The older I grow, the more I come to realise I am actually like a puppet: I am at the mercy of my psyche and hormones. I am subject to their swings, especially at my monthly hormonal cycles. There are always grand plans and hopes – things I had thought I would do, the time I believed I could spend, the stuff I had hoped to make.
Yet I look back at all the time I had and so much of it was just spent in recovery mode. When an illness is mostly invisible everything seems unreal and I become my own gaslighter. Was I really unwell?
How much are we in control of our own decisions, and how much are we subject to our own primitive impulses? Reading a ton of Buddhist books I think the genius of the Buddha wasn’t in creating an entire religion but rather deeply understanding the psychology of human suffering and breaking down the seemingly attainable steps to liberate ourselves from it.
You would think that if someone could prove that meditation would solve most of our human problems we would all sit down to do it immediately. Just simply sit, breathe and observe your thoughts. But it turns out sitting still regularly and for long periods of time is one of the most difficult things to do for a human being.
Till date I can’t tell if the point of meditation is to liberate us from the primitive clutches of our minds so we can be less of a puppet, or to actually develop the capacity for equanimous acceptance that we will never fully escape from the puppet strings. I think it is perhaps a bit of a paradox – seeing and accepting that the puppet strings are there in the first place could possibly make more room for creative manoeuvres.
They say there must be hope in life. At times I cannot help but wonder if hope is a concept that is invented as a coping mechanism. I am skeptical of recovery for myself but I must live as though as there is hope, because how do I endure the rest of my life otherwise?
I continue to try to eat well, exercise moderately, and sit still for at least ten minutes a day – in hope that I can create more gaps and disconnect between what my broken psyche wants me to do versus what I intellectually hope to do. It feels like I am not making much progress, and I am like Sisyphus rolling a rock up a mountain except I am accumulating points towards a migraine attack. The pain lasts at least for three days and when the pain recedes I am utterly downcast and exhausted from enduring the pain. Days and sometimes weeks later I may feel as good as new, and I could almost believe that we must imagine Sisyphus to be happy. Till the next attack, when I start to think Camus is a joke.
The cycle goes on. I feel like I’m in an endless repeating loop. Yet sometimes I read past entries from my journal and I discover though I am still coping with pain and fatigue from the pain, I am a lot less emotionally tortured. Is that a glimpse of the freedom I am looking for? At the very least I am no longer a puppet of the many stories my mind likes to make up.
Maybe I can never escape all of my puppet strings but I could attempt to shake some loose? At the end even if the outcome is the same, there is a difference between living as though as there is hope versus living with resignation. Perhaps we can imagine the puppet to be happy.
One must imagine Sisyphus as unhappy too
disagreeing with the premise that Sisyphus must be happy0 responses