There is a strange and vast body of knowledge to be navigated...
It is coded deep within the elusive currents that wind between relatively sturdy islands of study: immune system function, emotional states, drugs, spirituality, the quantum level of reality...
Actually, none of those are sturdy fields of study.. But they are better-explored than the new creeks and rivers I'm stepping into..
Learning to like yourself is Step One for those of us with issues - standard, North American-issue issues like self-loathing, perpetual illness, impotent anger... issues that are often compounded by intangible factors like uncertainty and uncomfortability (new word).
When your body is the enemy, the failed state, the lurking terrorist - external hardships are rendered black-and-white, muted by the constant hum of internal Threat.
In this state - when occupying this particular range of bandwidth - Pain is a Master, Love is like a bad touch from an uncle, and Fear is a well-worn, springy, black-as-night couch that is impossibly uncomfortable but consistently reassuring in it's familiarity.
When we live this Reality, it is unavoidable: We Are It.
It isn't a mindset that can be cheered-up, nor a mood that can be swept aside by distraction.
Not a reaction to a set of circumstances; It is the circumstance, You are the circumstance -
I am the circumstance, and I cannot be avoided.
I have come to discover, however, that I can be negotiated with.
I talk to myself a lot. This could of course be considered unhealthy, but I think offhand dismissals of curious human behavior as 'crazy' is as myopic as believing anything that the revered psychoanalyst, cocaine-addict Freud had to say...
And his theories have formed the basis of our entire social philosophy in the 20th century...
So whats really crazy - basing your world-view on the rantings of an incest-obsessed cokehead, or having a dialogue with yourself?
Moving right along...
Talking to ones' self is an exercise in Rationality, not lunacy. It is an attempt to externalize the continuous internal dialogue that we as people carry with us - an attempt to shed the light of the world on the dark corners of our own psyche... The idea being that things make more sense once examined in reality than they do trapped in our heads.
Without ever having touched a therapeutic text in regards to how one might heal insatiable wounds of the spirit, I've come to realize that building up a dialogue with yourself is one of the keys to negotiating a ceasefire.
It is after all your Self that you are at war with - it makes sense that the Self must be invited to the bargaining table.
Some psychoanalysis is strictly focused on the determination of the trigger - what happened to make you this way? - but after some paddling about in that river of filth, I find it to be entirely unhelpful.
You could liken it to being stuck in a dirt-pit, and deciding that the best way to get out would be to sit down and think about that first shovel-bite that got you there...
It doesn't work - not for me, not for anybody. All it does is start (or reinforce) the process of defining yourself by your problems, your issues, your nightmares.
The closer you hold them - your precious trauma - the more confidently they own you.
Going the opposite route - pretending that everything is fine, that you are happy and well-adjusted and, no, you don't want to drag a razor across your own tongue - invariably leads to the complete ownership of your soul by your trauma. Every second you evade it, deny it, it cackles with steel teeth and a forever smile of hate... Laughing at your pitiful, scrounging, transparent (to everyone) attempt to pretend to be Normal.
Normal - which doesn't exist on Planet Earth, except as a false concept in some of our minds.
So - pretending it's not there won't work. Gingerly stepping in to the hot shit-bath of trauma analysis - also, won't work.
Just like in any war, the only way to start to bring a rational, workable solution to the table...
Is to Talk.
One of the things I noticed about myself, after many years, is that when I talk to myself, I always say 'we'.
As in: "Ok. We have to make it to the dentist this week, and ideally, we should refrain from smoking weed for a couple days after they rip that tooth out."
This is common - you could even say it's Normal :)
This nearly-universal commonality in the self-conversation shows how there is an inherent divide within most of us - I think it's fair to say that the divide is what separates our Higher and Lower selves.
The Higher self conspires to control and contain the irrational Lower self - the side that succumbs to self-abuse, disregard for harmony, the side that says "yeaaahrreaggghh" and sniffs up piles of coke like old Sigmund.
Conscience, Morality, Reason - these are the traits of the language used by the Higher Self.
So when we speak with ourselves, we are attempting to reason with an unreasonable beast - the caged-rhino inside who would rather just wreck the place, pump one out and collapse in slumber.
Remember the song, "God help the beast in me?"
Remember how earlier this week, I wrote about how God is actually our higher nature?
Now I'm talking to myself again... hold up.
So talking to yourself, according to me, is in fact very healthy, especially for someone who doesn't like themselves.
Humans don't like to be confused; we are really fucking smart (and stupid, in other ways).
When you are as smart as we are, anything that cannot be understood is immediately classified as Threat.
This is why... if you don't Understand yourself... you Fear yourself.
Part II next.