The Dissolving “I”

It’s amazing the revelations that one can get in the bathroom.

I wanted to jot this down before I get bogged down in work for the evening. Today, I forced myself to rest, which amounted to trying to treat this crick in my neck, writing an email to a friend, and gorging on Bravo TV shows.

In woo woo land, most recently I’ve been reading/listening to spiritual teacher Matt Kahn, and he recently posted something on his Facebook page that had me thinking. It’s nothing new to me, although a lot of this stuff in this post has some spiritual jargon that even I’m not used to yet. Here are the two things from this post that stuck out to me:

During this crucial stage of awakening, the competing, defending, argumentative, manipulative, seeking, and struggling “I” dissolves out of experience.

and

As the need or tendency to compete, complain, worry, argue, negotiate, seek, judge, deny, and defend are unraveled out of your energy field, a new sense of self emerges; one that is rooted in cooperation, unity, peace, love, gratitude, abundance, radiance, health, joy, and inspiration, which are the natural characteristics of a soul in form.

Matt goes on and on (and on) about other things, but this dissolving is un-Western–and I love it! Well, I love the idea of it. It’s excruciating. As I face yet another move, having two jobs that I’m not immediately acing and doing well, and feeling trapped by my poverty, lately I haven’t had time to even think about what this is all for–cosmically, universally, spiritually, The Big Picture. It’s probably a good thing because we humans always have to come up with some fucking reason why things are happening. Sometimes, things happen because we made bad choices. Sometimes, things happen because other people made bad choices. And sometimes, things just happen.

So while I was taking a piss, it occurred to me that maybe, the big picture right now is about love. How vague can I be? Let’s drill down deeper with that.

I was telling a friend that I haven’t felt like such a failure in my entire life.  I can barely support myself financially. My composition class students are doing terribly–I’m barely doing that great as a teacher myself. My other job as a part-time tech writer has a very steep learning curve. I have to move again. I lost my car.

There’s another one of those woo woo sayings that really gets on my nerves: things are happening to you, they are happening  for you. I still think that’s some white privileged bullshit, but, at the same time, like many things in life, it’s both/and.

Things are happening to me

It’s almost like I can observe people, places, and things just imploding and exploding all around me. It’s surreal and hyperreal. Unbelievable. What really scares me is if all of those circumstantial things continues. As I’ve probably said before, I’ve never been more spiritual than right now, and my life circumstances have never been harder.

Things are happening for me

So much of my identity has been wrapped up in being good: avoiding getting yelled at by my parents, which, in turn, is about not getting yelled at by my bosses, my landlords, my anyone in some sort of authority over me. There’s been a lot of yelling in my life, but also just a lot of failure. I’m not great at teaching, I’m not great at writing, I’m not great at relationships. My life is just smoldering ash being carried by the wind *places back of hand on my forehead wearily*

Despite my utter lack of adultiness, I deserve love, compassion, and support anyway. Despite. Because. Especially.

Even though my career life has been lacking–yes, even in light of a hard-fought MFA degree–I felt like I was doing alright until I actually started grad school. My “I” has been bludgeoned by hatred, jealousy, racism, sexism, poverty, loneliness, betrayal, fear, homelessness…so many things. I’m not really sure what’s left, or if, as Matt says, a new self is emerging.

What did emerge in my bathroom was that whomever is emerging, all these horrible circumstances have stripped me of my need to be good and great. I suck at pretty much everything right now, but even still–I deserve compassion. Even when the landlady that I live with is duplicitous–in my mind, I don’t think she deserves love i.e. the reason why I have to move in the first place: her girlfriend is moving in officially a week after I leave. But *gulp* even she–even she–deserves love and compassion, even though, in my eyes, she sucks as a human being.

Maybe even saying that is a bridge too far, but if I feel that way about her, then I will feel that way about myself–love gained by performance. As a gifted child, academic things came easily to me, and my identity was built around the praise of my teachers. Now that I’m a professor and not really that great at it, it’s tough to keep going knowing that I suck. Even more so, sometimes it’s hard to keep going at life knowing that I suck at it, that I’m not hitting the standards of success that I have for myself.

For some reason, even as I dissolve in my suckitude, it helps to know that the pain that I feel, besides the harsh discomfort of being alone and being poor, is that old me dissolving. The pain is a sign that I’m getting closer to the me that deserves love. Even further, Matt would say that I can love the one who is in pain, love the one who is sucking so hard at being the me that I want and need to be.

So maybe, I can thank all the people who were complete asshats to me, especially in Florida–who *gulp* also deserve love and compassion–because they all are bringing me closer to the person who does not have to be good and great to receive and deserve love.

Maybe.

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