Thursday, January 26, 2012

Truth or Despair

Who despairs, sins? So that means not only do I have to deal with despair, I have to feel like a sinner too? That helps. Not. Right?


Hold on, reader. Before you continue, ask yourself if you need to hear any of this. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones, and you don’t need to know anything about despair because you have already left it behind you. In which case, read no more. On the other hand, if despair is something you struggle with on a daily basis, feel free to continue. Nothing you read here is likely to make it any worse.


Full disclosure: Since despair is the most consistent and persistent feature in my life, I am choosing to write about it – again, maybe for the last time but probably not. I want to get to the bottom of despair — but is there even a bottom? What if, the deeper I dig, the further away from the light I get? What if, on my mad, deluded quest to find the underworld of my psyche and there rout out despair, once and for all, I am only digging my own grave?


On especially bad days — like today — that’s how it feels. It feels like I am some sort of despair-generator, as if all the world’s despair spews forth from my own black heart, a self-pitying pit of pestilence. Never mind fear of fear, I live in despair of despair. It is a self-propelling circle of self-rejection. What is the point? But then, that’s the point of despair, isn’t it: pointlessness and the black, gnawing absence of hope. We live lives of quiet (or noisy, if you are like me) desperation.


I know that my despair must come from inside of me, because there’s nothing outside of me to explain it. There is nothing awful in the present (besides non-voluntary bachelorhood, I live an “enviable” life), and there’s nothing so terrible in my past (just one more traumatic childhood). As for the future, sure, death and old age looms, but that hardly makes me cursed. Am I really so alone or exceptional?? Maybe others just hide it better. But then, I hide it pretty well too. Most of the time when I interact with people, I smile and joke just like you do. So where does all this despair come from?


Nothing seems to work with despair. If I tell myself that it is all for some purpose—that I am “processing” ancestral patterns which my forebears and peers have avoided (by chasing wealth and status, going on religious crusades, and jacking off to internet porn)—then I give myself license to extend the misery indefinitely. If I tell myself it is only masochism and self-indulgence and that I could let go of it any time I wanted, the despair is magnified by a sense of my weakness and worthlessness.


God Help Me!!!


Is this what has made the world we are living in—a mad frenzy of delusional avoidance activity driven by a bottomless pit of generational despair? Why? What the hell is wrong with me, you, us?


There’s only one answer that covers all the bases: truth. Despair is the result of living out lives that are fundamentally untrue, inauthentic lives. So our despair is “punishment” for our inauthenticity, or at least, a natural consequence of it. Does it help to know that? Maybe not right away, but it does provide some sort of answer at least.


What matters isn’t the depth or persistence of our despair, but what we do about it. The only thing to do with despair is—nothing. In its purest sense, despair is the side effect of a cleansing process that occurs when we allow ourselves to see our inauthenticity. Despair becomes self-propelling and self-sustaining when we allow it to drive us into action or non-action that is colored or informed by despair (rather than by its opposite, yet close cousin, acceptance, and compassion). If I eat crappy food, seek out mindless distractions, avoid healthy activities and positive human interaction because of despair; or worse still, if I start to mistreat other people and take out my unhappiness on them; then despair has become an excuse for me to take refuge in inauthenticity, to retreat further and further into the nightmare of an illusory existence. The hole I'm digging goes sideways, and leads only into deeper and deeper darkness. There is no jewel-lit underworld at the end of my struggle, just a long dark tunnel, circling around and around the earth, endlessly. (Eventually the whole planet will cave in from our mole-like tunneling.)


But enough doom and gloom. This is supposed to be my way of saying goodbye to all of that.


Happiness isn’t found by pursuit. Meaning and purpose—where real joy comes from—aren’t things that we can create for ourselves. They won’t come from our parents, peers, or partners. They will only come from one place, because there is only one Source that is true, that can provide us with an authentic sense of being from which to live. There is only one truth. That simplifies things. Deep down, we know when we are living for—and as—that one true source of goodness and light, and we know when we aren’t. Despair is your friend because it lets you know that something isn’t right. We can let go right now: it really is as simple as saying it.


“I surrender.”


There are only two choices for any of us, at any time. Truth or despair.


I mean, really. How complicated is that?


29 comments:

Bruno Tarrana said...

