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Friday, 5 July 2013

The Many Heads Of The Hydra



It is so obvious that suffering is the problem.  Whatever form it takes, be it fear or anger, hate or anxiety, sorrow or loneliness.

If only we could just wipe it out, wipe it away, and live our lives free of such things.

So obvious, and like many obvious things, both impossible and untrue.

We can be crippled by anxiety, besieged inside the ever-decreasing walls of our comfort zones, our lives growing smaller and smaller, as we barter away all the possibilities of what we could be to somehow try to placate the fear.

We can be blinded by rage, making enemies of the whole world and in doing so, making ourselves an enemy to it, false conflict triggering real conflict, and real conflict feeding the false.  It can do this until the strength of youth (which gives a semblance of nobility to our struggles) fades and only conflict is left with no power or force, no hope, just ashes and defeat, and we die like so many of us die.  Bitter.

We can be torn apart by loneliness, it is a terrible thing.  To feel so wracked with the need for friendship like a lash at our back, or a cruel finger pointing in mockery at how unloved we are, and how unlovable we must be to be so very alone.

We can be sad as well.  Terrible and howling pits of despair which engulf us, and stretch out from horizon to horizon, and in that place, all the world is terrible and cold, and all our hope is a pitiful joke, and nobody is laughing, least of all us.

Life contains these things, it does.  We come to them all, at one point or other, and the worst part is that sometimes, well - they stick.

And so it seems very obvious that what we need to do is annihilate these things, make them go away.  All of them, the four I have mentioned here, and the many thousands of other shapes that sorrow takes.

A trick for this, a tool for that.  We have so many tricks and tools now, from pills to poetry and everything in between.

And yet...

And yet.....

What if the problem isn't pain?  What if it's not anger?  What if it's not sorrow?  What if it's not fear?

It would be a shallow and dull world if we could not feel some pain at least.  Terrible injustices would never end without at least some anger.  And would it not be a loss to the life we live if we were to lose a friend, and not feel some sorrow?

And as for fear?  What would the point of courage be then, if we were all fearless?

What an empty, vapid life it would be.

But then, why would we seek to become without pain, when pain is not the problem?  Crippling pain is the problem.  Loneliness isn't the problem.  Crippling loneliness is the problem.  Anxiety isn't the problem.  Crippling anxiety is the problem.  Sadness isn't the problem.  Crippling sadness is the problem.

And then all of a sudden we can see a line we haven't seen before, something that cuts through all the many heads of the hydra, all at once.

What is this crippling?  What is it that amplifies?  What is this process - not the thousand forms of extreme suffering, but the one process that makes all extreme suffering extreme.

And then, all of a sudden, we're asking new questions, we're in a new paradigm, with new possibilities.

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