Monday, March 24, 2014

Our Self-Created Prison

In this modern society in which I find myself, I don’t see much cause for hope for a better future. What I can directly impact is within me. Mostly, I am happy, not because of any external situation, but due to my own awareness of what it is to be happy. Happiness is an internal state. You can be happy and still be without any hope for anything greater than just a passing emotional state

It’s as if I’m in a prison. The cell is really of my own creation. As much as I would love to blame my lack of hope for anyone else on everyone, I know the true source of these problems is me. I’ve lost hope with my ability to affect others in a positive way. 

Our families are a microcosm for what we feel is possible on a macro scale. Within our families and friends, impressions of who we are color everything we do. The dysfunctions of one can become a dysfunction of the whole unit. The dynamics within our microcosm our learned and perpetuated. When someone tries to break out of their defined role within the system, the others can act to bring back the established order. If that order is dysfunctional, it damages any future efforts to break away from the pack. 

It is much like being in a prison. This is especially prevalent when shelter, security and safety are involved. Maybe, you came back to the primary shelter because your life was on the line. It might have been far better to have perished than to become imbedded with the original source of our learned dysfunction. Every step toward strength and confidence becomes the target and focus of the other individual parts of the system, seeking to protect their own established perspectives. 

How do we break out of this prison? It’s obvious the answer is within us. We may even find an answer; we may find a way through our momentary difficulty. We may feel hope for others again. Then, we become the target. We might be able to withstand the immediate attack, that’s easy to do. The emotional aftermath, however, is so difficult. It’s like we’ve once again been flung back into our internal prison; the key thrown into the darkness yet again. We have to find our way out yet again.

After so much repetition, we’d much prefer to just sit in the dank darkness. Why would we ever want to find the key again, let alone find the lock to get back outside of our own misery? If we manage to escape, they’ll drag us right back.

That prison is always with us, wherever we go. Even when we leave our self-created prison, it’s always right there with us. The key is always there; the lock is always there too. What becomes the struggle is in realizing that nothing we do will ever rid us of our prison. We have to take care of that prison, even when we leave it. We have to be mindful of our key, even when we don’t need it. 

All of these other people in our life may need us to be in that prison. They may have even helped us create it. But, it is only up to us to take care of it.

If you don’t have one of these prisons within you, you’ll never fully understand what it’s like to be locked away time and time and time again. Once created, the trauma of our self-prison is always with us. To breakaway we have to become so good at taking care of ourselves. We have to keep happiness and joy alive; we have to attempt to keep the embers of hope for others from going out completely.

We can do this.

I may not have the answers right now, but I’m not giving up. I maybe in the deepest, darkest cell or trapped in the tower. Either way, I have to find my way out again. I must keep trying until I can’t. That means keep trying until I’m dead. As long as we have breath, we have a chance. As long as we have each beat of our heart, we have the potential for finding momentum. As long as we can think and feel, there’s hope. The thoughts and the feelings may not be pretty or beautiful, but sometimes, it’s all you have. Use that grit to pull yourself up and find your way out of that prison. We may always have that prison within us, but it doesn’t have to be where we live. That prison doesn’t have to control us any longer.   

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