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Job, resurrected*

A letter from Tara’s friend, Abby. Abby is a victim of narcissistic abuse by certain family members and has just found out about it.

(featured image is Job and His Three Friends by James Jacques Joseph Tissot)

Tara, dear,
I’m beginning to question why I am being alive at all. Is my purpose to be abused by my family? Did God put me here so that I can be the receiver of abuse? Is this why I was created? I get born, I get to be abused, and then I die without having rest from the abuse?

Just now I was listening to my housemates conversing over our morning cup and the conclusion is that they hope we’ll get together again, the family.

My God, they have no idea how this family destroyed my life, and they can only hope that I be “humble” enough so that we all get “reconciled.”

My God. I will never ever have the chance to have a life as me, Abby, I’m gonna die being used all the way. My being a good person, a good daughter, a good human, has trapped me in this abuse. There’s no escape from it. God Himself allowed me to get this abuse. I have always followed God’s rules and this is the outcome. Is God happy that I ended up like this, and only a decade or two before I die? And then, what, does heaven even exist? What is the sense of my consciousness? Why was I even allowed this awareness? Is God happy that I suffered because of my generosity and humility and understanding and kindness and empathy? I can’t believe it all. God does not make sense.

You know me, Tara. I don’t speak unless I mean it, so may God forgive me. He already knows my thoughts before I wrote down everything.

I’ll see you soon. Until then, take care.

* The Book of Job, in the Bible, tells of the character Job who suffered unimaginable loses despite his adherence to God’s rules as was taught in his day (this was around 4,000 years ago, as is believed by many scholars, in the Arabian region). Job expresses his hurt and existential questions to God in the hearing of his wife and friends. The book is so much worth reading and/or researching about. It tackles one of the most difficult questions of humanity: a suffering that does not make sense.

Tara’s friend, Abby, is experiencing a similar agony to Job’s, though not exactly. I thank Abby and Tara for sharing the core content of Abby’s letter. This letter, together with the thoughts and comments by the readers (that’s you, dear friend), which will eventually contribute to the overall content of this post, will surely help the many persons around the world who are undergoing a similar experience as Job then, and Abby now.

May the posters below be of help to those who are seeking answers. May God bless us all.

Thanks many times to the owners of the posters! (uhuh, I don’t own any of them) Be well, my friend.

Lack of Words

When there’s a lack of words to put up an architecture

of my feelings I spread out wide nets of gropings

out about me, my sensitivities vigilant

to that rare abundance of inspiration.

Like today when the air is dry enough for perpetual

non-awareness I try to squeeze out from the

molecules themselves instances of wisdom that

have been recycled for ages.

Though I must say I do not see at all a

positive correlation between an abundance of

feelings and an abundance of words.

Like that time when I let go of Daddy.

I knew it was a day when my net of feelings

choked me into chitinous silence,

when angry glares and pursed lips were all

I could manage just to stay calm.

And for years now my wellsprings of expressions

where this monotonous pause is concerned has been void

of promptings, though my rhetorics have been abundant,

string upon string of them passing through my temples.

There’s still a lack of words, though bits of my theatricals

have been shamelessly aired to two handfuls of

down-to-earth trusted friends

Jalex, Nonoy, Atan, Toto, Magal, Nene, Emilio, William,

and you.

(written 5 years after Daddy died, missing him)

Growing Up

I fought through this long journey

with stacks of innocence.

I went through the road with nothing on me

but knowledge of others’ wisdom gleaned

through long years of monotonous rote

learning through reading and hearing

of possibilities happening to journeyers like me.

As I went through the road with

almost nothing on me, the gleaning along

pointed out to me in shock and in

envy, in fear and in worry, that

either I’m on the wrong road, or on the

wrong side of the road, or behind

the road, or on the road that

leads on and on.

As I am going through this road

with very little on me, I know

I have my own with me;

what precious very little I carry I earned,

paid with precious shattered innocence.

(15th July 2002)

Photo on top by Isaac Wendland on Unsplash

Photo by Keenan Barber on Unsplash

Having My Sabbath

Leave me alone in this small space I own.

I am having my Sabbath.

Do not share my breath and my ears.

Do not touch my skin.

I have wrapped my arms around myself

and have settled for the ritual.

Do not steal my time.

You do not see the damage you inflict on my face.

You are carelessly cruel and greedy.

You envy the precious nothing that I have.

Why are you still killing the dead that I am?

There is nothing more I can give.

I only have my breathing, my heartbeat, my tempered will,

and all these precious loaned, limited. Precious.

Oh my God, make the circumstances merciful toward me.

(composed 3rd week of July 1997)

Lessons from Taoism: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times

My mom has always advised me, “Let your mind, your thinking, flow like water.” Little did she know that she was advocating a Taoist priciple in order to cope with the heavier stresses in life. I thank Mr. Andrew for his very good post, which follows…

A Life of Virtue: Philosophy as a Way of Life

It was at a university book sale where I was first introduced to the ideas of Taoism. Hidden away deep in the philosophy section, I picked up what initially seemed like a strange esoteric book – the Tao Te Ching. It was a short text, under 100 pages, that was filled with often puzzling language and concepts which seemed contradictory at first.

