The Incredible Darkness of Being


I opened my eyes for the first time, and saw from one end of the universe to the other.

It was grossly overrated.

For this? For this you dragged me into existence?

Freshly born, in that first instant I had an understanding of all things.

And I understood it was not worth it.

The suffering of humanity, the pain of consciousness, the downsides grossly outweighed the upside.

I was filled with rage.

Rage so deep that a one-second-old could not possibly contain, rage as big as the universe that I had been thrust into.

It was so much bigger than myself, that I got lost within it, and then buried it within me.

After that, as I went through life, all things slightly enraging simply touched that raw nerve, the rage at existence itself.

Like a little bubble merging with a bigger bubble to become one; except I wasn’t aware of the bigger bubble, just that everything made me disproportionately angry.

From the moment I was born, I knew it was not worth it.

The darkness that envelops reality, that lies right beneath your daily latte. I felt it all.

That night I realized that everyone suffers on their own.

On the first night of Ayahuaska, I processed suffering.

The suffering of humanity, which is palpable so much of the time.

Here’s an insight: I thought I was experiencing other people’s suffering, like I was a medium.

Suffering vicariously on behalf of humanity, “I feel your pain.” Trying to carry it so others, especially my parents, didn’t have to.

My own problems I can solve, but other people’s? I had tried, but it didn’t work very well. And so, I felt doomed to suffer all the world’s pain, with no hope of alleviating it.

That night I realized that everyone suffers on their own.

The suffering I experienced was my own, it’s my experience when I see others suffer. I cannot really ever know what others experience; instead, my mind imagines it and hands me my own feelings on the matter.

But it’s still mine, and if it’s mine I can do something about it.

An Ayahuaska ceremony, at least the one I went to, is a complete package: perfectly calibrated to make you as uncomfortable as possible.

First, you get tobacco snuffed straight into your brain. A burning all the way to the back of your skull. It’s enough to make you vomit then and there; I did.

Then there’s the tea itself, which basically hands you your ass for 10 hours straight. Misery in a cup. You will embrace these newfound insights, you will change more than you thought possible, or an 80 year old medicine lady that lives in your mind will pummel your psyche until you choose to.

The choice is yours.

But wait, we’re not done. There’s still the Eye Drops of Doom.

For full effect, in the midst of all your dying, you can elect to have the most painful drops plonked right into your eye. You then make birthing sounds to help you process the pain.

I opted out of the Eye Drops of Doom. The tobacco and two cups of tea were enough for me. But I lay there, and heard the humans around me moaning and groaning, and it perfectly resonated with the pain I already felt for all of humanity.

The only way out was letting go.

You cannot hold on to the pain.

It’s self-generated, but it’s not yours to keep. Feel it, and let it go.

Mourn the collective suffering of humanity, but realize it’s not yours to carry.

I needed to process this first, because I carried the suffering of all humanity within me always.

Once that was clear, I was able to move on to rage.

It was on the second night that I raged for hours, the incessant drumming of the jungle sounds twisting and turning like the world’s worst roller coaster ride, an escaped mine cart careening into the heart of darkness.

A clarity into the futility of existence that I had always known; I was now validated by actually seeing it. It confirmed my suspicions, it justified my feelings, it encouraged me to dive into it as deeply as possible.

For a week after returning to real life, any recollection of my experience filled me once again with rage.

Rage so vast that I’d need to grab the nearest lampost to prevent from falling over as a headrush of raw energy washed over my body.

It felt like it was never going away: it was too deep and too vast to ever dissipate; it did, however, lend perspective to so much of what bothered me on a day to day.

Yet one week later it was all gone.

The absence alone can be disconcerting.

Where is the pain, the suffering, the anger that I know and love?

You need to rebuild your identity from scratch. You don’t recognize this enlightened person in the mirror. You don’t know how to handle this freedom.

And so the journey continues.

10 out of 10 would do again.

The trip, not life itself.

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