You are not the content of your thinking. You are so much more and you already know it!
It is 1981, I am 13 years old and things are beginning to change. Not just physically but mentally. It was the time I started to listen to and believe the voices I was hearing. It was not the first time I heard them, mind you, but the first time they had become real. They had gone from light hearted, meaningless and fleeting, in one ear out the other chatter, to darker, harder to shake and more believable. I had started to become what I thought. I had started to define myself as my thinking and slowly, over the years, I became it.
Feelings of uselessness came early. My father, a strict disciplinarian who ultimately loved me very much, was doing the best he could from his own experience. Growing up in foster care and having lost both of his parents during the second world war he lacked parental role models of his own. His way was to challenge, deride and criticize. He was right and you were wrong. His way was the only way and you best keep your mouth shut. Unfortunately his way was not my way. When he challenged me I heard. “You are useless.” When he criticized me I heard, “You are a failure.” When he derided me I heard, “You are stupid.” When I repeated his words in my mind, I heard” I am useless” “I am a failure”, “I am stupid.” Slowly over time this became my truth.
“Du bist dem Teufels Kind.” You are the devil’s child. Oh yeah and what the fuck does that make you? That one stung. I made sure I took that one in. I wanted to remember it, keep it close. Let it fuel my blame. Once again “you are” became “I am.”
So much anger, so much hatred, so much lack of love. My father was telling me that I was the son of the devil. Wow, what a trip. By now I was fully committed to accepting that what I thought was true. After all, it was my Father who was telling me these things. They must be true, right? How do you love when you never hear the words, how do you love when you are told you are the devil’s son, how do you love when you do not love yourself? You don’t because you can’t.
Needless to say the escapism and hope that drug and alcohol abuse offered came quickly and with an almost desperate fervour. What started as a hit off a joint in a school parking lot at 13 became a desperate attempt to escape reality and find some comfort away from the relentlessness of my thinking. Unfortunately there was no solace in escapism only a further anchoring of my own thinkings apparent desire to torture me. You see when I got high, or drunk my thinking did not stop. It accelerated, and as I spent more and more time trying to escape, sinking deeper and deeper into drug and alcohol abuse my thinking became even more real to me than ever before.
My inner dialogue had become one of desperation, depression, anxiety, and fear. Seemingly every thought I had began with “I am” and ended up with some version of, “useless”. The more I told myself what I was the harder it became to see anything beyond that. I had become the content of my thinking.
For the next three decades I continued to try to make sense of the thinking that kept me down, hopeless and broken. I did a lot of drugs and short of sticking a needle in my arm, did them all. Coupled with my drink of choice, which was Rye, it seemed the only way I could get free of the voices that tortured me was to drink and drug myself into unconsciousness. Which I did, with frightening ease and regularity. When I reflect back on these lost decades I am flabbergasted but appreciative of the resilience that despite the shit enabled me to attend university, raise two children as a single Dad, become a third degree black belt, run a martial arts school, teach english overseas, become a renovation carpenter and run a successful business. I suppose it goes to show that despite how much you see yourself as your thinking there is an energy in you that exists beyond and despite your thinking. Might that be what I was searching for? Might that be who we truly are? Might that be the untouchable and undamageable aspect of us we sometimes call Soul?
This is where the story turns. After all, it does have a happy ending. It is now Sept 9, 2015 and I am 47 years old and at the end of a two year cocaine addiction that cost me a relationship and almost a business.
How do we heal, how do we escape what we perceive as trauma? What is that life giving energy, how do we access it, what do we have to do to be free of our thoughts? What do we have to access to be happy and filled with love and joy? Truth is I do not know and anyone who claims to is selling you something. BUT, it is there, inside you inside all of us waiting patiently to be discovered. Of that I am certain!
What I know is that I was listening to an audio by a gentleman named Sydney Banks when everything changed. What I heard in my heart and soul was “Holy f*^$ you are making it up.” I laughed and cried as the knowledge that I had indeed made it all up swept over me and cleansed my soul. Somehow I knew at that moment that I was part of the energy of ALL life, that I am pure potential, whole, resilient and capable. I finally understood who I was.
My advice to my teen self is two fold. You are NOT the content of your thinking, and everything can change in an instant if you are willing to allow it to do so.