[Written in 2004 or 2005.]
As we walk forward on the path toward full enlightenment, different parts of ourselves live at different stages of healing. Some parts can be amazingly healed and insightful, while others can remain buried and out of touch. Our different parts traverse the various stages at their own speeds, seemingly independently – but ultimately connected to our core of perfection by our universal thread of truth.
The most primitive stage on life’s healing journey is the contest. This is the stage of grandiosity, acceptance by the norm, dissociated happiness, and approval by the parents. The parts of us that are winning the contest stop our journey before it has even begun. Here we deny our deepest traumas so intensely that we fool even ourselves into believing they never happened – and that we are already healed. It is for this reason that dissociation mimics enlightenment. Here we idealize the parents, which allows us full unconscious liberty to replicate the worst of our past in our present. Here we do not look beneath our surface, and if fate goes our way, we will never have to. We remain happily distant from the misery lurking in our guts.
Yet where parts of us lose the contest we evolve into the second stage: suffering. This is the stage of depression, failure, misery, and inertia. Here we wallow in seemingly purposeless pain. The silver lining around our cloud of parental idealization has been stripped away, but the cloud remains intact. We still wish to be rescued by our parents and their replicated stand-ins, but we lack the requisite pain tolerance to be able to acknowledge the impossibility of this. Here we live in tortured ambivalence, and we spend out hours and days trying to get others to love us in the way our parents never could. Part of us wishes to devolve back into the seeming pleasure of grandiosity, but the healthier part recalls how cruelly that route already failed us.
Those parts of us with the capacity to face our terrors enter the third stage: grieving. This is the stage of purposeful struggling. Here we unearth the truth of our past, which allows the eruption of the stinking cesspool of our buried traumas. Here we witness the horror lurking behind idealization of the parents and we work to disassemble their lies. Our honest confidence leads us into the face of the hurricane, because our soul and its allies tell us that blue skies lie on the other side. Here we are humble, here we confront the truth of the worst of our parents, either in interaction with them or through whatever means will best help us integrate the truth, and through this our journey rages forward.
With each demon we conquer we take a further step into the fourth stage: enlightenment. This is the stage of emotional integration, psychic balance, and inner peace. Here lie the deepest goals of mankind. All want to know truth, and the enlightened person achieves it – in all parts of himself that arrive in the final stage. Here we grow able to distinguish light from shadow and water from mirage. Here we nurture the evolution of our primitive sides instead of expressing them destructively. Here we devote the best of ourselves to healing. Here we no longer traumatize others in the very patterns in which we were traumatized, but instead replicate the best of ourselves – and generate beauty in the world around us. Here, having healed our wounds, we share freely of our gifts, because now our gifts are accessible.