I felt time slip away as if nothing else had ever been. Long had this life owned me, the prevailing thought that pain was essential if for nothing else than the feeling that life itself existed. I had been beaten and prodded into such knowledge, the stinging hand and utensil of those who were assigned to teach me things like “love” and “life” crashed down on my body and mind like raindrops in a summer storm. They had been my teachers, they had been my mentors, they had been my Hell.
I remember when there were times I searched for the bravado to end my life. The anger and pain welled in me like a violent storm and manifested itself in such horror that I today stand a testament to extremes. I felt so alone as to know no one, and felt banished to a life of awkward desire in a moment mine to share alone. I could not feel close to anyone, I could feel their disappointment in me even before they could feel it. I knew that they hated me even before they did. I knew my life was over even before I closed my eyes for the final time.
There are many such moments of anguish that I can point to in my young life. I can attest to the bruises my parents either caused or allowed to be caused in the name of such love. I would long remember the words “I do this because I love you” as the pain rained down on me. I wondered if the belt loved me too, or the pot, or the stick, or the switch. I wondered in the deepest parts of me whether the love would ever stop, and toyed with ways to see it end. I lived homeless for a time to escape my tormentors. I lived beneath it all in order to not be beneath it all.
Such stories may remain for another time when they matter. Believe it or not, this story is not so much about the pain as it is the rise from it. It is about the perspective such experiences provided. It was about the knowledge born from such torment to know certain bliss. In a world of relatives I would be a testament to each side, failure and success, torment to freedom, fear to love. Perhaps, as I realize this very moment, I am the gift I give to the world. It is an understanding that has taken over 42 years for me to realize.
Autumn did come to this weary life. The first moment I felt time slip away from me was when my first daughter was born. That moment was fleeting yet frozen in time, a paradox unlike the feeling I had while in that moment. Such love had never crested from my heart before, such warmth had never touched my soul, such beauty never had my eyes beholden. I was lucky, I was able to experience that feeling again, the second time when I met my second wife, the third when my second daughter was born, and the fourth when my son was born. Those brief but everlasting moments of pure bliss, what I call “my touch with Nirvana” gave me an insight into a world I never thought existed. Yet, because of the pain I had known on so many levels, that insight would drive me into wanting to know and experience those moments of Nirvana over and over again and at will. Such is my journey at this moment.
When my first daughter was born, I cannot describe that feeling even as I remember it this moment. Indescribable is the only word to use. That feeling ended my first marriage to a rather obnoxious woman who was nearly me in female form. She hadn’t known my pain, but she knew my toughness from it. I married her out of trust and a mutual admiration, but we shared little in our true natures as time would bear. Our paths began to part at that moment; a moment when I realized Bliss for the very first time, and a moment when she would laugh at me for the description. I see the birth of my first daughter as my rebirth, it allowed me a new perspective of healing and love that allowed such growth to continue to this day. As I relate it now, it was the golden outer skin of my onion beginning to peel away.
When the woman who would now be my wife met me, I was a mess even as I believed I was in control. I still feared love, despite the 7 years that had passed since my first moment of Nirvana probably more than I feared that pain of fear itself. Today, the idea of “fearing love” seems outlandish to me, but I lived such fear! The first time I saw my wife I felt something, but since she is the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on I gave up that moment to Aphrodite rather that to Cupid. Still, it took me months to get a date with her, and when I did I “knew I was in trouble”. Gone were the promises of bachelorhood forever. Gone were the whimsical understanding of solitude when it suited me. Gone were my impressions of love and the fortress I had built to protect myself from it.
What I had built was a “fortress of solitude”. So, while she saw walls built of the toughest stone, it was only I who had created that illusion. Those walls that kept her at bay were nothing more than fragile glass, easy to shatter but impossible to climb. Climb hard as she might, there was no getting to me in that way. No, I had created my own glass menagerie that contained those fierce animals that were me as a matter of survival, created to inflict pain before it was inflicted on me, to lie before I was lied to, to test before I was tested. It was not until she shared in my pain that her cries would shatter the illusion and allow me to hear the call of Love. The real understanding began not when those walls came crashing down, but rather when I forced the tools of demolition on her. She accepted them, took ownership of them, and used them as often as necessary to allow the light to be. She became my conduit for it all – the “good”, the “bad”, and the painful. Why she chose to bear the burden of such a cause I will never figure out, but such is the angel that picked me up, dusted me off, and healed me until this time came to be. The animals still exist, but they do not define my moments or own my actions. Rather, they serve as reminders to what was and what could be again.
We all need our angels, and mine came in the form of a 5’8″ beauty with a heart of gold and a soul as pure as any I had ever met. She gave me two more gifts, a daughter and a son. Ah, those moments of pure bliss that come with the birth of your child! And in the time that stretched between then and now there have been similar moments; the first steps, the first words, the first time they look at you as if you are something to them, the first moments when they act like they understand themselves. The creation never ends, it abounds in every moment of every day for every soul. You begin to see that no one moment is more special than the other, they are all equally special in the creation of them. Such are the numerous moments of Nirvana born of the first.
Forgiveness of my parents came for me not as some painstaking process, but rather as the realization that I owed them something for the beauty they showed in the Hell they created for me. Slowly, I began to forgive myself for the pain I had caused others, for the brutal violence, for the lust, for the unabated energy I devoted to the quest of ego. Now, I see forgiveness as an automatic mechanism of love, it happens without request and without effort therefore is no longer “forgiveness” as I once knew it. I see that there is no “good” or “bad” in the world as a result of my being able to experience Divine intention. I turn my focus from fear to focus of love, and the results are that the world has a lot more color and warmth to it. I can relate to those in distress and those causing it. I can see the Divine perfection in all things, and in that they are all equal. Forgiveness does not exist, nor do miracles. I am here, I am now, and I am perfect in this, my moment of Nirvana.
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