Some say birth is the very thing that wounds each and every one of us.
Forced out in Natures good time from a space completely furnished for our comfort, our own private food source, a fluid cushion of floating bliss totally embracing us, we don’t even have to make an effort to breathe! That’s done for us by a worshipful host Mother glad to have us in her accommodating stomach. We are the ultimate welcome guest! Our world is us and we are the world, incorruptible and wholesome.
Until , again I say in Natures good time, we are expelled, belched out , forced through a rigorously small tunnel, into a brightly lit world completely unconcerned with our pleasure! Each of us is rudely dethroned from the only kingdom we’d known.
And of course, we feel it all as an overwhelming injury: our original hurt, the boo-boo that shapes us for decades to come. Birth.
Couple that with the notion of Original Sin, which is not that we are separate from God but that we THINK we are separate, and, to put it mildly, our goose is cooked! Though we may indeed be perfect, we are immediately convinced that we are not, and it truly hurts.
Some say these are the circumstances that shape all humans.
Then there’s that first time Momma doesn’t pick us up when we need her to, and, ouch, another scratch on on our tender skin. Our patina ,like the scratches on good silver, has begun to define our value. At least to ourselves.
Life continues on in its abrasive way and soon it can begin to feel like one large indefinable injury.
The first lover who rejects us, that first job we wanted but didn’t get, the death of a worshipped puppy, the noises of a heartless city, the taxi someone grabs just as our hand is about to reach the door handle! Wounds. Not original but cumulative, for sure. And soon , like the pure pleasure dome that originally cradled us, it all feels like one mass of experience. And we wonder: can we bear it?
Of course we can.
Because the pain, the hurt, sharpens our tongue for the taste of relief, the release of inevitable pleasures, too numerous to list. And that is Life.
As I age, it finally dawns on me: the trick is to develop the skill to hold the injuries in one hand while balancing it out with being able to hold the pleasures in the other hand….to embrace it all, knowing that neither the pain nor the pleasure will ever really go away. Some say even after we die, pains and pleasures persist.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet spoke of this awesome possibility, as did playwright Arthur Miller in After The Fall when he has a character say: “one must finally take one’s life in one’s arms”.
Amen to that.
Amen to that.