I heard something beautiful at a meeting this morning:
“I had the type of wounds that no human power could cleanse or mend.” – anonymous
Wisdom emanates from the space occupied by a bunch of sober people. The words from another human being’s experience act like a broom coming through my soul: they move the dust that has settled, stir up debris and air and light, cleanse the space and make way for the particles of my reconfigured understanding to touch down and embed themselves in my consciousness.
I have spent many hours in therapy as a patient. I have read countless academic books and scholarly journal articles on aspects of the human psyche and human experience. I have a special shelf in my bedroom dedicated to the self-help books I wouldn’t dare display in the more public areas of my home. I have tried really hard to figure myself out – to get me. I have wrestled with my “issues” with the tenacity of a five-year-old who repeats, “but WHY?” ad nauseam.
I understand on a cerebral level that I am predisposed to anxiety/depression/alcoholism based on my genetic makeup. I understand that events in my life – traumas along the way that I won’t delve into today – changed my hard-wiring and increased my susceptibility to these conditions. I know all about neurotransmitters and stress hormones. I know a lot about addiction as a disease. I know that how I think impacts my mood and behaviors on a daily basis. I know that exercise and a better diet and improved sleep will do wonders for my ailments.
Knowing what is wrong with me and knowing, intellectually, what to do about it are very different than experiencing an actual transformation that brings peace and serenity. Do not get me wrong here, medical treatments for depression and anxiety are lifesaving and without therapy I would not be where I am today, but some parts of myself only respond to a spiritual solution. With regard to my alcoholism, only a spiritual solution works. And, in my specific case, when I am working a program of recovery, the depression and anxiety seem to leave.
I am coming to a place where I do not feel the pressure to “fix” myself as though the core of me is damaged. A sense of acceptance, surrender, presence has given me glimmers of how to transcend my “issues” and experience peace that defies self-knowledge or human explanation. Knowing myself better can only bring me so far and often creates more problems. Forgetting myself and being present in the NOW allows me to experience a type of healing that I cannot read about in a book or have imparted onto me by another human. Some conditions reside not in the mind or body, but in the soul. Science cannot mend what it does not acknowledge or comprehend.