Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Transitory Empath: A Look At The Dark Night Of The Soul

Have you ever felt as though you stand in one place, while all of life passes you by? More to the point, have you had a whole procession of friends and lovers come into your life and then leave, as though they were only there until their needs had been met? Is the word 'friend' an echoing sound that returns to you in a whisper of 'good-bye'? Have you ever wondered, as you watch people around you have sustainable and healthy relationships with others, why everyone leaves you?

How many tears have you shed in your loneliness? How afraid were you when the friends stopped coming all together, and you were left alone with the one person you fear the most......you?

Did it feel as though you were losing your grip on reality? Did you feel yourself slipping into madness? Did you question, rail against, scream at, deny, and/or beg deity with questions like 'how could this be happening to me?' or 'why are you letting this happen to me?' And in the darkness of your own crumbling heart, was there an answer? Or did your heart continue to crumble and fall, like sands in an hourglass?

In a world, seemingly without meaning, did you try to alleviate the pain and drown the sorrow in drugs, in alcohol, in sex, in gambling, or in any other way? And did you fall to your knees in defeat, weeping, when that didn't work? And at that singular moment did you feel so broken that you could not even imagine being put back together again?

Life floats by us as though we do not exist. People come into our lives, only to move on, while we seemingly stand still.....as though we are waiting for our turn to rise or move on. Friends leave. Lovers leave. Family passes away. And the world keeps moving on while we sit, stewing in our grief.

And in those moments, you do one of two things. You either stop and ask yourself the hard questions or you become a victim to the intentions of others. In other words you blame others for leaving, for hurting you, for shutting you out. You punish yourself for other people's moving on.

If you choose the other path, you begin to doubt yourself because you question who you are both inside and out. You go into a state, known as The Dark Night Of The Soul, which is defined as : an expression used to describe a phase in a person's spiritual life, a metaphor for a certain loneliness and desolation.

Another way of describing it would be that you begin to feel broken as you lose faith in everything that has sustained you up until that point. You doubt yourself, the veracity of other people's words and motivations, the purpose and meaning of life, and deity. Like stated above, you may rail against God (by whatever name you choose) for doing this to you, making you suffer in such a way. You feel the weight of the world set upon you, while at the same time it is as though you are drowning. And it feels like the ultimate punishment for something you assume you've done wrong, which you may or may not have done in actuality.

But eventually, if you do not stop fighting and sacrifice yourself under the weight of it all, you move beyond it in to surrender. That statement probably makes no sense to most people. To keep fighting only to surrender. The old adage, 'What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger', comes into play here.

When you push past the darkness of your fear, suffering, pain, and isolation, and stop pushing the blame of your suffering on everyone else from deity to your ex-lover, you are left in a state of numb ~ empty. And this is surrender.

Here, in this singular moment, you will set the tone of the life you have yet to live, that which is barreling toward you whether you wish it to or not.

It all sounds very Buddhist, doesn't it? Surrender and awakening. But this is real life stuff we all, or at least the vast majority, will go through at least once in our lives, if we are lucky. Because out of the darkness of that time of doubt and that singular moment of surrender, it is like a reawakening to life and a renewal to the joys within it. It is the beginning of hope. And it is as though (not meant in a religious context here) you have been reborn and arisen from a grave you were buried deeply in. And it is the beginnings of the climb back to living.

And it comes with new awareness and understanding, that people leave, but it does not have to do with you personally. It has to do with the fact that the paths of life, which sometimes run parallel, branch off in to new and different directions. And that while it is sad, it is not something to mourn the rest of your life over because within the scope of your singular lifetime you will meet, love, and care for many people in its own time.

The Transitory Empath is what we all are, or what the vast majority of us are. Its hard and its painful at times. This is particularly true when we are attached to those we help to the point of loving them dearly. But there will always be moments when we must let go and say good bye, or when someone leaves us behind.

But it does not stop our own growth. It does not mean we are simply the stepping stones for others in their growth and development. We are constantly growing and changing ourselves, in particular as we work with and help others on their journeys. So think about it and know, above all else, you are not alone in this journey, in those feelings of isolation, suffering, doubt, and questioning. We have all, or the vast majority of us, either been through it or are going through it right this minute.

Think about it.

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