"Water stagnation occurs when water stops flowing. Stagnant water can be a major environmental hazard."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_stagnation

All complicated over-analysing rational thought and discourse is the result of a blockage of the flowing process. It's all about tuning in or not tuning in to life (raw said this I think), it's about flowing or not flowing with the tide of the cosmos. If we tune in all seems good no need to complicate things by thinking too much, we just eat, work, sleep, chop wood carry water and so on. When a blockage occurs, we might old on to that blockage (thoughts, theories, perceptions?) and go on making up complicated theories why the world is shit seeking ever deeper in our own shit (our own mind diarrhea, perceptions). Do Schopenhauer and Nietzsche for example ring a bell? I've just read a bit about their lives, and what a bunch of miserable dicks they were (no pussy maybe). I believe this is more or less what you just wrote so I dunno if it really adds anything to your shit pool swamp of stagnant water that your posts/blogs are. Funny thing is I am myself also swimming in my own shit pool and I seem to like it. Then why am I reading your shit? Shit attracts shit, flies, mosquitos, disease, death...

"Malaria and dengue are among the main dangers of stagnant water, which can become a breeding ground for the mosquitoes that transmit these diseases."

Why does this happen to us if we know what the problem is? Because we're like heroine addicts, we love our own shit and can't get enough of it.

In order to achieve individuation (awakening?) we had to learn how to distinguish the smell of our own shit amongst the shit ocean that is family, friends and civilisation, and then trust and follow the smell of our own shit, because at first it is one way the Paradox speaks to us (those who find it hard to follow the feeling of heart), through our own writing, thinking, analysing, criticising, introspection etc. But now that we're kind of out of the shit ocean, out of habit we continue to produce our own shit and stick to it, in other words we can't stop thinking/shitting, we got overloaded with info or shit and somehow we kind of like it because that's the smell of our own shit right? It helped us. But no more. In other words when you old on to your own shit it get inadvertently plugged in to the Shitrix. When you let go you just kind of get some relief and things no longer seem that shity. Of course our shit/thought must be used when we need to engage with people still plugged to the Shitrix (shit ocean, thinking, concepts, ignorance) and talk to them in a way they understand. But if we can't stop doing it to ourselves and in our daily lives we go around in circles eating shit, drinking dhiarrea, swiming in it, getting high on it, shiting the shit we just ate the day before and so on.

Just by writing this comment I understand a lot about why I am so miserable. Am I really writing to you? To me? Both? Is this the paradox/sync engine at work? See? I'm shitting again. But who cares what and why it is, it just is. Hope you like the smell of my shit. Maybe we should find a community of yellow-livereds where we could all tune in to each other's shit maybe we could become less miserable.

B.

Kephas said...

Well shitted.

Poo Poo La La said...

There is no shit, there is no shitter, there is only shitting.

dabbles dubious diddles said...

Oh, do be innocent little monsters. To this yours any connotation.

pueokeokeo said...

I think that image of those guys with their arms up in the air is the archontic image of surrender. This is what the control system wants you to think that surrender looks like and I know that you know better, Jasun. I'm assuming you were going for the funny shot -- an image of man's folly when it comes to this idea of surrender as it has been come to be known through his wars.

Isn't real surrender always done laying down -- in horizontal congress with the Earth (and whoever else wants to join in for such an orgiastic endeavor)? That way it's gonna be less painful (less despairing). When laying down against Her body, it's also more likely that you won't get a crook in your neck while observing the stories of the galaxies and stars. It's only in laying down -- surrendering to the force of Her pull and push -- that we can begin to recall just what HerStory is in relation to this greater space-filled , here with all these native suns of night -- this hardy band of light.

Kephas said...

Not a funny shot, just a visceral illustration of how starkly simple it can be, when you know you have no choice. Those guys could surrender or get shot down. I don't see much difference whether its lying down or hands in the air (maybe they are doing Oshana energy work ; ) ).

Everyone said...

Most emotional extremes and intellectual tailspins can be traced to improper diet/elimination and/or improper breathing, and the buildup of gunk that ensues. Learn to breathe and do a cleanse. Enjoy!!

Kephas said...

That's an optimistic viewpoint, everyone.

Paul Bowles once said that the idea of having a healthy mental outlook to have a healthy body was backwards. Start with the basics: chop wood, carry water; brush teeth, wipe arse. Breathe.

