I've been going through a bad "mid-life crisis". I was thinking of starting a topic on this, but instead, held off, sharing with a few people.
When I was searching online in terms of the Jungian concept of the "anima", I found on this page:
"It [the third step in midlife "transformation" toward individuation] is a falling out of believing that we can be masters of the universe and a beginning of understanding what it means to 'do life on life’s terms'"
This eventually led to a search of "doing life on life's terms", in which I found that the term derived from the 12-step recovery movement. This led me to among other sites:
I took note of the term "expectations", then something clicked. Expectations are what lead to pain, when they are not met. And I had been complaining about others' expectations of me, and how for most of my life, I would either feel pressured to meet them, or have to suffer "consequences" for not meeting them, yet the ultimate injustice of life seemed to be that I was always being told to "let go" of all my own unmet expectations. That made me feel like I did not have the "worth" others had, yet the whole problem in stuff like this is supposed to be lack of self-worth in the first place. It seemed like a vicious cycle.For me learning to accept life on life's terms meant I could no longer get mad, get a bottle or a bag and disappear from the scene. It meant learning that the world did not revolve around me. It also meant that I had to learn about my senses of expectations and disappointments and accept the results.
So now yesterday, doing a search on "Expectations are the cause of all our pain", I get these sites, which seem to explain a lot of things:
[Again, my whole problem is how hard people were on me with their expectations, and then how cold they were with mine!]So, what is an expectation? It is predicting the future behaviour of a person or a situation. Since this is hypothetical and within our mind, it is seldom met, because other persons and situations are behaving at their own pace.
The whole world will continuously keep expecting things from you, no doubt. This is a never-ending process. What can be ended right now is your expectations from them, because they are giving you pain. Note that even wanting the world to not expect anything from you is an E-X-P-E-C-T-A-T-I-O-N
"I do find that most of my emotional pain has more to do with my expectations of others...than with the actions themselves. When those expectations are violated, this is a cause of emotional pain."
"Expectations are merely our way of trying to redecorate God's world. Trust that his design is far more magnificent than ours."
Pain results as a conflict between the way things are and the way we wish them to be. In this conflict, there is pain.I had been discussing in a Facebook spirituality group their concept of "love" as "its own reward" (all the biblical imagery of "Heaven" is supposed to be symbolic of this, rather than literal as most Christians assume), and this seemed to clarify two things one person was saying that I wasn't quite understanding:Can we be in a state of total attention, neither avoiding nor fighting the pain? Can we be in a stillness, watching the pain with complete attention and observation? We restrain ourselves from fleeing, we also restrain ourselves from reacting and fighting the pain. As the pain takes hold, we allow ourselves to feel it completely. We surrender to that pain. In surrendering to the pain, we allow it to come without resistance and struggle.
And that we are supposed to let ourselves feel it.The condition that causes the radiance of love to appear as pain and discomfort to us is where we have points of resistance within our emotional body. These points of resistance are unintegrated energetic patterns related to past experiences. The resistance to feeling these past wounds, distorts love into a world of pain...
I guess if you just take "the way things are" [that cause pain] as the laws of the universe God (who is love) created "good", then I could see how this could be "the radiance of love" that appears to us as pain.
This, from our "knowledge of good and evil". According to this group, "the Fall" was simply a perception of man's "consciousness" that things were evil, and the Bible text actually supports this. They had been "naked and unashamed", and the only thing that changed after eating of the tree was their perception. God even asked them "who told you you were naked?"
What they had taken on was, just as it says, "knowledge" of good and evil, yet they were not equipped to handle it, so the sense of evil fell onto themselves, and they had to compensate by projecting blame at others, and then eventually, building themselves up as "good" through achievements (including religion) and power. The "shadow" was hence born!
So in this view, I imagine roses always had thorns, but it was our experience of them as "painful" that fulfilled the curse of Gen. 3:16-19? But the thorns were still in themselves created "good", and it is only man who began seeing them as evil, because they were inconvenient to us, and we had this need to master creation (which was instilled by God, but became corrupted with "good and evil" knowledge, so that we then were tying to fill a sense of fear and deficiency in ourselves).
Problem for me, is, these sites (at least two of them seeming more Eastern in philosophy), are describing "life the way it is" as the highest reality, and the way life is is basically a "jungle" where "the strongest survive". They're teaching us how to handle expectations not being met, but when a person simply has more POWER, he can have more of these expectations met, at others' expense. He might not be "happy", we say, but it's not about "happiness", it's about survival (from our natural instincts).
Even outside the terrestrial world of life, bigger planets, stars or galaxies will destroy smaller ones.
This is what I have long been struggling with, in my own faith, ever since I turned to Christianity at 20!
I have been having trouble seeing a PERSONAL God in all of this. It just reminds me of my non-theistic (and STJ) parents thundering "That's life!"
I guess, when you have a "personal" God, that is what raises the expectations that "He" will empathize with us, and SHOW it by correcting these problems, not leave things the way they are, seemingly by random chance. It seems that's what Jesus did when on earth (actually healing people, not infirmity), and became the pattern for us. But now, He's just left it to run on this totally different set of principles (including, according to many people, just changing our attitudes toward pain).
So then, if an impersonal set of circumstances in the universe ("the way it is", they keep telling us not to oppose) is the highest authority, then this would raise the question of why we should "love", then? (Which this group, as many other religions and philosophies, holds as the highest purpose in life). Isn't that going against the "good" universe "as it is"?