March 22

images-1Angst is the prime mover for most authors, poets and artists, it is the power keeping their creative juices flowing. I once asked a famous author whether he would like to free himself from his angst. He was frightened by the mere thought. His angst keeps him going, forces him to create ever new incredible texts. He is dependent of his painful angst as he believes that without it his creativity would come to an end and he would fall into an abyss of depression. That’s how he feels together with many other creative people.

For some reason I have always dreamt of facing my angst, of freeing this dark pain bothering me so deeply. Maybe because my pain has been so big and excruciating, the same pain that I have seen and felt so clearly in the mirror of my world, in all of my nearest and dearest. The whole of my world is spiked with this pain, both conscious but mostly unconscious. Pain is like a icy cold and stormy sea in which I have learned to swim since I was born to this world. That is why I have wanted to face this angst that we all suffer in.

I know that our world does not believe that it is possible to face and release the angst running the human soul. I also know that most of us deny the pain – There’s nothing wrong with me! I’m fine! – that keeps on imprisoning our mind behind the bars of angst. And still we keep on trying to run away from it, to cover it up or at least make it more bearable by getting addicted to all kinds of stuff and compulsive behavior. We become workaholics, poweraholics, alcoholics, drug, sex or internet addicts, smokers etc, just to ease the pain, which is so overpowering that we cannot even acknowledge its existence. All of this keeps the treadmill of our world turning and eventually churning my living body through the mills of death.

Still I have always trusted that my pain can be faced and that I can do it, because this world of mine is my own creation, arisen from a human mind. I as a human being need to be able to solve the mystery of my own world, it just cannot be bigger than who I am. This is what I know even though my world is set to keeping me in ignorance, in an illusion of lonely futility of being nothing but an unimportant cog in the great wheel of the society. I have not given up my knowing even though the waves of my angst have risen high towards the sky and fallen upon me as fiercely burning ice. I have continued with the study of my life and my pain, I have not been afraid of the times of utter painstaking darkness for I have known the holy message of fairy tales to be more real than this world of ours arduously wallowing in the denial of its pain. I have known my life to be a fairy tale in which the hero – and for sure I am the the hero of my life! – through dramatic twists of fate finally wins over himself and his pain, and crosses the invisible border drawn in the matter of his mind, the common lie that says that there is no way for a man or woman to face and to release his innermost pain.

When I have finally crossed that border consciously and in peace I now want to share my experience with you and with my world knowing that we all are struggling with and because of our denied angst, the very same I have fought with for such a long time. The whole of our world has been formed around the denial, concealment and alleviation of this pain. We are ready to do whatever to keep our own angst away from our conscious mind. We are all running away from the monstrous shadow of our inner emptiness, the fear that keeps telling us that we are nothing – just plain emptiness – without our personality formed to keep our pain at bay by an endless variety of creative forms of denial. We are all in one way or another addicted to the denial of our inner pain or our enormously creative ways of trying to cover up the black hole of our soul. That is why we have created our painful world and all the illusions maintaining it to keep our angst at bay. The whole of our world is created for the benefit of our pain, to make its denied reality finally tangible and visible all around us. That is why those of us who are most apt in keeping their pain hidden are the one who get to win and form our world. The deeper the pain is buried the more visible it becomes in the process of its denial. We finally get to live and feel our pain.

I felt all of this deeply in my soul after having read Dr. Gabor Maté’s book In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, which centers on his work and experiences as a doctor in the worst drug district of Vancouver, Canada. He gives a detailed and deeply emphatic description of both his clients utter dependence on the solace of drugs and of his own struggle with binge-shopping of classical CDs. He shows clearly and unequivocally how every kind of addictive behavior is always a coping mechanism and a way of self-medication used to keep away the enormous unconscious pain we all carry. We were all born with an inner trust and hope that we will be fully loved and cared by our parents or caregivers. In this our world of struggle and fear all of us were more or less disappointed; the love we all needed was occasional, rare or totally lacking, which hurt us deeply during the first tender years of our childhood when the emotional structures of our brain were formed. This is the pain we all are trying to escape by all kinds of addictive behaviors.

The reason behind all addictive behaviors is the same independent of the stuff or action we are addicted to. So this unconscious pain arising from the lack of loving interaction during our tender years can lead us to be addicted to drugs, sex, work, games, tobacco, winning, loosing, power, food or to anything else we do to escape our inner pain. We can even get addicted to pain itself, it being our familiar response in the face of recurring experiences of a similar nature. Our human personality in its fear of change is ready to even hang onto pain that it is already used to, to the chemistry of pain arising from the experience of thwarted love.

Dr. Gabor Maté shows clearly and simply how the whole of our society is built upon this basic experience of lack of love. The power-hungry world-leader and the drug-addict at lowest ladder of society are both desperately trying to run away from their own unacknowledged pain just as are we others in between them. All addiction arises from the same unfulfilled yearning to be loved.

All the physical needs of a child may be well taken care of; she may get to eat when hungry, to sleep when tired and to have her diapers changed when necessary, but she is still left with a feeling of not been seen, or loved, if the parent or caregiver is for her own reasons unable to be fully present for her child. Recent studies have shown that a child to a parent who is constantly occupied by her mobile phone experiences similar feeling of abandonment as a child of a deeply depressed parent.

