I was thinking of writing an intro to this journal and sharing older entries first, but I thought it better to post this now (also because who knows if I finally share anything else or not ). As always, please point out spelling and grammatical errors, or any other aspect that may help to clarify the post.
It’s a relatively recent entry from my diary (adapted for better understanding and omiting some superfluous details) which came to mind from @Andrew’s posts related to deep suffering and trauma, but also related to why the feelings come back again and again, perpetuating themselves.
"Last night on TV I saw a rerun of [an old, local interviews program] in which one of the guests was XXX. I remembered how good it was to listen to him when I was a teenager/young when I felt so lonely and bad, as a companion very early in the morning in his radio show, or very late at night in his TV show. Above all, for his endless optimism, for his charitable gestures helping people in the face of terrible circumstances, always talking about how they had managed to moved forward or to continue seeing life as something worth living despite the traumas experienced. I felt gratitude for the good received from him in those times of fear, depression, anger. I remembered then some of the songs I knew through his shows, which helped me so much at that time; so I look for one of those on Youtube.
Until then I did not feel more than some gratitude and maybe nostalgia, but it was more of a remembrance. After listening to the song, Youtube offered a list of related songs from that time. I listened to some. The remembrance became more emotional, not because of the contents of the songs, but because they also accompanied those dark days. After listening [another song from YYY] I began to feel sad. I thought more and more about that time, about “how young the singers were”, “how young and bad I was”, and I felt sadder.
Looking into why, I noticed that part was due to the feelings associated for so long and so strongly to those songs and singers (which I continued to listen to for many years). However, I also felt compassion for the Miguel of that time and, above all, pity. Suddenly I remembered a scene of the movie ZZZ and my ill daughter with whom I had seen the film, her current situation [she was institutionalized again at the time I wrote this diary entry], and the common factors with my own health problems of my youth.
So, I searched and watched the scene in Youtube! I cried a little. I felt pity, empathy, compassion, sorrow for my daughter. But finally I felt the same emotion for me, but now it wasn’t for the young Miguel: for the present Miguel, the one listening and watching… I got a little worse and cried some more.
I knew that I hadn’t kept the “hands in my pockets” (I allowed myself to think and do things I shouldn’t have thought and done, fuelled by feelings).
However, I suddenly thought how easy it would be to abandon myself permanently to that kind of emotional states, to feel sorry for myself, to feel sorry for others, to feel angry, to be able to complain; and I felt strongly the seduction to do so. I further thought how easily justifiable it would be “with all my problems” (past and current) to abandon myself to these emotional states as a way of life, as when one takes a horrible but known, easier and shorter path (in this case, easier than trying to constantly feel good through felicitous feelings).
After that I calmed down to a neutral point, watched some TV and went to sleep.
It was only today that I reflect again about how those negative states can become so subjugating while producing at the same time so much suffering. Who wants to live in fear? Who wants to live in anger? Who wants to live sad? Why then we come back again and again to those feelings?
So I reflected, as I have done before, on this hypothesis: I had to somehow get some satisfaction or benefits from those terrible emotional states (like those of the sadomasochist; like scratching even if it hurts; like keep eating when one is about to burst).
I noticed that the satisfaction or benefits I would get in this case consisted of a mixture of compassion towards me by others; of resting, by not having to separate myself from instinctive emotions; of being able to complain (“why me”); of receiving more attention; of vanity, telling or showing my suffering to others; of pride, in showing others my accomplishments despite my ongoing problems and suffering!; etc.
But this time I felt more strongly these negative feelings nourishing my self, fuelling my sense of being, feeding my identity, being Miguel. They invited to be, and facilitated being, someone with those “rewarding” characteristics. They were like the little demon in the stories that speak seductively in your ears, so you follow a path of endless suffering (the bad feelings) but with endless instictive rewards (the twisted good feelings derived from power, irresistible charm, etc.).
Fortunately, after so many years living that way, I know that character, that mask, that self that wants to follow that path, who feels the attraction of being someone through bad feelings followed by twisted good feelings; I know its craving, an addict getting benefits from suffering.
So I was able to see that seduction even under the strong influence of emotions. But now, writing, I noticed that from my “actualist condition” I often look that self (my self) “from above”, with mockery, believing that I know all its tricks, its manipulations, its chimerical world. However, this experience make me think (by contrast) about all the times that I just act, not noticing the benefits and satisfactions pursued by “me” through suffering, not aware in those moments that I can’t help but feel one with the feelings, the mask being my face, the ego being one with this body instead of perceiving it as something distinct and constructed.
If it were not for the PCEs, we could not believe that the identitiy can cease to be; that in reality I am not “I”. In the PCEs I am this physical body only, without the sensation or the aspiration to be something else, to be someone. It then ceases all seduction by bad feelings and by the benefits obtained through them.
Yesterday I suffered by and for myself, a suffering generated by memories about traumas and by the current state of my daughter BUT ALSO by the underlying or subsequent satisfaction or benefits I would get. Because these facts, as mere facts, are not the cause of my suffering: many times I’ve heard the same songs, I’ve watched and remembering the same things without feeling sad or disturbed (even this morning I remembered one of yesterday’s songs recurrently, and I’ve just spoken to my daughter on the phone, without these facts producing any pain, discomfort or negative appraisal).
So, the causes are not past or present facts…
The causes are in the self.
They are in myself, in me; and I am the ultimate cause.
The ultimate cause is me itself.