If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a story is worth millions, right? In the last two posts we looked at a couple of movies (stories) that were allegories of our life in this reality. How about we pick up where we left off?
We are taught from an early age that this life is about learning right from wrong or doing good and avoiding bad. We have institutionalized the forbidden fruit to such an extent we have lost sight of our purpose. Yes, there is value in structure, but only when it leads us to truth. The truth of who we are is found within.
When we are trying to pattern ourselves by structure, by creating an identity based on the opinions of others, we might be avoiding the opportunity to discover ourselves. Often what rules and dogmas and doctrines create are false images of ourselves. We are confronted with guilt and shame and condemnation. We see ourselves as unworthy. In many cases, we are told explicitly that we are depraved.
The truth is we are an extension of the divine in this reality. We are one with the divine and one with each other. We are worthy. We are loved as God loves Himself. In our innermost self, we know this to be true but we substitute an illusion of a created identity. We think we are separate. We believe we are alone. We pattern our lives to avoid pain. We pursue religion or approval or acceptance to “feel good” about ourselves. But that quest is in vain. It is not our purpose. Our purpose is to discover ourselves as the divine, experiencing this wonderful temporal existence as one waking from a dream into the divine reality of our true self.
The words and concepts are strange to many on the surface, but if we look deep we know this truth. When we have divine moments, divine experiences, we get a glimpse of this truth. We have all had them. It is God telling us who we are. We are Him as US living this reality to remember where we come from and where we are going.
Still it is no surprise we create our illusionary self. It often begins with pain.
When we don’t see pain for what it is and we desperately want to avoid it, we will do anything to be free of pain. Pain sets us up for creating and entire perceived reality that is an illusion. When the pain goes beyond physical pain and is deep emotional pain, it can alter our perceptions severely.
The movie “Wrecked” is a great example of how this works. (Check out that post and maybe see the movie if you haven’t.)
This character wakes up in pain, sever bodily pain. Being trapped and not knowing who he is, the pain penetrates deeper into his emotional depths. He creates an entire reality that is an illusion. He sees someone he loves as an enemy. He sees himself as an unworthy criminal. He sees his future as hopeless.
To recap, in this movie the main character is trapped in a car that has plummeted off the edge of a steep ravine and has come to rest near the bottom. When he finally frees himself of the car, the most logical direction to safety is up the steep slope, but his pain is too sever to climb the slope. Instead he heads down, takes the easier path.
That’s what we do when confronted with pain. We will find the easiest way out not confronting the source of pain where we could deal with it honestly and openly. We avoid the hard way for the easy way. When we do that, we often create something worse. When we don’t deal with our pain directly, we will find ourselves lost in the pain.
That’s what happens to this character. He crawls around in the woods, trying to find a way out. In his pain, the trek is slow and he encounters other obstacles, finds no answers and falls deeper into his illusion. Eventually he comes full circle, literally. He crawls around in the wet woods, in the rain, down a raging river, eating bugs and hiding from a mountain lion to find himself back where he started. Yeah, it is that bad.
But not all is lost. Really, this is the point of this post. While he is avoiding the hard journey up the steep slope, he is regaining strength. He finds a lost backpack that has aspirin or Tylenol or something in it (pain medication). He is befriended by a dog that guides him through the woods (an imaginary friend). He finds a cell phone that later he uses to call for help (after it dries out). His time traveling in a circle is not for nothing.
When we see ourselves as the divine extension of God, then we can know that whatever our path, we are on the path to discovering ourselves. Isn’t that amazing? You can see all these moments for this character (seemingly lost and without purpose) as opportunities for God to get him to the place he needs to be. In those three days in the woods, taking pain meds, finding love in a companion (the dog) and searching his inner self, is just what he needed to climb the steep slope.
When he finds himself back where he started, his frustration has risen to a climax. He decides to climb the ravine no matter what. Now his physical pain has lessened. His internal struggle has turned into determination. He will survive this ordeal and make it to the top of the hill.
And that is where he discovers truth. He finds another body (check out the post for details) and in a moment his illusion is shattered. Everything he thought about himself, based on his circumstance in pain, is not real. He discovers his true self. He is set free to let go of his manufactured false identity to embrace the truth.
So we can trust or have faith in our journey. In pain we can choose to take the lesser way, feel lost but still find clues along the way, find just what we need to finally tackle our greatest challenge head on. We can face the pain in our time when we are ready because that is what we must do. We are all on our journeys.
Hopefully a post like this one will help to bring perspective so we can avoid meandering about and not facing our pain. Yes it can be hard. Yes it can be incredibly challenging. But we don’t give up. We know we have God in and as US on a path to US discovering ourselves. In that truth we can rest in peace, even in pain, to follow our path.
I believe this is what Jesus meant when He said He had a peace that the world doesn’t understand. He knew who he was. He suffered not just on the cross but in life. You know he felt a tremendous burden for all the lost, the illusionary identities that the world had come to believe as truth. I believe His internal peace came from His knowing His identity. We can have the same. It is our purpose. Pain no longer need be the path to illusion but instead the path to reality.