When life gets hard, I feel uncomfortable. I may probably feel angry, too. Angry, upset, sad, I feel a pain in my chest where my heart should be. Do I have chest pains and need to see a doctor, or is my heart simply hurt, and I need to find a new way to attend to it?
I imagine a conversation between me and life:
Life: “Hi Vivek! I’m going to make you feel very uncomfortable and hurt. You will experience a variety of negative emotions and energy. I may elicit this by giving you information that you don’t want to hear, causing an event that will affect a major part of your life, or have someone in your life behave in a way that hurts and upsets you.”
Vivek: “Hello. Why? Why do you do this to me, Life? Why must I feel these pains, these sensations…why must I think these thoughts, experience this displeasure? Why, Life…do you make me suffer? Why does the only way out of this seem like the worst possible choice to make?”
For a large part of my life, I would think that Life’s response was always:
Life: “Vivek, I’m doing what I am because fuck you.”
I realized, only recently, that Life was really saying:
Life: “Vivek, I’m doing what I am because I know this will benefit you. I know it is very uncomfortable, but I am placing you in a situation where if you do manage to find peace and survive, you will gain a new skill which will make all of your life that much better, all of your relationships that much more meaningful, and your happiness and love that much more enjoyable. What I am giving you, is not pain, or displeasure, or suffering. I know that you feel these things, but I hope you can understand that this isn’t what I have for you.”
Life: “Vivek, what I have for you can be thought of as a puzzle: A puzzle to a greater life. I feel like you have maximized the life you currently live, that you’ve squeezed out every last drop of joy and love. That’s why I’m putting you in the position you’re in. I want you to ascend to a different state of living, a different mindset, because there is a greater life for you to experience…only if you can find peace with the sensations you feel and find a solution to the dilemma you’re in.”
In the past, I would always feel extremely sorry for myself, sit around and feel bad, just have no hope for life. My life was reduced to feelings of hopelessness, and there weren’t that many reasons keeping me alive.
However, I’m here still, so that means I was able to solve those puzzles, right?
Life: “Hi Vivek. You don’t seem to be doing very well. Here, I’ll give you the understanding I was hoping you would find. I’ll give it to you at the cost of something important, though.”
Life would eventually show me the way out of the situation that I was in, but because of my lack of initiative and persistence, my happiness would come at the cost of something else. Something else, usually being a relationship which was meaningful to me.
The problems I have are almost always a challenge to myself and what I believe. It can be thought of as, “Hi Vivek, I know you enjoy life, but do you love it, and do you love yourself? Do you really accept the things in your life, or do you lie to yourself and hide from the things that hurt you?”
If there’s anything valuable in everything I’ve learned, it’s that — although it can be very, very difficult — facing that which hurts you and confronting it directly reaps the most benefits. When I hid, the problems would hide as well. They would hide, staying unresolved, and later in my life, if I enter a situation similar to the one which produced these hidden problems, the problems come out of hiding. Now what? Do I hide again, and say goodbye to my desires and dreams, only for a sense of security? How long will I keep compromising myself, for myself?
When I faced the issue directly, it would be a tough, exhaustive process. I would swirl through a plethora of negative emotions and energy, eventually tiring out my entire body and spirit with only my thoughts. The choice to go back and hide would dance in front of me, because that will always be the path of least resistance. That path, however, does not give me what I want. It doesn’t let me become the person who can give himself what I want.
So I persist. I persist, and keep accepting what I feel. I have no idea when the feelings will go away, when the puzzle will be solved. I don’t know what I’ll learn at the end of the process, how my life will change. I meditate. I ask around for help. I write. I reflect. I ask myself what matters. I go through my memories. I go through myself.
What’s tough is that I don’t know when I’ll solve the puzzle. While I’m solving the puzzle, the rest of my life, my relationships, and everything important to me flies by. My body is there, growing and expiring with the rest of my life, but my thoughts are elsewhere.
Once in a while, the puzzle becomes partly solved, and the rest remains unsolved.
These are the fucking worst.
Vivek: “Life, look, I found a way that deals with some part of the issue, but I’m having a hard time with the rest. What do I do? Is there anything I can do?”
I guess, once I live for a little more, I’ll find an answer for my life.