Oct 042017

Maybe it has been there for many months. Possibly years even. The dark night of the soul, in whatever form it may be, whether chronic illness, loss, pain, suffering, continuous failures on too many fronts, depression that knows no end – whatever it may be.

Maybe we have accepted it. After all, we have the power to try and alleviate our situation and condition. We do whatever we can, whatever we can think of, whatever we can afford. But for how long? How long does it take before we feel defeated… when we give up… when we break down?

And even when we do give up – it’s not as if anything has changed. The suffering continues, each moment feels like eternity, and the hope… where is the hope? We cannot even remember when exactly we lost it. It was that long ago! Somewhere along the path of struggling and trying and failing and coming up with new tactics; somewhere in that battlefield hope was lost and gone.

And yet hope, couldn’t care less that we’ve forgotten all about it, that we lost it. It’s not offended. Suddenly, out of nowhere, it’s here. Like the very first rays of dawn after a night that has gotten darker by the minute. We did not expect it. We were not prepared for this. We may even be afraid. Afraid that this hope is just a teaser – being lifted upwards for the sole purpose of being slammed down with even greater force.
But here too, hope doesn’t care. Like a child smiling at us when all around us there’s devastation from an earthquake or a hurricane. That smile is untouched by the outside ruins. That smile exists on a realm of its own. We may dismiss it for as much as we want, but we cannot ignore the very fact that it touches us in a way undeniable. It’s there – or rather – right here. And when it is, we see all the ruin very very differently. Just like putting on a pair of tinted glasses. Nothing looks the same as before. The suffering was so real a moment ago, hope was nowhere to be found or remembered a moment ago. But that moment ago now feels just like eternity ago. This is more than magic – it’s almost diabolic.

We have an inherent need to understand. We have a need to have an idea in our mind about how things work, how the world works, how life works. Perhaps we do this so that we know what to expect, perhaps as a way to protect ourselves from unpleasant surprises. Or perhaps we have this need so to allow us to feel belong and connected, rather than alien to this world and this life. This need that we have, may be something that we are consciously aware of, but may also be something that’s controlling us, pulling our strings and pushing our buttons without our awareness, knowledge or consent. Regardless, we constantly try to understand how things really work and how we ought to interact with this reality.

Too often, when reality unfolds in accordance with this understanding of ours, we become more convinced that “we got it”. We may actually believe that we know what to expect. That we cannot be too surprised by anything. This is not entirely unlike arrogance – but it’s a protection mechanism. How else could we possibly take a step if we think that the floor is not solid? This may be a necessary protection mechanism for us to use. If we have been suffering for a very long time, having hope could just hurt us even more.

And yet suddenly… it is now here: Hope!


Jun 072017

The ultimate frontier. Our darkest hour before the discovery: the realization of our own delusion in a blunt, right in the face smack. The time when the nightmare comes to a point of utter hopelessness, being pushed into the chasm by powers that we’re not a match for. That’s when it comes: surrender.

It doesn’t come as a choice that we make. Not a conscious logical decision to surrender. That’s not its way. Rather, its a natural continuity from hopelessness. In gradually arriving at hopelessness, we use our logic more and more, as well as our power of will. We then arrive at hopelessness after all has failed. We no longer know what to do. We see no more options available to us. No way out. That’s when hopelessness comes.

Hopelessness is realizing that we are about to become consumed by the chasm.
Surrender is accepting being consumed while being consumed.

The experience of time passage, while we’re being consumed by the chasm, is very different than our ordinary experience of time. It is not unlike the recognition that time has stopped. Life continues all around us in a physical sense, but our experience via our own existence, is one of indefinite pause. We experience existence in two dimensions simultaneously.

In addition, the meaning that we have attached to various aspects of our life, is no longer there. The concept of Meaning has not existence in the realm of surrender.

There’s no advice, no tips or ideas, no way out, no way to stop it or make it end already. We are gone. That’s surrender.

It’s infinite and eternal; an endlessness.

But then, once passed Eternity, something happens. What comes next has nothing to do with anything that has come before. There’s no sign of a chasm, surrender, hopelessness, fear. No sign of the story or the circumstances that were there before so powerfully. It’s like a new ‘I’ has been just born into the same physical body. This new ‘I’, although in an adult physical body, is a baby. It doesn’t know what life is all about. All that other people see, is the adult body, not the baby inside, and so no one makes any attempt to explain things to us. We observe and we learn. Our thought process too, is non existent. We develop a thought process that for the first time ever is truly our own, and nobody else’s. This time through, nobody is trying to break us into a mold, to make us a functional cog in society.

This is not like being given a second chance – it is experiencing two lifetimes in a single physical body. It cannot be created or attempted. Some of us will be pulled into surrender through our own way of living. Some of us will find hopelessness but not surrender. It’s not in our hands. The prophet Jonah wasn’t looking to find surrender, nor hopelessness. He was merely trying to sustain the status-quo and be a happy, normal human being, just like everybody else. The harder he tried, the closer to the chasm he found himself. Being swallowed by the whale was the point of hopelessness – the complete loss of any spark of hope. Being digested inside of the whale, has lead to the recognition that “this is the end!”. Initially, there may have still been some thinking, perhaps regret: “I wish I didn’t run away”. But later that too was gone. There was only surrender accepting “the end”, realizing that there is nothing that’s about to follow. There is no “next chapter”.

Being spit out of the whale was not a possibility, but it did happen. And of course Jonah had nothing to do with that either. It just happened.

The story of Jonah stands for a similar aspect in each and every one of us, as is the capacity to find ourselves at the end of all ends: