Somewhere along the way, The Seeker’s Dungeon turned into a yes-the-world-is-fucked-up-but-there’s-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel blog. When I started out, I mostly wrote boy-it-sure-is-dark-down-here articles. As the blog grew, I developed a need to be ok with the darkness. I needed a reason for the darkness. It couldn’t just be that it’s damn dark in dungeons. No it had to be – whether through death, or enlightenment – we’re serving our time, and at some point we’ll be released into the light, and the purpose would make itself known.

But, ‘at-some-points’ are like ‘tomorrows.’ Eventually we have to be ok with today. We have to be ok with a journey, just being a journey. We all want to get somewhere. We can fight, and need to fight the injustices in every direction, but for the sake of our heart, we have to accept that darkness is part and parcel of the human experience.

Sometimes, I feel like I have anger inside of me that is so deep that it doesn’t jive with my own life experiences. I can go through periods where I can’t look or talk to anyone without feeling disappointed. My ego being pricked by the slightest disrespect and sending me into a mental tailspin would make me think that I should have at one time in my life been so respected that I can no longer deal with being treated as a mere mortal. But I was never a man of such stature or acclaim that my every word was revered. This being the case, my inner and outer worlds do not seem to exist in the same universe. In my blog bio I state that “I’m a King without a kingdom” because that is the only way that I can come to terms with my oversized ego.

Reincarnation is part of my belief system and answers any questions that I want to throw its way, but when I want answers about the world, I always try to judge the world at face value. My anger sometimes feels so engrained in me as if it were part of my very DNA. I start to wonder about things such as transgenerational trauma. This is a particular kind of trauma that is “transferred from the first generation of trauma survivors to the second and further generations of offspring of the survivors via complex post-traumatic stress disorder mechanisms.” (Wikipedia) This is a particular kind of PTSD that can be found in varying groups such as the descendants of Holocaust survivors and of slaves.

It is easy for people to say get over it; slavery was so many generations ago. But the trauma continues to find its life renewed in Jim Crow, the civil rights movement of the 60’s, and the police shootings of today that are broadcast all over social media. Epigenetics is “the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.” (Oxford Dictionary) Traumatic experiences literally change our DNA, not the code, but the way that it is expressed – the way that we react to our surroundings – and it gets passed down for generations.

This whole dark introduction started from my contemplation on what it means to ‘choose’ happiness. We say it very casually as if it were an easy thing to do. But it is a deep spiritual practice that comes easily to some people existing in the most dire of circumstances, while others, whose problems may seem largely self-inflicted, are never able to escape the idea that the world is against them.

The happiest that I ever am, is on Amma’s Indian tours. At this time, we get on buses with seats too small for our shoulders, and travel across India, working night and day to serve the thousands of people who show up to see Amma and get her darshan. The accommodations and conditions are usually squalid by western standards. But I love it. I’m never on my phone checking the news or social media. I don’t have time to. There’s just too much going on in the moment.

We are survival creatures. Our DNA was furnished in the fires of the wilderness, and molded through tribal warfare. We were not beings that were made to sit for hours a day in front of computer screens. Maybe that is why we fight so much with each other. In the heat of battle, we don’t have time to be sad. When we are really fighting for survival we also don’t have time for philosophy. Still, fighting has a way of hiding the pain away. Anger will burn everything else to the ground. It is easier to overcome a lost love when we can be angry at them. I’m not singing the praises of anger I’m just theorizing on the “why’s” and “hows” and “for what good reasons…”

The way that our bodies work are truly incredible. If we have a problem with a virus our bodies will produce the antibodies we need. But when there is a problem with our organ functions, they might start to poison us rather than protect us. It is a cause and effect world. It is also a virus and antibody planet. We have everything we need to survive but when we don’t function correctly it can be the end of us. The same intellect that we use to lift ourselves up can be used to tear ourselves apart when we are wrapped in depression.

And the question remains as to what it means to ‘choose’ happiness. Smiling for me has nothing to do with happiness. Smiling may inspire happiness in others, but it can’t be used as a barometer for someone’s internal experience. Some people are naturally gregarious and share their internal experiences with all around them. Some of us prefer to protect our internal experience, knowing how easily we are affected by others, and when we have a little bit of joy we just cling to it, not wanting anyone to inadvertently rip it from our covetous hands. Shoot, am I opening the door to my inner workings a little too wide?

We may think we understand each other, but we miss all the little details, all of the little traumas that go into what makes us who we are. A man can never really understand a woman. A woman can never really understand a man. Someone who’s never been a minority can’t begin to understand what it means to be a minority. They can get a glimmer of it if they travel to a place where they are the minority, but then it is a different culture from their own home and they are looking through entirely different lenses than the ones they would have if they grew up there. Minorities don’t really understand what it is like to live in the majority. Even when they travel to places where the majority skin tone is the same as theirs, the culture and life experiences are different. There are thousands of little traumas that make us who we are. Rather than judging each other for them, we could start by acknowledging that we don’t really know where the other person is coming from. We can understand someone intellectually, but unless we experience all of the little traumas that went into their life, and into their very DNA, we can’t really know them.

Choosing happiness is not just a thing to say, as if it should come natural to our human experience. It is not the norm of this world we are engulfed in. Choosing happiness is an act of upliftment and therefore a spiritual practice. It is not turning a blind eye to the world, but engaging and understanding that we are never going to be content with what we are getting outside of ourselves. It is knowing that we are more than our external experiences and we can still choose our internal ones. It’s a damn struggle for most of us. But we can’t win the fight, if we don’t have the fight. At some point, we have to choose what it is we want out of this existence and go for it. Maybe that point should be today. If it is happiness we’re after, let our eyes be open to the fact that the world is a world of duality. If we’re going after something in the world, then it is a package. We’ll never get happiness separate from suffering there.

