My last post, I spent some time dealing with pain. I’ve watched so much inner struggle in my own community for the last year, I’m trying to understand the reasons why pain seems to culminate in these awful ways.
So the first jab at pain today is: Does anybody really know the real you?
The Online Age
There’s no doubt the digital revolution of the last 15 years has changed the way we identify ourselves AND those around us. Whole companies are dedicated to making sure your online profile is clean enough for you to go out into the world without any hint of blemish. But is that really you?
Have we given over to so much outward appearance and pride that we’ve forgetten to spend time cultivating the REAL me?
Maybe Pain happens when the “fake” you has a collision with the “real” you?
What do you think?
Maybe so much of the pain I’ve seen in my community, and the pain you’ve seen in yours, comes from a violent sociological train wreck when we come face to face with who we really are? What do I like? What do I like because my community forces me to like it? What do I believe? What are the things I believe because it’s just the natural way of keeping the peace in my world? What don’t I like? Can I express that with the friends around me? Or am I trapped in an isolated world where if my true belief be known, I would risk EVERYTHING?
I think the internet has given us many useful tools, but one of the consequences is the new social normal. If you speak out and have a voice, it will often be met with people who are mean and distasteful. So why be you? Maybe there’s just a lot of pain in this idea that we don’t really matter as much as our online profile promised.
Who are your closest friends?
I ask my students this, ALL THE TIME!! Who are your closest friends? Who are the people in your life who know everything about you? They know the good. They know the bad. They know your needs. They know how to encourage you when you are up, and they know how to rescue you from the black hole of loneliness. They know just the right words to say when life deals you an ugly hand. Who are they?
I wonder if pain is a direct result of not having people in our lives that know us for who we are and accept us with all the blemishes. After all, who doesn’t have blemishes? Everyone in the world has marks and scars along the road of life. We all make mistakes. And unless someone is just truly evil, they don’t intend to go out and hurt others. So why are we afraid to let people in our our blemishes? Are we afraid they won’t like us? Then we have to go back to the question, who are our REAL friends?
Have we just created these isolated bubbles where people only know the outside of our world that we’ve constructed, without taking the time and energy to really “know?” Maybe that’s where pain is from?
Do you have a sense of matter
I think one of the most intriguing narratives in my spiritual life is the one where God actaully creates people and gives them gifts to function on the planet today. Like my last post, I Can’t say with 100% certainty I know this narrative is the right one, but I do know that everyone has a narrative to navigate life, and mine tends to give me a sense of matter. It’s a sense of purpose we all need to have to secure value in life. Another way of asking is, do you have a reason to wake up in the morning? Why?
Maybe pain comes from an isolated loneliness where purpose seems to avoid us. It acts like a mysterious ghost hiding in the corners of our worthiness watching…waiting..for us to go and take hold of it’s conquer. But everytime we get close to our purpose, our narrative clashes with the ghost and it disappears. Then we find ourselves sitting in a pool of isolation again. Maybe pain is a place where we come to a collision with purpose and the evasive narrative, so life makes sense again.
These constructs of narrative are vitally important to our sanity. Mess with just a small part, and you can watch someone’s life crumble around them.
Maybe pain isn’t that illusive.
Maybe we just need to take ask few introspective questions and be honest with who we are, where we are, and what we’re doing to find purpose on the planet today.
I’ll keep exploring. Will you?