The other weekend, my mind turned an important corner. It feels in a way I can’t quite describe like the past has finally been laid to rest and I can look towards the future in less encumbered way. For much of the past couple years, I’ve felt ‘stuck’, as though I couldn’t move forward with life because I was dragging behind a lot of weight.
A major part of this welcome and needed shift was a realization that I had finally come to theological terms with my sexuality. I had obviously come to terms with it in many other ways (in various stages over the past twenty-two years), but even after everything that had happened, a theological understanding had eluded me. While I don’t really have theological beliefs anymore, this still caused me a lot of unease, since it allowed questions and concerns from my past to rise up and haunt me from time to time. It was as though I needed to be able to understand where I was at now from within the worldview I had before in order to really put the past to bed. Last weekend, it finally happened.
But that isn’t the point of this post. While I may change my mind later, I don’t think I’m going to go into detail about it on this blog because that’s not really what I do. I write to try to flesh out what I think and wrestle with difficult questions; for me, writing when I feel I have answers sounds too much like expounding and preaching, which is difficult and even more difficult to do well and even still MORE difficult to do charitably. Also, to be honest, a heart that is at peace doesn’t feel the need to justify itself. (Anyway, it wasn’t really even a matter of a major epiphany, but rather a final piecing together of various strands I’ve written about previously.)
This new-found peace within my soul was coupled at the same time with a major turning point in my psyche. While I’ve long known that I live far too much in my head and so my ego (not in terms of pride, but just in terms of the thinking self) gets in the way of life and decision-making, I’ve never found a good means of overcoming it. But last weekend, in a strange encounter of secular Buddhist psychology on the embracing of Emptiness and new-agey self-help pop psychology espoused by television drag queens, something clicked for me. Even in their dissonance (or maybe because of it), both of these ‘schools’ are in a sense about overcoming the ego, whether by paying attention to the space around it or by embracing an alter ego. Both are ways of putting the Self in its place, of coming to terms with the fact that the “Self” is largely an illusion. And, for whatever reason, encountering these ideas in slightly new forms in such a short period forced a further encounter with all the barriers and mental blocks I’d put up for myself, an encounter with Reality that both highlighted the problem and showed a way to move beyond it.
Last weekend I was given these two related gifts: a deep spiritual peace from ending the war between my past and my present and an important crack in my ego (again, understood as the thinking self). I have felt so free and unencumbered the past week; it’s really quite remarkable and refreshing. And while I know full well, that I’ll get stuck again in the future, it’s nice to feel unstuck for the first time that I can remember.
One related blessing is that this has allowed me to see more clearly the threads that tie the two halves of my adult life together. Now that they are no longer at war with each other, it seems less a dichotomy and more a story of continuity within discontinuity, of the same story transposed into a new context.
All this is important. I am still facing very big questions right now: contemplating a move, pondering career changes, and trying to put myself in the best place (in a variety of senses) possible to act genuinely if romantic love does find me some day. And, while these things I’ve learned (or relearned) lately don’t exactly help me to answer them, it really does feel like I’m in a much more whole and healthy and clear-headed place in which to start unraveling this exciting and scary future that lies before me.
And that’s a good thing