The only way out is through

I’m in my studio…

… irritated, frustrated, angry, and bored. I’m constantly agitated, looking to entertain myself. I cook, check my email (without replying), chat with my brother, cook, email, and finally I’m boiling some potatoes.

While waiting for the potatoes, I sit in an isolated room in the house. It’s quiet, without electronics. I’m just sitting down. And without delay my thoughts start flowing in. Just like molecules coming together and bonding, my thoughts start creating links. They generate other thoughts, which generate new links, and thus, new thoughts. One of these thoughts happens to be a realization. I think to myself: “Am I constantly trying to distract myself so that I shut away my thoughts?” Why would I shut away my thoughts? “Because they reveal a painful reality”, my mind answers back. And then it hit me again.

I realize that when i was very small, I used to daydream. I then realize that there’s a difference between daydreaming and sitting with my thoughts. When I daydream, I invent things. My mind is pre-occupied and focused on one purpose; My invention. In contrast, when I gew a bit older, I used to run away from home because of family problems. I used to go to a forest and sit on a rock for eight hours or more. And now I realize, that even then, I didn’t sit with my thoughts. I didn’t invent either. What I did do is watch the trees move in the wind, the multitude of smells, my dog moving about, the ants laboring, etc.

In short I was living in the present, being aware of the present (Years later, I find out that what I was doing was some sort of meditation, with being present as its ultimate aim.) But even then, sitting on that rock, I wasn’t sitting with my thoughts. Although I did, unknowingly, develop the ability to live in the present. Yet when sitting on that rock, the thoughts of my current life are so painful, that I had to shut them away. And now sitting in that isolated room in my house, I’m still doing it. Yet now, I realize that even when I distract myself from these thoughts, I’m still aware of them.

I still experience their painful effects. And to think that I’m protecting myself from pain by constantly distracting myself. Now I know that this constant distraction leaves the painful thoughts as is, unresolved, un-diffused, unprocessed. The thoughts are sitting there, in the back of my head, causing constant pain. And until now, I wasn’t aware of the source of this pain.

I’m basically under the false illusion that sitting down with my thoughts is painful. Yet I’m constantly living with the pain these thoughts bring in. And thinking about them, and resolving them, isn’t more painful. It’s actually liberating. From now on I’ll try to create the time to sit with my thoughts, go through them, and break out of my pain.

The only way out is through.


Twitter: @williamchoukeir

Related: How to sit with your thoughts with these 3 phases

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3 Responses to The only way out is through

  1. KQ says:

    This reminds me of many things. It reminds me of a part in Fadwa Touqan’s autobiography entitled "???????? ?????????? ???????? ????????" -worth reading too- where she describes also escaping under a tree and focusing on her thumb to make time stop, pain stop, but to escape reality not face it. Your entry also reminds me of my own pocket of pain where my strategy is to weave a work of croche and after it is big enough and developed, undo it as if to teach myself tolerance and the possibility to be able to undo life’s injustices and perhaps weave a different reality. I like your way out by going through. It kind of hits a heart of matters. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Anonymous says:

    <html><body bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><div>May the truth set you free. Love you will.??</div><div><br></div><div></div><blockquote type="cite"><div> <div style="width: 600px; font-size: 12px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 18px;" class="PosterousEmail"></div></div></body></html>

  3. karimbadra says:

    My favourite post, Will. I’ve been going through something similar, and I keep thinking of this poem by Charles Bukowski. of luck to you, habibi

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