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The Sound of Screaming
A meditation for the New Moon and the Path of Release
I woke up this morning to the sound of screaming and it took a while for me to realize it was a nightmare. At least I think it was a nightmare, but the more I contemplate it the more I wonder if it wasn’t more a psychic scream I was just sensitive enough to hear.
There is so much suffering in the world right now, and the more we cling to the lies of late stage capitalism, the more there will be. I live in what so many lovingly call the heartland… I’ve never been comfortable with that kind of language. It is a bit too self aggrandizing for my taste. It is also a misnomer.
Jobs are going away because of the mismanagement and greed of the megacorps that run them. Government aid is restricted to make people desperate enough to take whatever job they can find. Climate change has brought more storms and flooding to the region. Women’s rights are under attack. Trans people are being outlawed. Suffering is a growth industry.
I am still shaken by the experience. That scream haunts me. It wasn’t a singular voice, It broke into my mind as a symphony of pain, shaking me awake from a sound sleep that didn’t have anything dark, scary, or painful in it.
My life itself has become a metaphor…
All our lives are metaphors if we choose to read them like that.
Letting go, in our lives, of all our pain and strife,
Releases the burden that we carry deep within,
Liberating us to seek the path to freedom
To break the binds that tie us.
For in our hearts there lies a hidden source,
A river of divine flow, waiting to be tapped,
So wisdom can spill forth and enlighten
Our minds to imagining a better world to build.
This river runs beneath the surface of life,
A force that flows through all creation,
Connecting all that is, and ever shall be,
A current of vital energy, waiting to set us free.
Draw from this wellspring, and we shall find,
The strength to rise above all that holds us down,
To face each trial with courage and with grace,
And to walk with ease, on paths once so hard.
For in this river, there lies a gift to cure,
A healing balm that soothes our weary souls,
And gives us wings to rise above the fray,
To touch the sky and dance among the stars.
So let us not hold onto all our pain and strife,
And tap this underground river of divine flow,
For in its depths, we'll find the strength we seek,
And all the love and light our heart can hold.
Isn’t that what I am supposed to say? Isn’t that the advice we always offer in times like this? It isn’t wrong, but it isn’t really helpful. A hollow truth isn’t a lie, but it cannot sustain us for very long.
the truth of hollowness
Over the last year, I’ve come to see the difference between the trite, hollow truths that are often given out as spiritual advice and the hard truth of hollowness that those of us who have reached this place quickly forget how to talk about.
I talked about this recently on my other substack:
Hollowness is painful to achieve.
No one should strive to reach it.
Welcome it in when it knocks.
Fighting against it is futile.
Hollowness is the other side of the ennui coin.
a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom: (Dictionary.com)
Ennui is the state of weariness and discontent from being too full or uninterested in something.
Hollowness is the state of weariness and discontent from being emptied out or disillusioned by something.
They can be hard to tell apart. How can we know if we are too full or too empty when we don’t have the energy or interest to do anything? Does it matter which it is?
Yes. Ennui fills us up and holds us in place like an anchor. Hollowness has an empty space that can be filled to fuel forward action.
Hollowness hurts more than ennui. I probably shouldn’t say that since I am advocating for it, but it is important to be honest here.
All of the pain and suffering pressed upon us by this post modern age as it collapses around us will destroy us if we don’t let them go. Suffering, if we hold it too tight can fester into resentment and hatred. We should never lie to ourselves about how alluring and comfortable hate is. It is an abusive friend that always gives bad advice and encourages us down the wrong path. If we do nothing else in our lives other than free ourselves from hate, we have lived a good life.
the struggle to let go
It is hard to let go,
to set down our pain,
to release our suffering,
to forgive our abusers.
We cannot pick up to put down.
We should not take in to set free.
We must not dig in to clean out.
We haven’t learned to let go.
Open your hands,
unclench your fists,
relax your heart,
don’t forget to breathe.
Letting go is not a process. We may have to do a lot of work to understand and accept the need to let go, but the act itself is easy. It is so easy we refuse to believe and embrace the process, and overcomplicate it. We add numerous steps and stages to reassure ourselves that we are actually doing something.
Letting go is not something we do. It is what we don’t do.
When we practice letting go, we approach life with open hands and open hearts. We allow the pain and suffering to fall away. To say we are personally doing something would mean that when we are outside in the rain we give each rain drop permission to hit us and flow down our bodies. That is not how rain or water works. Some try to blame people from being out in the rain in the first place.
Suffering rains down from all the oppressive forces empowered by greed, fear, hate, and trauma. So many TERFs1 are lashing out from traumas and pains they hold so close and identify so strongly with, discussion with them is impossible. They are hurting so much they cannot notice it anymore. They have come to believe that the way they feel is natural. They cannot grow out of their pain until they recognize that first. None of that excuses the suffering they inflict on others. Suffering longs to spread and inflict itself on others.
Knowing the sources of suffering can develop compassion within us, but knowledge is not the solution to the problem.
Understanding why the clouds form does not stop the rain. Accepting that rain falls does not prevent us from getting wet. Letting go is simply not clinging to the pain. To continue the rain analogy: once we notice we are sitting in a tub collecting the rain water, letting go is either getting out of the tub, or at the very least, pulling the plug so that water can drain out.
Sometimes it is impossible or way too hard to get out of the tub, but we don’t have to allow ourselves to drown in the deluge when it comes.
Sometimes, the trick isn’t to stand up, but to open up. The greatest superpower of the way of release is the art of opening ourselves up to the spacious awareness of hollowness.
When I think of the vastness of the cosmos and deep time, I am amazed to exist in the unfolding story of creation. We aren’t small. Not really. The water that makes up 55 to 78% of our bodies contains 2 hydrogen forged in the Big Bang and one oxygen atom. That oxygen started as hydrogen in the heart of a star that fused together to make oxygen before that star died in a nova and shared its oxygen with the universe. The iron in our blood came from a red giant star that made it as its last act before exploding. The calcium in our bones was made as those stars exploded. We are the children of one or more stars that lived their whole lives before our sun ever came into being.
We are capable of poetry, art, music, love, compassion, so many beautiful things. Each of those require us to have space within us so they can be born. This is the lie in the story of the tortured artist. No one has to be tortured to make art, but we all have to have that open spaciousness within us that makes room for art to come into being.
We are star stuff building the world to come each day through countless creative acts.
When it is too hard for us to let go, if we can just open our hands the bigger things may just fall away from their own weight.
Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists