Some we meet along the way are magicians, with potions and maps for us to use to get to our ultimate, out-side of ourselves mountain tops, whatever that mountain may be. Money? Power? Status? Prestige? Life soon teaches, that these things we think mean something, actually don't mean to us a thing. The REAL and most lasting mountain to conquer, is in finding the truest self we are created by God Himself, to be. For, in earthly reality we all can become the great and powerful Oz. Develop the Genius of Einstein. As we learn to follow the guide within, the More Great and More Powerful, I Am.
Some who reveal themselves, are Guardian Angels. Like Greg Matters is to me. Guardian Angels, are the ones we find by accident, now lighting our pathways from heaven, to help us find our own way.
Through growing this as our ultimate, personal understanding, we then learn that we are special and unique. This is, for me, the ultimate quest. And the biggest part of this adventure called life, is to find, that one and only true love on this earth, who no matter what, will be with us all the way through our own, unique inner spiritual quest to find ourselves. Our true selves.
In order to learn to cherish that person, for the rest of our earthly life. We must, MUST, slay all our inner dragons: defeat them: kill them, so they can never again, take that cherished person of gold away from us, carrying her off to their secret den.
In order to beat the devil inside, we do need to choose to die. Not a physical death, like Suicide can bring. A symbolic, inner-death of the false selves we've allowed ourselves to become. We only need to learn not to fear. Not to fear The Angel of Death, that can strike us down and carry us away itself. This hideous angel, that reveals itself to us in the form of traumatic experience, this for me was the devil inside.
Death is, our ultimate dragon to slay in terms of outer fear. Inside of ourselves, what we all need is a dream. A secret dream that we only share with God, or our Highest Self, whatever label we want to give to This Power, that lives in each and every one of us who, trust me, is big enough to understand any labels we may choose to use.
Trauma? Psychological Trauma? Some call it, Sin? Whatever label we choose to give to that, trust me too when I say: when we choose to fight the trauma to its death, WE WILL, ULTIMATELY WIN.
Not on our own. No way. We haven't the strength as humans to do that. Many, give up and I've suffered every time the devil of suicide flashes it's drama across the news. In it's now powerless attempts through depressive lies, suicide death tries desperately to tell me, that suicide is why I'm on earth. I'm so blessed today, to finally accept that death by my own hand is not what trauma meant to teach me, as the ultimate achievement of success I am being groomed for, to leave as my own mark on the planet. Just like so many of my fallen brethren chose for themselves, across Canada these past eleven horrific weeks of earthly hell. Depressive lies taught them to do what they've chosen for themselves.
Never, never give up your life, if you can help it. Therapists? Clinicians? Who are they on this earth?
The best ones, are our Shamans. Our Teachers. Our Guides. And, in order to survive something as horrific as PTSD and Addictions. In reality, all we need to do, is find that one, two, three or four special Shamans in our lives, whose magic will, trust me on this: she will make all the pain inside, forever fade away.
Suicide, some say is painless? No. That isn't true, It never is. Choosing Life over Death. That's where the real pain comes from.
Growth is really all were after when we've been traumatized. Beating PTSD all the way, takes Courage, Dedication, Intelligence, Commitment and Heart: all the elements of true human and spiritual strength. Just know, whether you want to believe it or not, God/The Creator/The Universe, whatever label you personally need to place on this Huge Magic Inside Ourselves, will be with you, all the way.
Hope. Dream. Create a dream only you and God know about. Keep that one, sacred, all to yourself. Share the dream, with no-one else on this earth. You'll get there. You can beat PTSD, all the way. I have faith, in all of you. And, trust me? So does He.
"In Loving Memory of a Guardian Angel, Greg Matters. May you Now, in my own Soul, Forever Rest, In Peace."
~ Darren Michael Gregory: August, 5th, 2014.
In the past post, I discussed suffering from the Buddha's point of view and following the Easter season, I was going to reflect further on the topic of suffering through the experience of the Christ. Because this opportunity is so close at hand, The Forgiveness Challenge, I thought it better to discuss forgiveness and offer this gift that is coming our way next month.
When I think of forgiveness, I find myself dealing with what others describe as one of the most difficult concepts for human beings to grasp. Responding to evil with a compassionate heart, seems so contrary to what I've learned is human nature. Much of the trauma we've all suffered, seems to us unforgivable.
I'll own that at least.
I can accept, when my mind and heart are together set-right, any human story of meeting hatred with love. I admire those who have walked peacefully to confront injustice. I'm blown away at how some can forgive others pretty much on the spot. I'm not there myself yet, but do hope to get there over time.
The lives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Ghandi come to mind. They both spoke freely of the value of forgiveness as a peaceful act of meeting abuse head-on. They each took peace-loving action, practicing all the way non-violence. While persuading others to do the same, they both understood their challenges towards the systems in their societies that were standing in humanity's way, may well cost them their lives.
They, 'did it anyway', as Mother Theresa is known to once say.
Spiritual figures, such as Christ and the Buddha, spoke clearly of forgiveness as the most important action we can take towards freeing our spirit. Christ specifically instructed us to forgive and love, even our enemies. Among his last words were, "Forgive them, father, for they do not know what it is they are doing."
As The Christ was being horrifically and publicly murdered, his prayer for those carrying out his execution touches me still very deeply. (I once portrayed the Christ when I did some time adventuring in Community Theatre).
