on embracing my Buddha-nature

A survivor's search for inner peace and healing


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the invincible summer….

Albert Camus wrote:

“In the depths of winter, I discovered there was in me an invincible summer.”

I’ve read a lot of Camus. Growing up, he was one of my favorite authors. The Plague, The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Fall. I could go on. I think that in the process of reading, I underlined in my copies of his books every phrase, sentence or word that seemed to have profound meaning.

And I know that at some point, I came across this quote of his.

But in reading it today, there is a different meaning for me.

I think that some things only come with age, and with living. There are things that you cannot possibly know when you are 14, but as you live and experience life, you come to a knowledge about those things.

But then again, when we are young, we tend to think we know it all.

At least, I did.

Today, that quote holds much meaning for me. With all I have experienced, lived through, and survived. With all I have come to know about the world and the people in it (which is a minute amount when compared with what the Divine knows).

Today it just feels different to me.

The depths of my winter…the depths of my depression, the depths of my wandering lost, feeling lost, losing all sense of purpose for my life, belief in my self, and hope for any kind of future.

Those are some mighty unfathomable depths. And yet, for all those times I have been swallowed by those depths, still, there has been something else.

To be able to reach up from those depths of my winter, and realize that there is an invincible summer, is a mighty huge feat for me. To be able to realize that there is something else, something more, something huger and something much more positive, a total opposite of those depths of my winter, is a Herculean act.

I don’t know how I was able to find that something else. Was it therapy, my stay in the hospital, Buddhism?

Maybe it was all three of those?

Whatever it was, I have now, today, finally reached that point in my life where I have begun to realize that invincible summer. I can feel it. I can see it. And I realize that it has always been there, somewhere deep inside of me.

It has to have been. Otherwise I don’t believe I would be here today.

Because I believe that that invincible summer being somewhere deep inside of me has played a part in my being a survivor.

I think that invincible summer, for me, is made of strength, and courage, and the will to go on. The will to never give up. And, of course, hope. Hope when I believed there was none. Hope when the last thing I felt inside of my self was hope.

I don’t know how much of each of those three things has played in my realizing that that invincible summer is there inside of me. I do know that since I have started studying and practicing Buddhism, there is a lot that I have realized. My eyes have been opened in ways that they never have before.

I am just glad that I have finally realized that that invincible summer is there, and that it is possible. Because most of my life has been lived in a depth of winter that has kept me frozen in a state of suffering and stagnation for way too long.

I don’t want to live in my winter any more.

Namaste


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at times…

At times, I find my self unable to write. Unable to speak.

That in itself might not be all that bad.

Except when it affects my ability to speak and write my truth, my story. And when it affects my ability to reflect upon and speak and write about my journey.

Lately, I have been so affected. I have had the desire to write here, but have not been able to.

I am struggling some.

But I refuse to give up and end my journey or stop my self on the path I am on in regards to my healing.

I have struggled like this many many times over the course of this life I am currently living. But today, right now, right here, something is different.

Since I started studying Buddhism, I have not given up. Struggling is not giving up. It is only a hitch in my journey. In the past, I would have let my struggles stop me. I would have given up.

Today, right now, I refuse to give up. Today, I know that I may struggle, but that I also have the ability to work my self through that struggle so that I can continue on my journey.

Today just happens to be one of those times.

Maybe my next today won’t be so filled with struggle.

Namaste


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“The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but the ignominy, the humiliation we feel that we must be what we are without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone.”
— Milan Kundera

I find that shame affects everything in my life right now…

My healing,

My journey on my path,

My studying of Buddhism.

I have more to say about shame,

but first I need to take the time to think on it…

Namaste


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mourning…

It has been a hard week for me, for sure. I hate that I haven’t been blogging here much, but it seems that therapy has taken me in a different direction right now.

I have started prolonged exposure therapy.  Basically, talking about the trauma, having it recorded, and listening to playback of my recording every day.  For weeks.

The whole object of this type of therapy is, in a way, to desensitize me to the trauma.  To keep me from avoiding it, from avoiding those things in my life that remind me of the trauma or the man who raped me, thereby in effect causing the trauma to have less of a hold on me.

Less nightmares, less anxiety and depression, less me getting triggered.

And me working my way closer to being able to heal, to feeling whole, and to me being able to experience something close to inner peace.

In the course of listening to my recording this week, I noticed something. 

I cried in that session like I haven’t in a long time.  Maybe like in forever. 

Because I don’t think that I ever really cried over either rape.

And in the course of this past week, I feel like I am in mourning.

And I don’t think I ever mourned for the me that died either of those nights, but more specifically, that second night, the night behind the building.

And I really think that part of the healing process has to be a mourning. 

And maybe in the process of mourning, I can start to feel some compassion for my self.  And start to give my self a break.

And then maybe eventually I can give everyone else a break, too.

Namaste


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a lesson in impermanence…

I’ve been away. Came down with influenza B. This past week has not been fun.

The workshop I attended was great. I enjoyed my self very much. And like I said in my previous post, I felt a connection to the others who attended with me.

At one point, we did an art project. It was kind of like calligraphy art. At first, we used only sharpie markers. That was fun. As an artist, I enjoyed it. Then we took it a step further.

The instructor had pre-cut letters and phrases that made little sense, and didn’t really make any sense when placed together. On one plane, that is, they didn’t make sense. However, if you used some imagination, you could connect phrases together and they would make some sense.

I have a feeling that our instructor chose them because the workshop focused on creative writing and using words in unconventional ways.  It was interesting, to say the least, and definitely opened my mind up.

We took those pre-cut letters and phrases and completed simple calligraphy art using them.  She then took it another step further, and we used a combination of sharpie marker and the pre-cut letters and phrases.

When it was all done, we left everything on the table and walked away.

That was a little bit of a struggle for me.  As I said, I am an artist.  And for all the years I have been creating, I have saved probably most every single sketch I have done that has either led or not led to the completion of an artwork.

As our instructor was telling us to leave everything on the table and head back to the meditation room, I thought to my self, could this be what impermanence is about, in one way?  Knowing that the simple designs I had created were to be taken apart?  Destroyed is more how it felt to me. 

They were not to last.  They were to end.

They were to exist no more.

And as I was thinking that, our instructor spoke.  I think she had seen the look on my face as well as the looks on the others faces.  After all, the others attending were all creative people using one manner of creative outlet or another.

She said, maybe this is a good lesson in impermanence.

It is true.  Long after I am gone, any work of creativity of mine will eventually cease to be.  Paper will eventually disintegrate.  Time will erode away my paintings, through air and other conditions.  After all, that is why the great works of art are looked after with such care, with temperature controlled climate storage and artists who specialize in restorations. 

After I die, my body will cease to be.  Eventually, the human body is reduced back to the dust of the earth.

Maybe all of this is what the practice of creating sand mandalas is about.  Creating them, then releasing them back into nature.  I have never seen that destruction in person, but to me it must be a very beautiful  process to observe.

I think our instructor was right.  I think walking away from my simple creation was a good lesson in impermanence.  It has given me a lot to think about in my daily life, and in my meditations.

Namaste

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