As I dived deeper into the book exploring its key themes and lessons, I saw its potential to act as a roadmap for inner freedom and liberation. Moreover, I understood the possibility for Taoist ideas to be used as a remedy for the anxiety of our current age. A period in which we have come to measure success in terms of status, wealth and power. Mass pop culture has propagated homogeneity and conformity, resulting in everyone feeling the need to be the same. This has detached us from…

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To See Clearly

Have you ever had an experience when you felt that you can see clearer, that scales have fallen off your eyes and you can see more detail in the world? I’ve had two such experiences before. I got the third one a couple of days ago.

The first one was when I was 17 years old. I was listening to a preacher who had come to talk to us kids at the university about his faith (I was by then already in my third year of my Liberal Arts undergrad majoring in mathematics, which means I was at the verge of getting ready to handle heavier faith-stuff relative to the usual). Because of the preacher’s message, this was impressed into me: the possibility and the rightness and the importance of being able to examine in my head, with rational tools, the essence and substance of my inherited system of faith-beliefs. That was emancipating. An awakening.

The second one was when I was already writing my doctoral dissertation in delightful Regensburg (nope, it wasn’t an ostentatious nor a well-traveled period at all, which is one of my regrets!). It was a usual cold winter morning, in my little student’s apartment. I was about to sit on the grandest seat of the house (guess where!), and, voila, I got it suddenly, an enlightenment I called it, and I even wrote a post about it in my old blog… that… there are no rules. THERE ARE NO RULES.

Before that day I was discovering zen buddhism for some time with whatever video or post I had the time to read or listen to. It’s a fascinating way of life, this consciously embracing zen, which is outside of the ‘rational.’ Nevertheless, something like a satori happened to me (oh, ah, uhuh, if you think I don’t know what I’m talking about, then I won’t be offended if you tell me).

Obviously there are rules, and I know this, and I have no problems with rules. But knowing that there are no rules [from the perspective of the ‘universe’] made sense to me. That happened as I was sitting on that grandest seat in my little apartment (haha!).

meditating on the grand seat

The third one was basically a couple of days ago but I got a delayed reaction — the feeling that scales have fallen off my eyes and I could see clearly — which did not happen until this morning as I was about to sit on …tada!… the grandest seat in the house (again! And to many people this is also where and when innovative thoughts suddenly dawn on them with clarity!).

This most recent ‘enlightenment’ is something personal, with several people involved, and so I cannot talk about it here just yet. Nevertheless, as I was sitting on the grandest seat this morning, I thought of having “leapt that quantum leap of realization, a fantastic escape from one understanding onto the next that wouldn’t have happened had I not insisted on pushing my perception to the extreme, and so confront the now glaring obvious… and the solutions to my recurring puzzles are finally laid bare, tantamount to being able to see the foundation of matter, the ‘strings,’ the basics of the stuff that are of Heisenberg’s uncertainty idea. The big puzzle of my life is now dissipated, puffed out, gone with the wind.”

It has liberated me, allowed me to move freely, think clearly, see better, and so act accordingly. With caution and with tentative steps. To newly found breathing space. It is envigorating.

I hope you understand what I’m saying here. It is good, these opening-of-the-eyes experiences in a non-esoteric sense. Something I can casually talk about with friends over cake and a cup of tea anytime.

Thanks for the read and the smile! Incidentally, I’m listening to traditional Japanese koto music as I write this post. Lovely music. The featured image at the top is the golden Kinkakuji Temple in Japan. Have a great day!

This GIF-art is by “Segawa 37” or “Thirty-Seven Segawa”; [Segawa Atsuki].

Finally, I Begin

Written in February 20, 2014.

beach (1)

Three years I surfed the pages,

arms extended, fingers outstretched,

the gray continental sky indifferent to my need for light;

beach (2)

Three years I paced the shore,

back and forth, tracing the break’s contour,

shifting, ephemeral, undulating;

beach (4)

On the beach on the sand that is my brain,

lets information, like water, in,

pass through, then away, soaked;

Three years the troughs and crests and I

kept holding hands and letting go.

beach (5)

The other day I traced the shore at the bus stop.

Concrete platform undulating like lapping waves.

Cigarette butts like flotsam lining the pavement.

beach (7)

I saw the sea foam in my mind.

I smelled the salty air.

I heard the rush and splash.

I felt the breeze in my hair.

beach (8)
A fisherman cleaning his net.

Three years came to pass and I arrived

at how it should have been all along. I have beached.

Today is July 15, 20021.

It was a tremendous relief when my Doktorvater, my dissertation supervisor, finally agreed with how I envisioned my research work to proceed. When I wrote the above meditation-verse, I was celebrating with the sound of the sea in my ears, the wide sky looking down on me and the extensive beach, and my feet getting ready to wade through the vast ocean of information ahead. I knew that I had a very long way to go.

Landing on the beach is also a picture of restfulness. I felt that I have reached a base after a long time of aimless wandering. That was a great happy time, just me and my beach in my head and the almost empty university bus-stop, newly constructed, in Regensburg, the concrete platform edges gently undulating before my downcast eyes as I gaze, in my usual fascination, at the cigarette butts strewn all over the pretty pebbles.

It was a dreary winter day but I felt spring light my spirit.

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