Freedom from One's Self

Posted by Venerable High Pope Swanage I, Cogent Animal of Our Lady of Discord 21 September 2007 at 01:02PM

I feel it is all to often in the wending ways of life that we find ourselves weighed down by the emotional attachments we have wrought with others. When they work to our own demise, it can be very difficult to shed these chains.

The important thing to remember about changes like these, is that life does go on.

I've lost many friends over the years and so the act is not foreign to me, but save one I would say that they were largely not by my own initiation. Most of them were people whom were friends in childhood and slowly grew not to be as we approached adulthood. I think that in retrospect, I was probably an intolerable jerk. In fact I know I was, and so I cannot hold them to blame.

The one in question was quite a different matter, however, as he was my best friend all through my years at R.P.I., and my roommate for the last two. In those last two years, he inflicted enough emotional distress on me that, on the day we graduated, I informed him we'd not be speaking again. To this day I have kept my word, and we have not.

This was not long after I had started to explore the art of Zen. Some days I wonder if my decision was influenced by my desire to explore the Way. "If I could cut out this person from my life, surely I could cut out anything!" is a thought that did run through my mind. I am certain that it was not an overreaction nor unjustified, but I do not know that it would have occurred without my desire to experiment.

In ending this friendship, I thought myself free. I'd never have to worry about having my words twisted and spit back to others with their meaning perverted or outright reversed. I'd never have to worry about emotional bullying. I'd never have to be driven to fits of rage that would cause me to contemplate violence against others. This was all healthy, but I was still not free. Every time he would contact me and I would ignore him, I would take glee in it, it would refuel my fires of indignant rage.

It was not until some great time later that I realized that I was still a slave. I had shed the positive emotional bonds, but I still carried the weight of the negative ones. And I slowly began to shed them as well.

Should he ever try to contact me again, I needn't ignore him anymore. In fact I may, some day Goddess willing, be seized by the desire to speak with him, and I feel no need to reject this anymore. I shall not trust him again, ever, but I don't need to carry any chains for him either, regardless what they are made of.