I love to hear stories about troubles that end with lessons of forgiveness and reconciliation. However when I ask forgiveness of myself, towards myself, depending on where I might be in terms of where I'm at in the moment with my recovery: Where forgiving others is difficult, forgiving myself for being human isn't coming any more easily.
My reactions still to the hurts imposed upon me by others this past bunch of years, stillll end up being expressed as anger, anxiety, depression, self-righteousness, hatred, or even outright revenge.
My own default-mode thinking often leaves me still feeling only betrayed of late by far too many.
Studies in well-being and psychological health teach time and again that one of the keys to recovery is for us to learn to develop habits of gratitude for life itself.
To twist the thinking of Rousseau with my own slant, "I breathe, therefore, I am. In gratitude, therefore, to breathe is life enough."
In recovery we are tasked to find compassion for ourselves too. It's by nurturing self-compassion, we'll grow to find the ability to forgive all that trauma has infused into our being, and to let go of past hurts any others may have intentionally or unintentionally put upon us when we need from others the precise opposite.
In recovery, when we choose seeking a return to the sense of wellness and wholeness that we have so tragically lost (this is shared by many) we want to rise from the ashes of all the tragedy and build new lives. We desperately want to find joy again. We want life and we want most of all to feel like we are living again.
Joseph Campbell, who studied human nature in his life-long commitment to understanding the myths of mankind, in an episode with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, spoke to the ideal we seek as we wade through the process of recovery from personal trauma. That also resonates to me well to describe the quest for a meaning in life that is the biggest part of our general, human condition and spiritual journey:
"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about". (The Power of Myth, Episode 2, Chapter 4).
Without finding some way to forgive others, and most importantly ourselves, full recovery through our experience of trauma, I'm told by those helping me, might always seem to be that single-step out of reach.
"Hmm," in response, said I. "Forgive the unforgivable?"
This seems so impossible to imagine still to me. What this forgiveness challenge coming up hopes to remind me, and any others who might choose to participate in the challenge along with me: Is a call to remember the human model of forgiveness for us to consider, South African prisoner turned South African President, one of my own heroes in the life, Nelson Mandela.
Mandela, the father of freedom in South Africa, after spending years in prison, dedicated his life to the overthrow of suffering that his people endured under the tyranny of an apartheid regime. Mandela, upon his release from twenty-seven years behind bars, came to a personal understanding of the power that resentment can hold over our weary heads.
“Resentment is like drinking poison (he said) and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
In order to free both himself and his people, Nelson Mandela let go of all the hurt and personal suffering he endured. His time imprisoned, acted as his personal catalyst for profound change in his broken and battered, traumatized heart.
Forgiveness, for Mandela, acted out for the rest of us to witness in his approach to redefining his personal life as the leader of a free South Africa, was key to his personal recovery. His grace and acts of kindness towards his personal enemies, freed his once troubled soul from the bondage of imprisonment.
In nurturing his own compassion, freedom came for Mandela, completely, both within himself, and without.
Forgiveness truly is the kindest thing we could ever consider doing for ourselves in recovery. Our perceived enemies, those responsible for our trauma experience, those who caused us even further harms, may not deserve to be forgiven for all the pain, sadness and suffering purposefully (or unintentionally) inflicted in our lives. Some, aren't even aware that we have together suffered a traumatic experience, as is the case of trauma witnessed in emergency services work, for instance.
Whatever evil has befallen us, from wherever our individual trauma may have come, we deserve to be free of this pain. Learning to forgive, can lift us further out of our personal suffering and can open our hearts to living a full life again.
I'm admitting I'm not yet personally there. But, I'm now keenly aware that to forgiveness, ultimately, is precisely where I will, one-day, choose to go.
In eleven days, May 4th, 2014, Archbishop Desmond Tutu with his daughter, Mpho, invite us to join them in a Forgiveness Challenge. Together, on this day, we can accept thirty full days of inspiration, stories and personal support from others on the path to forgiving.
This gift could open our souls to learning the power of letting-go.
The Tutu's offer this gift in conjunction with their book, The Book of Forgiving. This month-long event is open globally to all wishing to proceed along a path towards forgiveness and finding deeper healing in their personal lives.
It's understood, that not all of us are ready to proceed towards forgiveness in our journey. However, the offer stands as a free gift to open our hearts, just that little bit further.
Please, consider accepting this precious gift for your soul. We do not engage in acts of forgiveness for anyone else: We forgive to release our own suffering, to abandon our own pain.
As many say, and intellectually I do know this is true, considering the messengers who've all succeeded in forgiving, as Nelson Mandela got to. Those who've learned to forgive, have been through often quite horrific abuses and oppression put upon them by power:
"We forgive-for our spirit to be free of the poison that is anger towards that which is past, and therefore can not, once done, be changed."
I'll leave with these words by Desmond and Mpho Tutu:
"For with each act of forgiveness, whether small or great, we move towards wholeness." ~ Desmond and Mpho Tutu: The Book of Forgiving.
Isn't that what full-recovery is meant to be about?
Be Well . . . . . . . . . . .
Certified: Community & Workplace Trauma Educator Traumatology Institute.
Associate Member American Academy Of Experts In Traumatic Stress.