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Is your pain created by yourself or others?

I want to ask you a question. I want to ask you to answer it spontaneously, without thinking, out of your gut. The question is: Who creates all the pain in your life?

Okay, I admit it. I am not that creative. This question is just a variation of something a woman asked me in response to a Quora question of mine about free will. She wrote: Who creates your life? Although it seemingly had no connection to my question, I felt a deep desire to answer this question. And although I did not fully understand my own answer, it was simple: I. I create my life. I choose everything I am and everything I experience.

I still do not fully understand it. But I can not deny that the only answer that feels right is still the same.

There is a cool site called Existential Comics with lots of comics poking fun at philosophers of all ages. Here is a fun bit about stoicism. The message is a bit similar: You can not harm me. It is only me who can choose to suffer from events I have no control over.

I have been doing meditation for about half a year now and about two weeks ago I had a short insight into how this is true. I was at cinema and the ads started running as they always do. And as always, I had a reflexive reaction to them: I felt contempt, boredom, ridicule.

There is a lot of pain in my life created this way. When I see a confident man, I judge him. When I see a girl that I am attracted to, I judge her. When I observe some situation that seems cliched to me, I judge it.

I used to think that it is the situations that make me feel bad, because they are inherently bad. I mistook my feeling about them with their true nature. But my feeling was just a judgment. In this way, it so happened that every confident man I saw seemed to be of the same essence, every hot girl identical to the last one. Because their identity, for me, was defined through a feeling. Through a judgment. Universal equality of shittiness.

This is not the first time I had this kind of insight. A few months back, I felt this intuitive urge to go into my bathroom, shut the door, and meditate in absolute darkness. And after a few hours I observed something peculiar. My mind was actively seeking something visually. Why? Because there was a vague feeling of unease. I only knew this from being around people or things I usually judge and deny. My mind was trying to project this feeling onto something, but visually, there was nothing, just darkness. Black. And thus I understood, for a brief moment, that these feelings of contempt, hatred and whatnot are not inherently linked to the judged objects, but rather separate from them. The true nature of the objects has nothing to do with how I feel about them. How I feel about them is part of me – the judgment of my own mind. And as there was nothing to attach these feelings to in darkness, I was forced to recognize the pain as a part of me.

So whenever I feel bad about something, it is not the bad nature of the thing itself. The nature of the thing itself is value-free. The pain is a part of me and it is mine to resolve, mine to heal, mine to confront, mine to acknowledge.

Why is this important? Because my mind did not want me to think that those feelings are a part of me. It did not want me to think that I have power to heal. It wanted me to keep blaming others. Why? In order for the pain to be able to survive. If exposed as being within my power to take responsibility of it, the pain feels vulnerable, endangered. It desperately needs me to believe that others are conspired to hurt me – rather than acknowledge that it is I who is running from being hurt, decades ago.

In order for the pain to survive, it must trick me into being identified with it. It does not want me to consciously feel my pain. It wants me to be my pain. Not to feel victimized, but to be the victim. It wants me to believe that it is the inherent nature of others to want to hurt me and my inherent nature to be hurt.

A lot of these ideas are inspired by my read of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, a book that someone in the manosphere recommended to me some time back. I love that shit.

The keyboard in the title picture, by the way, was slashed to pieces by me after it had some minor USB connection issues that pissed me off. It felt good to smash it, but I felt regret about having destroyed it afterwards. It is often so in my life, I think. I am unwilling or unable to tolerate frustration, so I reflexively destroy everything that I identify as the source of my pain. Friendships, things, situations, my finances, my health, my life in general. Better to destroy utterly than to feel the pain of frustration by not getting what I want. Better to destroy myself than to have to live for others and suck up to those I hate. Well, at least that is the solution my mind comes up with – despite the fact that my mind is the only part in myself that wants me to suck up to others to earn their admiration, attraction and whatnot. Genius.

Now, I do not mean to say that I am unjust and all those situations are actually good. Good is just another judgment, another side of the same coin – feeling good about something or bad about something. What I mean to say is that it is my goal to transcend this binary madness. To not force myself to judge everything well like a ludicrous optimist. But rather, to not judge or label at all and let things be what they are.

Anyway, think about it. Is it you who should feel bad because there is a stupid commercial at the cinema? Judging it seems to give power, but it also creates unnecessary pain – for yourself.

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