The light is surely at the end of this tunnel, but we have to choose to walk towards it.

18 Comments

  1. We often assume that because we have a sense of enlightenment that others can or want to be enlightened…unfortunately that is not the case. That expectation may lead to internal conflict for us and anger since it is obvious to us what should and could be done. Awareness can create a number of personal problems…be well my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really appreciate this piece and also appreciate that I have had the privilege to witness you going through many of these transitions. I remember when your blog was primarily in the “it’s sure dark down here” phase and was glad when you started seeing and writing about the light that is also there. I love how you ended this essay. It is so true …. we have to choose to walk towards the light if we are going to reach it.

    A co-therapist I worked with early in my professional life used to ask clients whether the choices they were about to make would contribute to their living or their dying. I have found that to be a very valuable question in my practice as well. I suspect choosing to contribute to our dying is choosing darkness and choosing to contribute to our living is choosing the light. I’ve never thought about it in those terms before. I will have to check that out!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here’s the shortest version I can come up with at the moment. Sorry it’s so long!

    I LOVED what you wrote…all of it…and, to the best of my understanding, I agree with you.

    There was just this one section that troubled me. It highlighted a stance I see and hear all too often, that I get, but struggle with.

    You wrote: “We may think we understand each other, but we miss all the little details, all of the little traumas that go into what makes us who we are. A man can never really understand a woman. A woman can never really understand a man. Someone who’s never been a minority can’t begin to understand what it means to be a minority. They can get a glimmer of it if they travel to a place where they are the minority, but then it is a different culture from their own home and they are looking through entirely different lenses than the ones they would have if they grew up there. Minorities don’t really understand what it is like to live in the majority. Even when they travel to places where the majority skin tone is the same as theirs, the culture and life experiences are different. There are thousands of little traumas that make us who we are. Rather than judging each other for them, we could start by acknowledging that we don’t really know where the other person is coming from. We can understand someone intellectually, but unless we experience all of the little traumas that went into their life, and into their very DNA, we can’t really know them.”

    Of course, this is all absolutely true, but for years (since 9/11), I have preached, and tried to live by the tenant that there really are no absolutes.

    I think it’s a matter of focus, of emphasis. The invitation above from you to comment is also true. We ARE all in this together, even though we may be difficult-to-understand beings. I say “we are completely SEPARATE, whole, different, unique persons…and at the same time as we are completely, and inextricably CONNECTED! Both those facts , though opposing, are absolutely true and represent to me one of the primary existential challenges for all human-type beings. Two absolutes proving there are none…

    You wrote: “We can understand someone intellectually, but unless we experience all of the little traumas that went into their life, and into their very DNA, we can’t really know them.”

    One of the ways to go deeper than simply intellectually understanding someone is to find inside yourself YOUR version of THEIR traumas.

    Two examples come to mind for me. As a VISTA Volunteer in the Deep South in the 1960’s, I remember a white exchange student, in the all Black college I tutored in, warning me that I would never ever be Black, so I could never understand my students. The upsetting part to me was being told I could never really know. It set me on a journey of discovery that continues today.

    The other example is more graphic. Early in my practice as a Psychotherapist, I happened to have several Stevedores and long haul truckers as clients. We would look at each other in total non-recognition. I had NO credibility with them, looking all Hippie Flower Child, or even Bellevue Housewifely….until I started swearing. I was not uncomfortable with any of the words they used, so I just used them right back. It came naturally to me, not fake, and they immediately shifted their attitude, and prejudice about me.

    A seed was planted in me, so when my practice later began filling with Vietnam Veterans suffering from serious PTSD, I had to find a much more significant way to relate to them than simply swearing.

    At first they all had that same “stance”… “You weren’t there. You can never KNOW what it was like to have your bloody, destroyed best friend die in your arms.” And, as you can guess, many other awful stories.

    When I was brave enough I would say to them, “You are right. I wasn’t there, but while you were, I had to clean up bits and pieces of my Mother after she took her own life with a god-damned shotgun inside her car.” Totally different, of course, but on some deep, dark, excruciating level, exactly the same. Horror is horror. And in those moments of connection, we could not have KNOWN each other better.

    Finding true common ground can be much MUCH more than simply intellectual! One can connect on a soul level there…if you are willing to find your own version of their story…because there almost always is one…

    Thanks for reading, and for all that you share with us, Sreejit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. Somebody who gives their whole lives for trying to understand the pain of others is of course totally different from most of us. A lot of this article was a reaction to hearing somebody talk who was oblivious to their own subtle sexism and racism. Unfortunately most of the world is not very introspective, but of course their are countless examples of people who try and that does change everything.

      Like

  4. Excellent post and I hear you.. We are both light and dark.. And our programming is now up for a rewire… So the internal battles of wills keep surfacing.. We are clearing out past programming, a little like a computer. And we have been infected with a ‘Virus’ of sorts not understanding that we each have within us great capabilities and have never used them because our systems were short circuited 🙂 so to speak…
    Wishing you well.. I came via Linda’s reblog of your post..

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think we are slowly those who are waking up are opening up their circuits and re-tuning into a higher vibration… All we need is LOVE and to learn to Let go of FEAR… 🙂 Have a wonderful day and thank you for replying..

        Like

We're in this together, please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s