Posted by: Monkey | May 9, 2012

Vulnerably setting context

A couple of days ago I was sitting with an ‘Ajarn’ (which in Thai is a polite term for someone who is a teacher of any sort, even a life teacher) a friend of mine had introduced me to. He is an insightful man, one who pays really close attention to how his body feels while in the presence of the people around him and as such tunes into and gains insight about a person, and is direct about sharing those observations.
Something he said to me was along the lines of how I really enjoy giving to and bringing others up. As I turned this over in my head it dawned on me that the times I feel the most energy, the most joy, the most inspiration is when I am actively engaged in sharing insights with others in a way that may help, uplift or inspire them. It may also be when I am with another and sharing ideas contemplating the nature of the universe, ourselves, intimacy, the world or whatever. It is in these moments that I feel some sense of purpose in this world, it is in these moments when I find myself the most excited, the most in tune with myself and my surroundings… and yet there is a huge struggle within me around this, which I intend to share in this blog.

These thoughts relate back to this blog and my writings. I love pondering the complexities of myself and my place in the universe, I love observing the nature of relationships and intimacy and I feel real clarity, enjoyment and purpose when I engage these lines of inquiry.
The difficulty arises for me is that many times I feel I am a fake. By this I mean that sometimes I may discuss an insight, a thought or a practice with another or on here in my writings… and then my life will rearrange itself to show me exactly where I am NOT living that way in my own life. It is almost as if by sharing my insights I lose them, or at least that is how it feels sometimes.

For a while I have been working to contain myself, to be more judicious with what I share, who I share it with and when I share it. And I notice that within this attempt I feel a little out of control, as if I have lost a reflective anchor in the world. As if by having no canvas to paint my ideas upon I am losing a part of my creative drive and falling into a bleak world of isolation and loneliness. It seems I connect most through this attentiveness and this urge to be of value to others.
There is definitely a balance to be found here, one which I am watching, observing and experimenting with in the laboratory of mine own life. The balance between how long to hold and integrate an insight before sharing it with another… too soon and it loses all power (perhaps giving it to the recipient), too long and the potency or charge around it seems to dissipate and a window of opportunity closes.

I am floating this thought out here right now aware that right now it is looking nothing like what I had originally intended to type when I finally decided to sit down and begin this posting.

What I am trying to say is that in some way I want to share, I want to write these thoughts down and see where they may lead, who they may inspire or what they might bring about.


I choose to be vulnerably open and honest about what I am writing does not necessarily always reflect the way I live my life. This does not mean that I live my life contrary to my thoughts and ideals, more so it means that the thoughts and insights I write or speak about are ones that I am currently practicing in my own life, working to bring about into integrating into my way of being. And many times I will forget and fall deep into a dark, despairing hole that is all too painfully familiar to me. I am not always the living example of the things I speak about, and this causes some distress because for better and often worse I am generally very honest in my life and find it difficult to lie or to say something and not do it. Unfortunately the direction this has been taking for me lately has been to say less.
I have been depressed, somewhat manically, for as long as I can remember. There are times when these feelings of despair and hopelessness, and occasionally suicidal thoughts, completely disappear from my life for long periods of time and I rejoice and speak about how I managed to free myself from a life of depression… eventually in my life so far, these feelings have always returned like that old friend who has long ago worn out his welcome and you can’t quite find the heart to tell him he cannot come to stay anymore.
Oh there is always a teaching hidden within my voyages into the depths of emotional bleakness, there is some reason why I must drop into the darkest caverns of my heart and if I can hold my stability through this collapse that is much too much of a pattern, it may be that I can grasp this lesson within the tornado of discomfort as it dissipates down into strong winds and finally a gentle breeze returns. Sometimes I must wait for the entire period, and sometimes it can be as long as a few weeks, to completely pass… waiting each day for the day that I might wake up and feel ok again.

It is in these times that I feel the most phony. That I feel there is nothing I could possibly say that could be of any benefit to anyone else… because look at me, I am a miserable wretch who has difficulty even finding a moment of joy within a life that on paper seems amazing and free.
Oh yes, I acknowledge that I have created a very free life for myself, full of potential and opportunity and unfolding almost as if (and maybe I am) I was writing it myself…
And so it is in these times when emotional discomfort settles down upon me like that old, moldy security blanket I have been carrying around since childhood is the times in which I disappear. I retreat into self-imposed isolation refusing to write anything or speak to anyone for fear that I may betray my falsity, that when the world sees what a sham I am that it will scorn ever listening to me again. That the simple fact that I am suffering and at the same time attempting to talk about ways to live in joy or pathways through the pain of suffering will bring the brand of charlatan down upon my head.
Occasionally I might cry out to someone I trust who will not push me away in my extreme levels of vulnerability, who will let me cry without trying to change me… usually, however, I suffer silently and alone.

And yet I want to write these things down. I want to share in however way I can and I truly wish… at the depth of my core… to contribute to creating a better world. Even though I have darkness within, a shadow surely as large as whatever light I may shine. Often I sabotage my attempts to truly contribute and then feel guilty that I am not doing enough. I isolate myself and then cry that I am lonely.

So this is my context for my writings written down for all to see.

A struggling, at times despairing, imperfect human striving against the very things within himself that pull him down, to actually hopefully rise up and maybe contribute something of value to this world that is unfolding just fine without his input.


I know this post sounds dark, and it is intentional… to show the kinds of places that exist within me, to set the context of where I am coming from and why this work is so important to me.



  1. Sending you love Damien and appreciation for your openess. Hope to talk to you soon. X

  2. Oooops – didn’t mean to send that anonymously 🙂

  3. A lot of thanks for your own effort on this web site.
    My daughter really loves doing research and it is obvious why.

    Almost all hear all regarding the lively mode you offer precious steps
    via your blog and recommend participation from other people on that area
    and our own girl is truly understanding a lot of things.
    Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the
    year. You’re the one doing a great job.

  4. Do you think it is normal depression and mania or do you think you might be perpetually stuck in the “dark night” phase related to the progression of insight? I ask because I have read many accounts by people that have suffered from very intense and agonizing depression, often mixed with mania, that completely disappeared once they reached “first path”. And I have read many, many accounts of people experiencing such symptoms after crossing the stage called arising and passing away. The key in both cases has bent o keep going and keep going until first path.

  5. Hey Tim I am not sure what you are referencing when you speak about progression of insight, first path and arising.
    Would you be able to clarify where you are coming from with that?

    I think a huge part, if not all, of my ‘depression’ comes from actually deeply and intensely caring. Which is kind of cool really.
    Learning now to channel that into action.

  6. Hello…I just found your blog via an article of yours I read on Elephant. This entry hits me. Hard. Just about everything you’ve described feels like my journey for what has seemed like forever. I came to the conclusion this week that the sensitivity some of us feel so intrinsically is becoming more and more foreign in our current society. My heart cries to be in nature. I create art to fill the voids and walk many miles a day. I work a “normal” job doing something relatively benign but not in tune with my highest self. I also am an energy worker and try to be a humble student of life in all ways. Sometimes the road ahead feels so daunting and long. Breathing one more breath feels excruciating when I feel so surrounded by chaotic frequencies and apathy. I just want you to know you aren’t alone in these feelings. I admire your courage to keep diving deeper into the uncharted territories of your heart.

  7. Thanks for your comment… I hear you, and there is only two choices I see: die (whether literally or metaphorically into the mundane) or open and keep opening.
    I choose the latter, even when it hurts.

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