It’s so interesting (read ‘entertaining’) to note how people convince themselves that everything is solved through faith and struggle. It’s probably one of the cleverest disguises of feigning strength that I’ve come across. You see, the moment we profess to be answering to a higher calling in our efforts to rid ourselves of our demons, people are automatically obliged to show reverence for our beliefs, which puts any criticism or analysis off limits. But even that is not the most important part of all this because what lies beneath, as always, is what really counts.
Most people I meet are so proud of their ability to cloak their true emotions that it’s become a source of strength for them. The irony is just, astounding. We find strength in reinforcing our weaknesses! Just the reality of that statement forces me to pause and consider how much else do we do that is this destructively self-serving. It’s as if we focus on finding a sense of composure about our current state, and presenting an image of contentment or confidence about it. Once that is achieved, we assume we’ve triumphed. Until the next wave of tribulations that strike, which forces us into defence mode, once again driving our focus towards building those walls so that others don’t see our pain or vulnerabilities.
Fortunately, that is not sustainable. Those that persist beyond the realisation of how unsustainable and damaging it is, commit suicide through self-inflicted ailments that the world has convinced them is an attack from outside their body. And so they become martyred heroes from being such successful victims. And yes, I believe that the realisation does enter their consciousness at some point, but usually at a point when the validation and compassion that their established defences solicit is too great for them to want to reveal the truth behind their misery.
We long for moments that we didn’t quite enjoy when we were in them, but they appear so much more appealing later on when what we have is considerably worse than what those moments offered us. This reminds me of the lyrics of that song by Gladys Knight where she reminisces about memories, and wonders if time has rewritten every line. I think it has. I think that failed relationships of the past seem to hold more appeal when the shortcomings of our current relationships cause those to pale in comparison. But this is not only true for relationships, but instead it is true for everything we do or experience in life. Nostalgia can be quite the selective spouse at times, and it is this very same sense of longing for what was that defines our perception of what is, which ultimately robs us of what we can be.
And so in our efforts to hide from these awkward truths, we present the ultimate defence, faith. But even that is not an entirely bad thing. I’ve often considered whether or not psychosomatic relief is a valuable remedy or not. I’m inclined to believe that it is. If the objective is healing, rather than how one is healed, then by all means, draw on the healing effects of faith through identifying token markers that shift our minds towards that healing cycle. However, unless we reflect on those conversations we have in our heads and have the courage to honestly pick it apart, we’ll always be subject to the presence of those markers to heal ourselves, which will most likely result in the destructive behaviours persisting, which eventually leads to a rot beyond repair.
It’s the same old analogy of the car once again. Driving the hell out of it wears it down, and no matter how many times you rigorously service it, or how much love and attention you smother it with, eventually the result of the on-going abuse will cause it to fail beyond repair. That is when death overtakes us, leaving us bewildered at its approach because the defences that served us so well for so long suddenly appears to be deserting us. No. We deserted ourselves long before that moment. We deserted ourselves each moment we chose to indulge our fears to feed our ego, instead of facing our fears and suppressing our ego.
There is nothing in this world that is wholesome if applied excessively, and faith is not free of this flaw. The world only remains in balance if we apply moderation in our lives. Be it spiritually or physically, regardless of your professions of faith or spirituality, the result is the same. Even the atheist or the agnostic, or the ascetic or the religious scholar, all need that balance. But that balance is relative, and can only be found when we reflect and sincerely apply what the realisations of our reflections reveal. Unfortunately too many are looking to others to instil that balance in their lives. We look for gurus and frameworks and funky philosophies that worked for someone else, then call it this big secret to happiness and assume that if we follow the textbook, we’ll be fine. We won’t. As long as you’re living someone else’s reality in your life, your life is a lie. It is a painful delusion that will kill you in unpleasant ways while you’re praying for a peaceful death.
Stop fooling yourself. It’s the greatest gift you could ever give yourself and the people around you.