Saturday, December 4, 2010

From Within

  When I was a kid, the movie Dumbo made me cry during the scene when, in spite of losing his magic feather, Dumbo finds it in himself to fly.  I never knew why it made me cry.  Years later I heard a song by NOFX from their Punk In Drublic album, called "Happy Guy".  It's a song about a man who is an avid church goer.  In it are the lines, "His hopes may be false, but his happiness is real.  Don't try to judge him.  He's just a man."
  Over the years there have been two particular events I will talk about here that have brought a great deal of emotional scarring to my life.  My favorite childhood memories revolve around going to my aunt's house every summer in Tucson, Arizona.  She was so loving and kind.  I was so happy.  The first event occurred when I turned 18 and went to see her.  She revealed to me her true character.  She is a shallow, crude, crass, rich and snobby woman.  She acted the way she did when I was growing up because she had always envied my mother for having such a lovely family.  She wanted me to prefer being with her.  And I did.  At that moment, I felt so low and used.  It felt like everything I grew up to believe in was a lie.
  Not too long after that, I joined a church.  Over the course of seven years, I learned a lot about faith.  Many people were amazed at the amount of faith I had.  Along the way, I started to notice hypocrisies and inconsistencies between what I was learning and what I was seeing with my own eyes.  I decided to leave the church and I was shunned.  They said I had "fallen away from God."  This shattered my faith and filled me with self-loathing and bitterness toward God.
  Then today, I had a conversation with my wife about Christ and the fact that he never actually healed anyone.  He always made it a point to tell them that it was their faith that healed them.  From this I looked back at Dumbo's feather and the Happy Guy and I realized that nothing had been taken away from me because nothing was ever given to me.  My aunt didn't give me happiness.  That came from within me.  The church didn't give me faith.  That too came from within myself.  So I never lost those things.  They've always been just below the surface of my anger and low self-esteem.  My wife always keeps me on the right path!
  Coming to those realizations made me remember a scene in my Nocent books in which a character who has ADHD falls into a coma after a run in with a zombie.  His father is able to communicate with him through a psychic medium.  The boy, Alex, is no longer stuck within his physical brain.  His spirit self has easy access to all his memories and a wealth of knowledge that he doesn't get to use while he's in the flesh.  This awareness of his hidden intelligence helps him to believe in himself more when he awakens from his coma. So in a way, it was never his brain that limited him, it was his lack of belief in himself.
  The Dalai Lama in his book, The Universe In A Single Atom, says Buddhism teaches that Enlightenment is the reaching of total awareness and focusing of attention.  ADD is the lack of focus of attention.  I know because I, myself have ADD.  If I am to believe what Buddha says, I can achieve focus through meditation. Right now, I take my Strattera, but maybe that's my new magic feather.

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