More on Suffering
Part Three: On Suffering
Last month I described how, from a psychological perspective, suffering is the tie that binds us from changing what we believe we are – a ‘survivor’ covered by a mask called the ‘false self’ to being who we really are – an integrated individual who has the ability to experience ‘authentic love’.
I ended on the note that in a therapy session a client gets to the point where they can understand this description of the ‘survivor’ and the ‘false self’ and how it relates to their issue. Nevertheless they struggle to believe that there is a way through this problem that can rescue the ‘survivor’ and reunite all the parts of their sense of self together. To sum up what the client may be experiencing here is a poem:
We stand in a wasteland of our own making
we do not know who we can turn to
doubt is dangerous
and we have no experience that trust will work.
The voices in one’s head
are like the sirens of old
who lured sailors onto the rocks –
they are imposters who say,
“In the name of love
let me help you!”
I also mentioned that the ‘Self-Care System’s’ job is to protect us from pain and suffering but that its ultimate goal is to reunite all our ‘scattered parts’ together so as to enable us to take our rightful place in the ‘abode of authentic love’. How does this reunion happen? When there is a war a general will send in the troops but when there is a war on one’s psyche – well, the ‘Self-Care System’ also has a few tricks up his/her sleeve.
The first trick is to get the ‘survivor’ to realise that unmasking the ‘false self’ is possible. This possibility usually happens when the ‘survivor’ has realised that this ‘false self’ has made their lives unmanageable and that they need help.
The realisation that the ‘survivor’ has hit ‘rock bottom’ doesn’t come easy. By the ‘survivor’s’ very nature the concept of asking for help because he/she can’t carry on is an anathema. Admitting one’s predicament and asking for help is like declaring that all you have fought for hasn’t worked and therefore the shame of failure hangs heavy over the ‘survivor’s’ heart. Nevertheless the ‘Self-Care System’ cannot implement the next step of the rescue plan unless the ‘survivor’ admits and asks. New beginnings can only be undertaken when there is an intention and a commitment to shift. Somehow the ‘survivor’ has to give up the notion that they ‘must’, ‘ought’, ‘have to’ or ‘can’ rescue themselves. The ‘survivor’ has to get to the point of true humility that this ‘rescue operation’ requires more than just than one aspect of our psyche’s archetypes (aspects of the Self) to help them return ‘home’. The ‘survivor’ has to give permission for the ‘Self-Care System’ to send in its ‘helpers’. The ‘survivor’ has to genuinely admit ‘I can’t anymore; I need help, please help me’.
Now you would think that by this stage the fact that the ‘survivor’ is either sitting in a therapy room or a rehabilitation centre means they have admitted and asked for help, or given permission for the rescue operation to commence, but this is not the case. Attending therapy sessions is only the beginning. Yes, it does take time for the ‘survivor’ to get to the point where they can unpack what is the ‘false self’ and how, in detail, it has made their lives unmanageable, but that doesn’t immediately release their attachment to the ‘false self’, the ‘critical voice’ or the ‘survivor’s’ belief that it must be his/her responsibility get out of this bind.
So what helps us release our attachment? The answer is ‘Authentic Love’ which also goes by the name of the ‘Higher Self’ or ‘Higher Consciousness’ and in some circles ‘Higher Power’. This ‘Authentic Love’ has an emissary that resides in the ‘heart’ of every ‘survivor’. This emissary is called ‘Intuition’. It symbolises superior wisdom, truth, beauty, compassion and will. The reason why the ‘survivor’ hasn’t heard its loving voice up until now is that the ‘critical voice’ residing in the ‘survivor’s’ head has been making such a racket. Also the ‘intuitive voice’ can only speak when we are ready to listen. In a sense we cannot ‘serve two masters’ at the same time. It is when we metaphorically get to the point like a boxer who has valiantly fought to the last round and has been floored to a sitting position, gloved hands dangling on their knees, head bowed to chest that the call for help can be given. Up until this point the ‘survivor’ will continue to fight. The ‘survivor’ needs to be floored to ground zero before it can be guided to transform itself into a ‘hero’ who will journey back to the abode of ‘Authentic Love’. It is the calling for help, the ability to say ‘I can’t, but together we can’ that transforms the ‘survivor’ into a ‘hero’. The law of response states that all personal action is really but a response to the super-conscious influence of the ‘Higher Self’. The ‘hero’s’ task is to respond to the inner direction of his/her higher consciousness and to act in the service of a higher cause. The hero does this by heeding to the loving voice of ‘Intuition’.
So how does this partnership work? That is the next part of this story…
The White Rabbit