Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pleasure, Pain, and Peace

How are we to know when we are saints and when we are sinners in the lives of others? Is there any way other than to take the "temperature" of our interactions and ascertain whether our presence brings pain or peace?

I used to think that I was put on earth to bring people pleasure. I worked very hard at this, even becoming a caterer; thereby turning my natural tendency into a way to support my family. Then I became a publicist, raising funds for non-profit organizations by combining glowing words with party planning to promote various charitable causes.

I used these same devices to develop relationships, always attempting to soothe savage souls by conquering them with kindness and catering to their desires. I have come to realize that sometimes pleasure is the antithesis of peace. I have been an enabler, and I now have to deal with the monsters of my own making.

When we take off our old skins, we must accept that many will attempt to lay them back on our shoulders. Because they had learned to live with us in our old selves, our new skins cause many to itch. The pain of purging our souls can be scary, so we need hands to hold and people to protect us while we grow out of our old skins and into the new. How tightly we have to hold onto the new skins, and to those who support our growth, until the new become permanent parts of us!

When we are so busy filling ourselves and each other with pleasure and avoidance of pain, there's no room for The Light to grow. I cling to the belief that even the darkest night of the soul contains at least a flicker of The Light. When we open enough space in our souls, this Light will grow to fill the empty spaces. But how do we deal with the demons that dive into the void? We can't help fight each others personal demons unless we are invited in.

Sometimes it seems that the only way to honor a person or a relationship is to walk away and wait. If my very presence is a cause of anger and agitation to someone's soul, is it not better that I take my leave rather than to continue bringing about discord? Or, is the discord necessary to get to a better place, a place that may have less pleasure, but more peace?

1 comment:

  1. One of the things which has formed me or informed me has been learning to confront. I never liked confrontation because I wanted to bring peace "at any cost" into any and every situation. But if you truly care about someone you cannot sit silently by while they take a path toward self-injury. Very few people care enough to speak up when you are saying things that they disagree with. In my opinion, you must speak up - but respect the decision made by your friend after your attempt at intervention. Each individual has been given a "will" and is free to exercise it. That's when we simply hold the hand of the pained, standing by quietly until such time as we are called upon by the particular individual who suffers. WE can only help others who WANT and ASK FOR our help.