I apologize in advance if today's post gets a little gloomy. It was inspired partly by someone I thought I knew, but didn't, and partly by the recent death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. What the two things have in common is something we all have in common—a dark side.
Beneath the addictions, obsessions, bullying, lying, anger, abuse, excesses and other unhealthy behaviors lies pain and fear. And no matter how beautiful, rich, famous, talented or loved you are, you're not immune. Nobody is immune.
We hurt ourselves and others because WE are in pain and can't always pinpoint the source. Maybe we had something tragic happen to us, but really that's just an excuse. What's really at the bottom of this, I believe, is something we forgot before we were even born.
Before we come here and after we leave, we are without ego. Ego in the way I use the word is a self awareness that separates ourselves from others. So it manifests in us feeling "more than" or "less than" others. It seeks approval. Yearns for status. Desires recognition and understanding. Speaks in terms of us and them. Wherever you find ego, you also find a forgetting of our true nature...the one we'll return to when we die.
Our true nature is oneness. Universal love. It is inclusion. There is no separateness or self awareness because there is no individuality. All is one. If god indeed said "I am that I am", what that means is that we are everything we see. We are. There is no separation between you and the most vile entity on earth. No separation between you and the most beloved on earth. There can be no separation, because everything is one. And everything is an expression of love.
But, see, we come here to be individuals. And as long as we're individuals there will always be a pained, lonely, frightened place within that seeks the universal love we love we left behind. We may not remember, but the soul never forgets. There are times when we are so filled with light (or delusion...haha) that we drift far enough away from this place that it seems to disappear, but that is just an illusion. It is always there. This pain, loneliness and fear comes from believing we're separate from source. And it's the price of being human.
There are times that the experiences of life and the attachment to ego build upon our souls like so many magnetized barnacles that we draw ever closer into the gravitational field of this painful empty place. If we don't reach this place by our own volition, we may be pulled into it by a loved one. We may even be wired to explore this place through depression or mental illness. Sometimes it is all we can see. And the closer we get, the more pain we feel and the more pain we cause. We try to keep it at bay with drugs or purchases, anger or violence, lying or bullying. But that just makes it worse.
And the further into the hole we travel, the more it hurts and the lonelier it feels. And then even the most brilliant and fortunate among us end up dead of an overdose with the hypodermic still in our arm. And we think, "what a waste of such a gifted life." But see, that's just our ego talking. There are no adjectives or superlatives in oneness, only in our separation. Interestingly, however, even in our separateness, we are still the same. Because we all have this place inside.
But this empty, lonely place can be filled. The only thing that can fill it is universal love. And the path to universal love is the recognition of oneness. When we see an angry person, we recognize them as ourself and we love them...not from a place of being better off, but from a place of recognition of self. There is no human atrocity we can deny being within us (albeit dormant, perhaps), just as there is no human grace. We are all of that. We are.
And while there are many paths that can lead us there, regular communion with god or source or light or whatever you want to call it, is key to spending as much time as possible in a place where the gravity of the empty place is the weakest. This is why we seek to raise ourselves and grow...so we can balance our humanness with what we've forgotten. Not so we can forget we're human, because that's why we're here. But to remember we're so much more.