That enlightenment -- it don't come easy
I prefer to deal with and socialize with the flawed amongst us -- those men or women who are marred by a bit of spiritual scar-tissue. It means they have suffered, but have hopefully learned, and have come out the other side with maybe some of wisdom. People who learned nothing from their direst mistakes have forsaken life's most splendid opportunities for growth.
Also, such people are rarely very interesting.The cliché holds that the most important lessons in life are the hardest ones. As clichés go, it's not a bad one. Significant deterrents can only be found in happenings that have had at least a smattering of emotional trauma connected with them. If the trauma hadn't been there, you'd have kept on doing the thing you were doing that put you in a bad spot in the first place. That’s no damn good. Pain can set you free if you regard it in a judicious way. Once something hurts too much, those who are blessed give it up and move on. Speaking of clichés, there is another one that says: The definition of insanity is to keep on doing something destructive in the belief that this time the outcome will be different. It never will be.
By a certain age most of us have been forced to deal with suchunnerving stuff as illness and death, injury, family calamity, marital strife and in some cases maybe even break-up, emotional crises and collapse, cruelty, abuse, abject loneliness, crime and at an extreme maybe even incarceration or institutionalization.
Yes, into each life a little shit must fall. It's an ugly and scary world out there, and what can go wrong sometimes does.Do you ever have those dreams where you are in a specific situation, maybeflying on a plane, and you think, my God, I hope this plane doesn't crash? The moment you think the unthinkable the dream-plane goes into a spin, which sends it plummeting to the ground four miles below. Unfortunately, sometimes that happens in real life. Our worst fears can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Screamin' Jay Hawkins has "put a spell on you." It's only coincidence, but it doesn't seem like it at the time.
Take the guy who professes to love his wife with all his heart, and who regularly ruminates on his greatest fear: that the light of his life and fire of his loins might someday leave him. How does he deal with such an anxiety? Why, by doing the opposite of what he should have done to keep her safe and happy with him. He boozes, he screws around, and he is abusive to her and the kids at every turn. One day she packs her bags and walks out the door, never to return. He's devastated. "How could she hit me with my worst fear?"
Easily. He set the process in motion. He unconsciously pushed the relationship to the limits just to see how far he could take it. To see how much she really loved him. And then he found that there were limits. She would only take so much. Leaving him to self-righteously exclaim: "Aha! I knew she couldn't be trusted -- the bitch!"
This sort of thing happens a lot in marriages and long-term relationships that aren’t based on trust and honesty. We've all pushed when weshould have opened our arms and embraced.The man who has learned nothing from such misfortunes then falls back on tried and true reactions of resentment, disappointment and anger, and like Miniver Cheevy in the E.A. Robinson poem, keeps on cursing and "(keeps) on drinking," or whatever he does that keeps the family lurching from crisis to crisis.
The seeker of enlightenment, on the other hand, is the guy who approaches such a situation with more honesty, and a genuine quest to understand whyhe did what he did, and to figure out how he can keep from doing it again.