It is difficult for me to love myself, and accept my imperfections. A life-long struggle, this has been. Why? Because I look around me, and I see others, achieving what I cannot, and finding greater happiness than I can. Supposedly.
Although, the glue which fastens the bricks of my wall of self-hatred… that wall which separates me from the world… that glue is becoming brittle. It is crumbling. I am learning to love myself more. But as I do this, and as I forgive myself for my own imperfections, I become sad.
Because… I am starting to realize that the people around me are not perfect either. And that makes me sad.
See… all those people I went to college with, all those exceptional musicians who won this or that international competition, or won such and such principal chair in whatever symphony in Europe, and so forth… all those famous people on TV who have comfortable lives and every luxury known to man… they are all imperfect too, just like me.
It makes me sad, because it seems that my imperfections can blind me at times. In that, I focus on my imperfections, and I fail to see the beauty around me. Or… the beauty in myself too. Perhaps I’m warped. I’d rather see those around me as perfect, than see myself as perfect.
I should note, there are different ways to define the word “perfection.” Here are a couple of them:
#1: perfection: the desire to do everything correctly. The desire to finish everything you start. The desire to be better than others. The desire to have no problems. The desire to understand everything and everyone around you. The desire to be accomplished and wealthy.
#2: perfection: The ability to see the perfection in everything around you.
A lot of people call #2 “mindfulness.” But I hate this term. Why? Because it’s incredibly vague. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of ways to meditate, or be mindful. There are gurus upon gurus and self-help books galore, not to mention all those time-tested religions. Many people, in our New-Agey, touchy-feely all-inclusive society claim that all roads lead to Rome. That all religions lead to the same thing… whatever that is. Heaven. Nirvana. Enlightenment. Whatever.
But… over the years, I have tried different faiths and paths. And I learned, through ways of experience, that this is NOT true. Religions aren’t all “the same thing.” I mean… really.
If you think about it, different spiritual rituals will do different things to the mind. It’s like cooking a recipe. If you put eggs and a bit of oil into a pan, you get scrambled eggs. If you put in thin-sliced veggies, sesame oil and some chunks of beef, you’ll have… whatever that is. You could be vague and say that both recipes yield the same result: “food.” But this is absurd. Adding different ingredients to the pan will yield completely different results.
So it is too with spirituality. Meditation especially. People figure that, as long as you are sitting in lotus position with an open mind, you’re plugging into the Universe, Avatar style.
But… in my experience, this just ain’t true.
One time, about ten years ago, I did a meditation practice that had a guru in India. Morning and evening, I meditated by using visualizations indicated by the guru. A couple of years earlier, I learned a style of meditation where I would gently pay attention to my senses, feeling the weight of my clothes against my skin, listening to ambient sounds, and so forth. The end result of both practices may be mindfulness, or wisdom, but to say that both would yield the same sort of wisdom… that is reaching too far, my friend.
We need to wake up and stop sniffing the kumbaya Kool-Aid, or whatever. It’s frying our brains. Just like stir-fry. (That’s what it’s called!)
For those who swear by mindfulness practices as a way of managing mental illness… I’ve got a sad response for you:
The only way I have ever been able to achieve mental clarity and focus can be summarized in one word:
That’s right. An evil, little pill. (Well, 5 of them actually, due to my dosage.)
You see… for years, I tried to get all of my unwanted thoughts out of my head. You know, watching them float by, “wise mind,” being calmly objective, etc. Didn’t work. Whenever I would attempt to put my mind into this state, I’d start to feel pressures in my head. And then the thoughts would get even MORE intense. My efforts of “gently pushing the thoughts aside” never worked. The thoughts in my head had a mind of their own. After about 1.5 years worth of diligent meditating, I was rewarded with schizophrenia and terrible pressures in my head. It felt as if someone were squeezing my skull on all sides of it.
These pressures lasted for years. And the thoughts were still there, all the while, getting louder and louder. Not audibly… but… more persistent.
That is, until Clozapine.
Clozapine shut those thoughts up. Clozapine made those thoughts go away. Now… FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE… I know what peace is. I know what silence is. And it is glorious.
We overestimate the concept of Enlightenment. For me, I really think I’ve achieved it. All due to a little pill.
And I must tell you… it is as glorious as the Buddha says it is 🙂
How can I boast such a claim? Because I’m happy. Not in a fake way. I really am happy. I walk outside, and I marvel at how beautiful the trees are, leaves gently blowing in the wind. I hear the birds chirping their spontaneous song, and it is more compelling than Top 40. The sun, gently glowing behind the clouds… allowing its light to shine into my eyes and upon my face… warms me more than any compliment can. Experiencing nature, in all its glory, confirms to me that Clozapine is, in fact, a pill of Enlightenment.
For me, at least.
You see, others have literally died from Clozapine. It can compromise white blood cell count. I have to take a blood test every 4 weeks to make sure my levels are good. It used to be every single week. It is seriously the last resort for those with psychosis, because it is considered a drug with high risk.
Nevertheless, we, who bemoan psychiatric medications as part of the evil, conspiratorial, societal, governmental machine… tools to control our brains and make us into zombies… we really can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Psychiatric medications DO help some people. Me included. Without my meds, I would be living in an institution for the rest of my life.
Every evening, I take my dose of Clozapine. It has given me mental clarity. Now, I can finally love myself. I can finally appreciate myself, and accept my flaws. I can do all those kumbaya mindful exercises now, without feeling pressures in my head. Without getting “psychic revelations” that the world is ending, or that I’m the Antichrist.
I’m thankful. Thankful that I am finally living the life I have always wanted. A life of mental freedom.