Lost in Thought: Journey Back to the Present Moment - Visitor's Story
by Chuck Koehler
(Westchester, CA, USA)
At an early age, unbeknownst to my conscious mind, I started forming a belief system that I was a mistake, unlovable, worthless, somehow flawed, and that other people would only reject, hurt, or abandon me; therefore, I never had any close friends as I never let myself love or be loved by other human beings throughout my life, until recently. This is a story of suffering followed by the healing and recognition of my spirit, which allowed me to forgive myself and my mother, when actually there was no “one” to forgive.
My beliefs were due to my misperception of my dysfunctional family environment as having something to do with my “value” as a human being on this planet we call earth. Continued parental neglect, abuse by others, and traumatic events seemed to confirm that human beings can’t be trusted and that there was something wrong with me—I was inherently defective and wasn’t “good enough”, which further strengthened my beliefs. Also, a couple of traumatic events seemed unique only to me as I have never personally known anyone else who has gone through the same things, such as growing up with a deformity that I tried to keep hidden from the rest of the world as well as developing a chronic myofascial medical condition, which only further entrenched my beliefs as I felt even more different, distinct, and defective.
These early core beliefs as well as my anger towards myself and others eventually manifested into numerous psychological disorders such as social anxiety & phobia, depression, addiction, dissociation, OCD, and BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) throughout my life. I now realize that my beliefs were formed from early thoughts and feelings of mistrust and not belonging in this world as I felt worthless and helpless. I felt extremely unsafe and wasn’t taught to express my thoughts and feelings by and to adults as well as having them explain to me that those thoughts and feelings could be challenged, let go of, and didn’t represent who I think I truly am— a loving, spiritual being having a human experience.
Therefore, I have been a virtual prisoner most of my life as my pain and loneliness became my constant companions due to being lost in thoughts created by my egoistical left-brain, which did everything in its power to protect, defend, or enhance “me” by attempting to control “me”, others, and my environment based on my core beliefs. It thought there was a “me” that needed protecting, defending, or enhancing as a way of surviving in this world as a distinct, deficient “me”. I also became very comfortable with my pain and suffering as it seemed “normal” and “all-I-knew” throughout most of my life.
Eventually, my life became so painful, chaotic, and unmanageable that I could no longer live with the “me” that I though I was and found the inner strength to seek out help from therapists and other people through various spiritual-based avenues, which allowed me to express the emotional pain that I kept pushing down and running away from my whole life.
If I had only intuitively sensed then, what I intuitively sense now, that I am an eternal, infinite, loving spirit or awareness that is intimately connected with and a part of everyone and everything in this universe. Awareness is formless and always available to me only in the present moment or I’m lost in regrets and resentments of the past, future worries, judgments of yourself and others, or being concerned with the judgments by others, so either living in the present moment with joy and peace or imprisoned by my thoughts causing unrelenting suffering in my life.
How I have been caught up in my delusions and illusions of what I deemed the universe, you, and me to be as I never investigated my assumptions, opinions, and beliefs until recently! My intuitive sense is that everything is connected together, a Oneness if you will, at an energetic, spiritual level. Can I prove it? No! Do I want to prove it? No! That is just more egotistical-questions feeding and reinforcing themselves.
What am I really certain of? Only that “I exist” or “I am”, which is constantly aware of my thoughts, my body, and my immediate surroundings whether I believe it or not, so it’s not a belief. Other than that, nothing except mystery and uncertainty as anytime I try to understand or explain the unexplainable I lessen the beauty or essence surrounding it as well as possibly cause more suffering to myself, or the possibility of others causing suffering to themselves, as my “egoisticic” left-brain wants to be “enough” by being more right or knowledgeable than others. Would I rather be kind or would I rather be right? I always wanted to be right until now.
In “My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey” by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, she describes the left-brain as displaying analytical, narcissistic behavior; whereas, the right-brain tends to have selfless behavior, feelings, and uses the senses to interpret “the big picture”.
After further contemplation, I realized that more than likely my right-brain had started shutting down at a fairly young age as I dissociated more-and-more from the world and my surroundings due to the emotional pain I wasn’t able to process or express to others, so I decided to write about my journey back home—to the present moment—and the insights that I have gained from my suffering through introspection, spiritual teachers, workshops, books, and therapists.
By forming close connections with family and friends, finding a meaning and purpose in my life; expressing and sharing my feelings with therapists, friends, and support groups; engaging in spiritual books and movies; and intuitively sensing that there is no “thing” or no “one” to forgive was I able to dissolve my core beliefs and finally get in touch with who I think I really am and have always been—awareness. A loving, eternal, infinite spiritual being having a human experience that is much more vast and wondrous than I could have ever imagined, helping me to realize that human suffering is pervasive in our fast-paced, over-stimulated, and technology-driven society. I now realize that my suffering and the beautiful souls who I’ve met along the way, were my greatest spiritual teachers. I personally do not follow any religious beliefs or doctrines, only use spiritual teachings as pointers to what I think is the Truth.