Accept the Reality of Who I Am?

This came from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations:

It’s written by Claude AnShin Thomas, a Vietnam Veteran struggling with PTSD.  I realize I’ve been struggling with my PTSD, trying to heal it so I could finally “have a life.”  I keep apologizing for my failure to “handle things better.”  Especially now, when the social distancing means I spend too much time alone, and am vulnerable to getting totally lost.  I wonder if I could do what he has? Just accept that this is the reality of who I am? Right now, it looks totally impossible.

A voice inside me, the voice of awareness, said to me, “You can’t sleep, so now what?” I began to laugh. It was a moment of complete acceptance. I finally understood that I just was how I was. To resist, to fight, to attempt to alter the essential nature of my life, was in fact making matters worse, and now I understood that I simply needed to learn how to live with the reality of who I was. In this moment I discovered that it was here, in the midst of suffering and confusion, that healing and transformation can take place, if I can stop trying to escape.

But I’m not special, you know. You can do this, too. You can face your own sorrow, your own wounds. You can stop wanting some other life, some other past, some other reality. You can stop fighting against the truth of yourself and, breathing in and breathing out, open to your own experience. You can just feel whatever is there, exploring it, until you also discover the liberation that comes with stopping the struggle and becoming fully present in your own life. This is the real path to peace and freedom. You could do this for yourself; you could do this for your family. Our whole world will benefit.

Claude AnShin Thomas, At Hell’s Gate: A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace(Shambhala: 2004), 152–153, 154.


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