Changing patterns and behaviors isn’t as easy as it appears to be on the outside. There’s a lot more that goes into changing deeply-held beliefs and behaviors than simply engaging in a bit of psychic warfare on the self, it involves confronting the deepest of deep-seated problems that lie within the darkest parts of the Self. Approaching that while remaining stoic and steadfast to the cause of self-improvement has been a constant challenge to me, and it hasn’t always been successful. I have snapped a lot this week, I have made an ass of myself in front of others, and I’ve also been disrespectful of other peoples’ time and emotions which at its core violates one of the principles I’ve strived to embody. That principle, being that every person is a unique individual with their own battles to fight and their own goals to attain, is present in almost everything that I do. I suppose that makes me a bit more distant than other people, but much like the wild dog or wolf keeping its distance from the light of the fires until it is sure that no harm will come to it, I have been doing my best to keep my distance from people until I am sure of their intentions or until I am sure of what the situation really looks like.
Lately, I’ve spent a fair amount of time and energy trying to distance myself from emotional vampires and from the behaviors that have occasionally made me one of them. By trying to keep in mind that every single person has their own goals and their own senses of morality, their own battles, and their own destinies, I’ve found that it has been easier to connect on a deep and basic level, where all sense of pretense drops-away and the real individuals can shine out and away from the covers of the ego and the baggage that keeps us bound in-place. By being simultaneously weightless through divorcing oneself from the emotional baggage and “intense” through complete focus on the real experiences and the real people that inhabit those experiences, all of the associated fakery melts-away under the intense scrutiny of this method of thinking. I have found that I have had the most intense and meaningful experiences with people in the last month simply by embodying a Zen-like focus on the here-and-now and by avoiding situations where I am either forced or expected to behave from a place of ego and selfishness.
In this space, I have also spent far more time on the meaningful tasks to better myself and the activities that have given me the ability to be happy at a more basic level during times of intense physical and emotional stress. I have been working relentlessly to shed myself of the emotional and egotistical baggage that has plagued me for more than half my life, and working through those requires that I also submit myself to my own scrutiny. “Exposing myself to myself”, to quote Henry Rollins’ work “Exhaustion”. Through it all so far, there has been a fair amount of loss, but it seems to me that the loss is outweighed by the gains I have made in personal growth and strength. While true that I walked away from a relationship to which a deep level of commitment had been issued, what’s more true is that our expectations of the relationship didn’t exactly match-up. Admittedly, I held (and still hold) a much different relationship ideal than most people, and since a large portion of that involves a truly legendary commitment to minimalism, utilitarianism, and adventure of every kind, it’s been difficult for me to meet and maintain relationships with people who are by-nature on entirely different arcs than my own.
I suppose the kernel of wisdom or the “lesson” to be brought out of these experiences is that no matter what, trust in yourself but have someone you can check-in with and keep yourself in a semi-grounded state. Don’t confide in people that don’t mean the absolute world to you, because you never know what they will do with that piece of your heart and soul. And most of all, realize that we are all waging our own separate internal psychic wars, and they’re usually just against ourselves. We should expect better of ourselves and each other, the only thing that stratifies the mass from itself is who is honestly working to better themselves?