Theofilia said...

I love it when real shit happens!
Real honest mud*af*ka frikin' shit happens so rarely:)
Gawed Khepas, I love it you did that!
It takes great deal of courage to look despair in its face, and then let it rip like that.

testing god testing me said...

How do I explain to my MOTHER, that the world is in kahoots with SATAN, that we're all lying with the scarlet woman and not the other way around, that I've been entertaining uncouth thoughts, and actions that are keeping us all down, and when I make the switch that I will change, radically and a little bit insanely again, that it was not all of a sudden, but planned over a decade, and adding to that I've always known it to be (my) life's destiny.

So I type this, read it back, being contra to what I really want to sow in my field, instant karma, and I laugh along with satan. Solutions kill. How do I explain it to a mother that has had ENOUGH of her children's insanity? I don't, won't even, LET ON. The bitch, who right now doesn't deserve the title. I so love her, the world...

- Satan

so what said...

I dunno, is the trick to dis-identify with the body-mind altogether - it's just going through another one of it's shitty inflation/deflation cycles, one day complacency, one day self-satisfaction, one day doubt, one day self loathing and on and on. If this body mind isn't even capable of doing what it knows is good for it I don't want to be it. Good riddance. Being the worst friendless outsider even amongst a community of outsiders pisses me off no end, but at least it makes me reach for the All out of sheer desperation, and bliss, desperation and surrender seem closely related, at least then I can quite delight in my personal tragedy.And I can pretty much convince myself that whatever happens happens for the best.

Lycaeus said...

idk if I can relate to you. you're pretty intelligent, wise and weird. but I find that thinking about words upon words, upon words leads me in circles and I end up getting depressed over really, nothing, just mental masturbation/distraction. so i smoke weed (which makes me happy, but sometimes feels very dark) and play music, usually dark emotions, but I always feel happy after I've processed them and let them flow, instead of being a hardened male. sometimes it's healthy to turn the brain off and go for a walk in the forest and relax. being with loved ones is awesome too, even if they're not at the same level you can still have fun. I'm an overly cynical/serious capricorn, and I know despair. it's good to drop the ego sometimes and be a goof ball and laugh at poop jokes...
but maybe it's ancestral karma, to process the stuff we've avoided, and is necessary. Buddha said "life is suffering"... i've been thinking about that a lot lately, especially at my robot job, which is really cool, but hell at the same time. I usually feel better after I put myself through a bit of suffering. idk, just a little rant there. maybe it's your life path, to feel the weight of the world. we definitely could usde more guys like kephas, instead of more meat and potatoes kinds of guys.

RUTHLESSssss said...

marriage is divorce. Stop wincing, bitch, this is for you own good.

trolling himself said...

gonna be a lamb... eHheheheheh...

Why, yes... Satan. aHahahahaha...

sub said...

So despair is like a wake up call, ...negative states are made up of emotions and thoughts combined which feed and perpetuate each other, it's like the negative state requires both thought and feeling. So what happens when, you attempt to separate the emotional state from the accompanying thoughts/story...to experience the feelings on their own, fully and with acceptance, it somehow requires one's whole attention which then stills the thoughts at least for long enough perhaps for the feelings to pass the height of their intensity, as long as one doesn't buy into the addiction to unhappiness. And hopefully the byproduct of all that is insight into one's own unconscious processes, no matter what is triggered. Can despair exist as a feeling without the accompanying thought of no hope?

Kephas said...

Or even a bodily sensation.

jay said...

So, recently I was tormented by these intense, repeated feelings of rage and resentment torwards someone, over something very trivial that had happened, and I could just not stop thinking about the situation, the apparent injustice of it etc, and this went on for several days, to the point where I felt exhausted and drained. I could not believe how willingly I was tapping in to these so obviously destructive thoughts,especially considering it was over something quite unimportant, but I saw it as an interesting opportunity to observe my own apparent madness in doing this. So I attempted to experience the emotional pain and the feelings in my body associated with it and felt it mostly as heaviness or tightness in my solar plexus, but still I felt I could not stop feeding and thinking these thoughts, eventually I found that an effective way to stop thinking was to stop breathing, for as long as possible, and then take a deep breath and then hold the breath for as long as possible and carry on like that with some normal breaths in between and it seemed my body was so distracted by the lack of breath that there was no longer space for thought and this turned into quite a blissful exercise, and helped raise energy within the body and give a sense of healing. Later I arranged to meet the person in question and fully expressed my grievances and felt much better. I think breath control is a useful technique for me when I become overcome with repetative, obsessive, negative thoughts.

