Saturday July 6, 2013
I want to start this morning by thanking those who are taking the time to read my thoughts. I have no idea how this blog will ultimately evolve and who may find it of use but I am confident that at the very least it will do me a world of good. I already find myself looking forward to the time I set aside each day to write. And given how many compliments I have received over the years about my writing skills I feel all the more encouraged.
Looking back on the last several months is a strange experience. Certain influences came together in April to precipitate a personal catharsis. One influence was the love of a very supportive friend whom I first met last summer while living in Washington, D.C. She has been like a surrogate mother to me; her love and support helped me to open my heart in a more profound way. Another significant factor was my decision to read a book I first bought last summer while in her company. The book focuses on an ancient Hawaiian healing art known as Ho'oponopono.
For those people naturally bent towards skepticism or convinced that only that which one can perceive with the senses is real the book may prove to be a challenging read. I personally found myself able to accept its basic tenets with little internal struggle; what I read did not fundamentally conflict with my existing value system.
The book describes how a doctor used ho'oponopono to help heal a ward of the mentally ill at a hospital in Hawaii. And amazingly enough it is asserted he did this without actually personally visiting with the patients and conducting in-patient psychotherapy. The basic idea put forth is that each of us are responsible for everything within our own personal world that we experience each day. At first blush this may seem ludicrous. Indeed, how can we be responsible for the crying children in public places, the homeless people on the streets, the terrible news we hear on the radio that may include events in countries we have never seen? It took me a while to puzzle it out. As I looked at my life, however, I began to firmly believe.
It is important to make a crucial distinction between responsibility and blame. Blame has a negative connotation and implies guilt. Blame locates causality completely outside the person doing the blaming. And yet when you take a step back and consider what is happening it is always true that when one has a problem with something what is ALWAYS true is that you are there having the experience of there being a problem. So you might not be to blame for the situation you find yourself in but you certainly share some responsibility because the situation is a part of your experience. How could you not share responsibility for solving the problem if it appears in YOUR life?
A certain ongoing saga in my own life erupted once again around the time I was reading this book. I decided to reflect on this saga and consider the possibility that this book had relevant wisdom to offer. The saga involved a car I had sold over two years ago to a gentleman I met while living on the West Coast. Through an unfortunate oversight the car was not properly registered under his name in the state where we both lived. Shortly thereafter the new owner relocated to the East Coast. In the intervening two years he accrued a number of parking violations; I would receive notices for these violations under my name despite the fact that I was not the legal owner. It infuriated me. And I could not track the man down. In April of this year I received yet another parking ticket notice. This was a follow up notice for a ticket from the City of Boston. It arrived at my home address around the time of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Using the book about ho'oponopono I took a step back and attempted to apply what I had learned. According to the teaching whatever it is in your life that is dysfunctional, unhealthy, etc is a reflection on some level of something within you that is dysfunctional, unhealthy, etc. In a sense the outside is a reflection of what is inside you. And so I thought about myself and the issues I have carried in my life. And then I thought about the challenges the man who had become the new owner had also been facing in the recent past. And as I compared them I saw a remarkable congruence. Both of our lives had been filled with an immense amount of chaos and instability. Both of us had been caught up in struggle for a very long time. Both of us had been suffering.
I even reflected on the bombing in Boston. I found it rather interesting that the notice of this ticket came from the city of Boston around the time of the bombing. Bombings, explosions and the like can, on one level, symbolize anger and aggression. And so then I asked myself: Is there anger within me that mirrors this external event? And I was quick to answer yes.
As I pondered this particular saga in my own life more and more I became firmly convinced in the wisdom contained in this book about ho'oponopono. Accepting the basic foundational teaching of this practice automatically leads one to see what is the solution to the problems in our daily, waking life. If you want to "fix" the problems in your exterior world you need to address the problems of your inner world that are actually the root cause of your suffering. In essence, if you want to heal the world you need to heal yourself. The macrocosm of the Universe is contained in the microcosm of your one body, mind and spirit. Heal yourself first and all else follows.
Since I received the diagnosis of PTSD last week I have again reflected on the wisdom contained within ho'oponopono. I have considered what keeps appearing in my exterior world and how it may be seen as a reflection of what is still not completely well within me. And yet again I see clearly the reflection. It now strikes me as no coincidence that there has long been a pattern in some of my most intimate relationships. I see how it makes sense that I would get involved in intimate relationships with other men who also likely have PTSD. Indeed one of the last attempts I made at any sort of serious relationship was with a man who is an Iraq war veteran. Given my understanding of the criteria of PTSD I am 99% sure he has a case of it. And why wouldn't he? Afterall, like attracts like. My internal state was simply being mirrored in the people I have effortlessly meet in the "outer world".
Clearly seeing this reflection just reaffirms my belief that the only way out is to go in. The only way to heal whatever is amiss in my external life is to address what is dark, conflicted, unbalanced and confused within me. Once I do that the outer reality will adjust to mirror the altered inner one.
I share these insights in the hope of helping myself move forward. I also share them as I believe they can be of benefit to many people. If you have problems that persist despite your best efforts try something new. Take a step back and look within yourself...for within you are the answers that may have been eluding you all the while.