Gabor Maté is an unusual expert as he dares to show his own personal troubles that are relevant to the issues discussed. He brings forth his own addictions and shows how he is in the same boat with his clients, also running away from his own inner pain even though outwardly his life as a respected expert and workaholic differs greatly from the misery of his clients. But the trauma of not being loved is always the same independent of the different coping mechanisms we use. We are all in the same boat.

Maté’s book describes the birth and development of different addictions simply and bravely. He shows how all warring against drugs is unnecessary and destructive, because it only hurts those whose lives are already totally messed up. War will never help us face these inner traumas of human mind. He also shows by referring to different studies how drugs as such do not cause dependence either in human beings or in rats. When rats who get to live ideal rat-life in laboratory are given drugs they just taste them and then get on with their lives. Only rats living in isolation in bare cages develop dependency on drugs when they are served. The same principle seems to apply to human beings; the more desolate their emotional landscape is the more likely they are to use drugs to cope with it. It does not seem to matter so much whether you are rich or poor, the pain of not feeling loved leads to addictive behavior independent of our social status. This is true even though we might forcefully maintain that we have no pains, we have never experienced any lack of love. Denial does not take away the fact.

In the Realms of the Hungry Ghosts describes intuitively and masterfully how the denied pain arising from early emotional traumas is running our world by keeping us running away from it. That is the major force keeping us and our world in a constant state of struggle, war and conflict. We are all running away from ourselves.

Through the long process of writing this book Dr. Gabor Maté hoped to resolve the traumatically addictive pain both his patients and he himself had suffered for so long. But in spite of his brave intelligence, his honesty and his long years of study Dr. Maté was not able to come to a definite conclusion or to create a working method for the release of the unconscious pain behind the addictive behaviors of both him and his patients. He was unable to bring his book to a healing catharsis, which had been his dream. Probably because of that my powerful reading experience led me to a very deep and strong feeling of pain. My own pain from beyond the threshold of consciousness was brought fore, the one that I have carried all through my life. I was left hanging in a nameless pain without any means of resolution that I knew of.

I tried out all my usual methods of tackling or relieving the pain; I drank coffee and red wine, I smoked my pipe and ate more than I needed. Not even heavy physical work was able to relieve my pain. I was stuck until one night I decided to face the pain, which was eating me up. I sat on a sofa and stayed with my nameless pain. I felt it fully without pointing fingers to anybody anywhere in time and place. I chose to meet the pain fully without trying to do anything about it. I knew that I did not know. I stayed put with my pain. I was one with it.

I was at the outer border of my world together with my pain, everything was possible, nothing was known. In that pure and simple moment from the depths of my mind arose a question: ”Who am I?”

I chose to let the question echo in my mind that was focused upon the experience of pain. I let the question echo without any expectations about an answer, without a goal. I asked several times silently and very consciously: ”Who am I?” I allowed the answer to be formed from within my mind.

The answer was a simple relief of joy, a sense and a definite knowledge that my pain has finally been faced and released. The universe within me had heard my question and received along with it my unconscious human pain, my individual expression of the feeling of separation that we all carry. In the bosom of the Universe my pain had been resolved and became wisdom and joy. Joy is the ultimate creative energy, the first mover that has been turned into pain by the many limiting choices we have made during eons of creation. Wisdom is the gift of pain, the new understanding arising from the resolution of pain, which is needed for the new rounds of creation waiting to be initiated through us.

This experience of profound freedom and joy reminded me of a text I had written already some years back. I had intuited that as the question ”Who am I?” uttered by the unlimited sea of potentiality once started the whole process of creation the same question can also lead to the fulfillment of a particular cycle of creation whether it is individual or shared by many. I understand that everything and everybody is ultimately born out of this sea of potentiality, sometimes also called God, and is thus seeking to bring its experience back to the source as wisdom, or material for new rounds of creation. When I find myself in a cul de sac, stuck with what I have created and unable to go any further I should be able to ask the primal question ”Who am I?” and thus reconnect myself with my true identity as a child of Oneness, as the beloved of the the whole.

That’s what I did. I asked the question knowing that I as a human being do not know, knowing that I need to turn humbly towards the black whole of my divine core, which I have learned to be so utterly afraid of. I have associated my inner core with death and darkness as I have been afraid of the vastness out of which I once arose. ”Who am I?” is a question that can bring us back to the divine Oneness, which once sent us out into itself to explore all the possible avenues of creation and all the possible answers to the primal question. My life in its totality is an answer eagerly awaiting to be brought back to God, back to where all once began and is about to begin again.

I had found a method for resolving the unconscious pain of a human being the residue of which was pure joy and wisdom. I had found a gift arising from the whole of my life’s work, a philosopher’s stone that could be applied by anybody willing to face his pain. I had experienced something utterly important, something that I needed to share with my world entrenched in addictive behaviors to keep away this unconscious pain that is considered to be unresolvable.

I also understood, that in order to able to share my method with you, I need to be able share the landscape of my mind out of which my own experience arises. I need to able to share the journey of my mind, which in an utter focus on my pain gave rise to the question: ”Who am I?” which then opened up the pain into joyful wisdom. Is not this what the whole of our world yearns for, release and freedom from the ancient fears and pains that we have allowed to rule us for such a long time? It is time to go back to the source, back with all the wisdom of our experiences so that a new fresh round of creation can begin both in my mind and in my world. Who am I, really?