Lycaeus said...

Lately I've been thinking about awakening out of delusion and how that's related to the detachment of emotions. Maybe if you are truly awake, then you might see that good and evil don't exist, and emotions are real only in the dreamworld. Maybe, when you become more lucid, you start to see that emotions turn out to be bullshit. The more I think about things and become more clear about why I'm feeling a certain way, then the less the emotion clouds my thinking. The less power it holds over me. Sometimes I see emotions as something external, like I'm just watching myself as a character going through the motions. I wonder if Aeolus takes his feelings that seriously, or if he is standing back in surrender just letting his character do his thing. I kind of fear that detachment may be kind of harmful, like an escape from reality, or maybe it's healthy, it just depends upon the degree and context. It's obvious that you are very aware of yourself and present. Maybe you're not as awake as I think you are if despair and sorrow affect you so much, but then again you never know who's taking things that seriously, you're probably stalking yourself. I wonder why such an intelligent guy who has searched his soul as much as you would feel so down. You'd think you would have figured out how to stay more comfortable, not overly happy, but less depressed. But, a bonus to embracing your dark side is that there's a lot of fiery power in there, I'm discovering for myself.

Kephas said...

There are alternate forms of breath control that don't entail depriving the body of oxygen, which it seems might have detrimental effects?

Kephas said...

I don't believe that emotional detachment, much less an absence of emotions, characterizes an evolved or advanced state of development. I think that's what's been sold to us but that it's basically bunk - and that the closer we get to our core, the more intensely we feel everything. What makes it doable is that there's also a widening that happens with the deepening, and so it becomes more and more possible to experience the emotions without, as you say, taking them seriously or identifying with/attaching to the energies that are being triggered and which are temporarily possessing one.

I have yet to find the line between self-indulgence overreacting/wallowing) and avoidance/phony detachment or "transcendence," the middle way which is an ability to experience emotions fully and then let them go. I know I tend to err on the side of indulgence, probably because I have in the past erred on the other side - i.e., there's likely to be a compensatory action involved. Avoid or falsely transcend your feelings, and they will have their revenge (restore balance to the psyche) later on.

Also: intellectual development and emotional maturity do not necessarily go hand in hand, and neither amount to spiritual equanimity.

Lycaeus said...

That clears things up a bit. After devouring Jed Mckenna's books I'm starting to feel things more intensely, like somethings been triggered. It's tempting to indulge in phony emotional transcendence. The reason I got the idea is from Jed's personality. He is okay with everything and nothing gets to him, so I thought that was the way to go, but the truth is, you have to be honest with yourself even if the ego doesn't agree with your inner voice, you have to process things and go balls deep into whatever you're feeling. I think I'm starting to wake up a little bit, and things can get pretty intense. Sorry if the last comment sounded rude. The way you articulated things made things clearer though.

So what do you mean by spiritual equanimity anyways?

Kephas said...

Lessee what wiki has to say:

"Equanimity is a state of mental or emotional stability or composure arising from a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment.

"In Hinduism, equanimity is just another term that attempts to describe the nature of Brahman. In Vedanta the term Brahman points to Absolute Reality. ... The idea of equanimity refers to being in pure awareness. Being in pure awareness requires dissolution of mind. The term mind is also known as Ego or Identity. When there is no distraction or attachment to thoughts, there is equanimity. As per Vedanta, 'Equanimity' is our true nature. When the sense of individual discrete identity is dissolved, one transcends the apparent duality and see themselves as one with everything.

"...It should be recognized that 'Equanimity' does not refer to a state of mind, rather it describes our real nature. Sense of attachment or doership is always individual and operates at the level of Individual Identity or Ego. Gita says by renouncing our limited identity, we can reveal our true nature, which is 'Brahman'. When we are aware of our true nature, the individual ego does not operate anymore, hence the outcome is equanimity."

