There’s a famous story I’m thinking of, as I can’t find my way out of the loop of my two closest friends suddenly and irrevocably withdrawing their friendship from me. The final communication was now almost four months ago, and it was just my old friend confirming that he would not be honest in trying to resolve our senseless conflict. I have no illusion about anything involving that long running shitshow, understanding fully now how deadly any conflict is with this inexorable personality type.
Yet, almost every day, as similar things are played out constantly in mainstreamed extremist politics — projection, incoherence, lies, vilification — I am reminded of my painful struggle to prevent the fatal falling out with my two old friends. They shocked me by continually using every familiar MAGA technique to blame and silence me.
Two monks who haven’t seen each other in many years meet in the forest. They greet each other and one asks the other “do you still think about those sadists who held us captive and tortured us?”
“No,” says the monk “how about you?”
“I think of them every day and I never think about them without wishing karma to descend on them so that they hurt the way we did when they tortured us” says the other monk.
“Then you are still their prisoner,” says the more enlightened monk.
The thought that consoles me, as I am still the prisoner of thoughts of the brutal unfairness of the mistreatment I experienced at the hands of people who claimed to love me, is that I have no ability, at the moment, to blow off much steam, to get things out of my system physically. Strenuous exercise is always good for relieving much of that kind of tension. In recent years I’d go for long, fast paced walks to clear my head, now I can only walk a block at a time, painfully, before I have to sit and rest. Try clearing your head with that kind of halting walk.
So the pain in my ailing knees reminds me to go easy on myself for not being able to break fully out of the prison I can’t think my way out of at the moment. Mercy is a great gift to give yourself. When I am back in shape, after my knee replacement and rehab, I intend to flush the rest of this ugliness out of my system, daily.