is coming from, then learn about it, to explore it and, finally, control it. Addiction (to whatever) takes root wherever there is a lack of control. Addiction... one of the most overused whored out words we have now. Means nothing, hasn't since 1906. It is not what it is about.
It is about having an eternal soul trapped in the body of a dying animal (Yeats). And the life of that animal is hell. Awareness is first and foremost all about suffering (Buddha). And it is only through authentic physical-emotional-mental (read: spiritual) pain that we have any chance to sacrifice our superficial, social lives in order to discover true redemption, at-one-ment (Christ).
So this pain now that I feel... what? The suffocating horror of an animal breaking out of its egg, skin, shell, chrysalis? No. All pretty poetry should be suspect. Who I am was born a couple of decades back. Thing now is I have become aware of a sort of freakish limb hanging off of me, a tiny leg attached to my chest just above the heart, kicking back and forth according to some hidden bovine joy. How long has that been there? I wonder. A long time it seems. And there I remember every pathetic scarecrow sack of skin, every sniveling twitching emotional mess, that wormed up close to me and tapped upon the reflex of that freakish little leg, delighting in the cute little dance, dressing it up in a cute little pant leg and a cute tiny shoe, making it dance and jerk around whenever it was convenient. So what is this pain now that I feel... it's the pain of having sawed off that fucking freakish appendage that was attached to my heart.
Sure it hurts. Hurts like hell, thank God. I can imagine it's going to hurt even more in coming months.
Just let it go. There is work to do. Not much time.