I'd say it has to do with being outside the box of mind/ego identity while still able to perceive what's going on inside the box - like living in the wilderness with a TV set for whenever you feel like checking in with "the world" (ie, the story of the self). This is just a guess, since I am still trapped inside the TV set, at present.

jay said...

About breathing techniques - I was quite intrigued with the 'Golden Flower Meditation' it says "Breath in through the nose, pulling in air with diaphragm, once you have the diaphragm working you'll notice an energy build up in the lower belly, simply command the breath to change directions, it will obey. You should feel a tingling at the base of the spine, the kundalini slowly awakening, continue diaphramic deep breathing to draw the energy up the proper channel along the spine to the crown chakra, thats when 'it' starts doing you"
From the wiki page of the secret of the golden flower it says -
'When breathing is steady, the wheel turns forward, with breath energy rising in back and descending in front. Bad breathing habits (or bad posture, or even bad thoughts) may cause the wheel not to turn, or move backward, inhibiting the circulation of essential breath energy'

It got me thinking, about how in the past I think I had a premature kundalini awakening and I had quite a hellish psychotic year afterwards, and now thinking about the subject of kundalini always gives me a feeling of tension, even pain in the lower back. Sometimes I feel that outwardly everything is pristine, almost perfect and I should feel happy and yet inwardly my energy feels tense and twisted like I can't experience deeply relaxed happiness when I feel I ought to be able to.

Kephas said...

That last line describes how I feel a lot of the time - perhaps due to my own PKA experiences, courtesy of psychedelics, in part at least...?

Thx for sharing.

jay said...

Perhaps if once the body has opened up energetically/spiritually and become vulnerable but then suffered afterwards, as happened to me, then maybe on a deep level the body is afraid to fully open up again, for fear of the same thing happening. The body in a sense recoils from the idea of being open and fluid again? For me I think it might just need courage to begin the whole process again but this time with more wisdom and temperance.

Kutamun said...

Dark Eros is the way we are feeling
The grease of life. !

William Hunter Duncan said...

Aeolus,

I read this in January, and ended up here again. I like what Mckenna said in his presentation on Unfolding the Stone, about the alchemical negredo. That helps me, to realize that the stuff of transformation is the shit. Basically what you are saying, that despair is the reminder that there is work to be done, and that is about becoming authentic.

It was a mild, but another very hard winter. It is spring again, and I've awakened every day this week eagerly. Can I live an authentic life, and keep my house? It is a curious life, this. I'm not sure what to make of it exactly, but I love it, I am falling in love with it again. I admire your work. Keep working.

www.offthegridmpls.blogspot.com

prose said...

'Deep down, we know when we are living for—and as—that one true source of goodness and light, and we know when we aren’t.'

So how does one know that? What are the symptoms of living as that? What's the perceptions of the world that accompany it, what feelings are there, how does one know? -is it something that happens only on a 'good' day?
I feel despair a lot and I feel like I've tried everything, once spiritual seeking starts it seems one can't go back, or stay the same and forward is like round in circles. By trying to be more aware I became more self-conscious and awkward, by trying to do the right thing I battle within, superego against ego. But despair is a radical state that demands a radical solution. So what's the highest, most refined truth that one can live in?
My current version is I know that my self is in a sense non-local, that there is nothing really within my body that I can pinpoint as myself. What I can observe is not me, I am the observation of it and awareness cannot be located. I know I am in a sense always within myself, my self being everything so there is nothing to fear. The world of separate objects is unreal, a mental interpretation. I know that the clearer I perceive this the more i feel at home, at peace. But this perception requires radical non attachment and desirelessness torwards individual things. I know that thoughts are an indulgence and a distraction, a desire, but can I be radical enough to be at peace and detach? If despair is giving up hope, liberation is giving up everything, but can it be done? If one is in enough despair perhaps and sick of trying anything else.

Anonymous said...

DESPAIR or GRIEF? The image you have of the angel: this particular angel is representative of grief (over loss). In it's presence, it's beauty is heartbreakingly palpable. This may not be what you are trying to convey in your blog. It's an injustice to the artist to misconstrue his representation of profound grief (but perhaps he will not despair, for it his own grave marker...). Perhaps you could find something more representational that will represent better your emotion? You might appreciate Geuricault's Raft of the Medusa.

I stand beside you in you search for the truth.

-Anonymous, Rome, Italy