1.Â Lit.Â a region of the afterlife on the border of hell. (In some Christian religions, there is aÂ limboÂ set aside for souls that do not go to either heaven or hell. This sense is used only in this religious context. (*Typically:Â beÂ ~;Â remain ~; stay ~.)Â The baby’s soul was in limbo because she had not been baptized.
2.Â Fig.Â in a state of neglect; in a state of oblivion; in an indefinite state; on hold. (*Typically:Â be ~; leaveÂ something ~;Â putÂ something ~.)Â We’ll have to leave the project in limbo for a month or two.Â After I got hit on the head, I was in limbo for about ten minutes.
My dreams, my hopes have shattered. The dreams still in waiting ofÂ fulfillment don’t have my spirited input in deed and consequence.
All my intimate relationships have broken up, and the one I intended to be true… it’s hopeless.
A deep understanding of my father’s words, five years before he seized the opportunity to die, that he was tired of it all and that he wanted to go.
As I’m entering into all this, deciding not to avoid the pain inside, the dark cloud of thoughts in my head, I see that unawareness doesn’t cure suffering, and never has. Escaping with organic chemicals,Â distilledÂ or grown, Â escaping into stories as told on flat screens and pages, drifting off in any way, may alleviate the churning sadness in the guts and heart, the actual emotional pain coursing through my innards. But it doesn’t alleviate the suffering, at best it postpones it. Until now.
And in the middle of this, as I walk the streets, an acute clarity of vision arises. As if the shallows were removed, the flatness of the mental screen. A fleeting shine in the eyes of a child far away hits the inner eyes with freshness, opening up the sky of clear vision even more. There is no hope in that, it’s the flicker of the inner sun. As if a star shows up momentarily in the clear dark.
Intentions? Face it andÂ withhold nothing.
Feelings? Hopeless sadness.
Activity? Contemplating shattered dreams, broken promises, manipulations, the hurt and suffering I instigated, the wounds of treason and destroyed intimacy, and yes, sure, the friends that are not here in the flesh, the embraces I refused, the endless self-boycottsÂ and failures I meticulously produced. The unawareness, the sleep, the obfuscation of the pain, the projections, the escape of thinking big thoughts and grand projects, and all the myriad ways to numb the sense of hell that humanity keeps warm for all creatures, the doom hanging over us all.
Ah, yes, calling on my enlightened oasis, energizing my inner bodhisattva, hopping into the non-dualÂ dimensionsÂ … I could do that. But I’m not in the mood to leave the limbo, knowing these spaces to be truly empty whereas this limbo is substantially alive.
I’m lost. And accepting the intrinsic purposelessness of reality, of what is substantially alive, how could there be assurance or certainty? Where would you place a foundation in a bottomless polyverse?
I’ll stay here and be lost until I’m found, if being found is part of the pattern of my life’s reflection on the waters of the Mystery. As in my darker dreams where I know where I’m going, where I do have a goal to reach, but everything conspires toÂ thwartÂ me reaching any significant advance.
As my friend Â says, “I got drunk in another place. Let the one who poured me the wine find me and bring me home, if that is where my steps are to lead.”
And over night, in my sleep, I left this place. Transported by my inner tribe to another sky.
There is an inkling somewhere of a meaning not translatable to any other spaces, like something lurking at the threshold of awareness, never to enter, always around the corner; like a dream just before we remember it.
And there is this other idea that I connect to my experiences with the Circle of the Heart. In it we always reach the place where we have to accept our utter failure to make ‘It’ (in that case the We, the Circle Being) happen; were we have to accept that we cannot do anything more to invoke, conjure up, install, (co-)create the “Next”. It is utterly beyond our reach, our grip, our power. We have to die to our ability. And then, of its very own accord, it may enter…
I can’t help but notice the enormous energy most people expand to avoid suffering in their own lives and the life of those they cherish. Nevertheless it looks to me as if this very avoidance brings much more suffering.
Not only the Buddha promises – he does so categorically if I’m not mistaken – that there is an end to suffering but similar promises are made by mystics, spiritual masters, enlightened beings etc., and these promises are behind much of psychology and advertising as well. On the other hand I know from studying my own life and that of others that we cannot avoid suffering and that it is part of the depth of being human.
I’m not a masochist that enjoys suffering. Nevertheless, the further I go on my path in this life the more I see that all feelings and emotions are enhanced. And suffering is one of these feelings.
No, suffering doesn’t diminish once one has embarked on the spiritual path. Rather it becomes more and more subtle! I don’t suffer from the romantic ‘nonsense’ that Hollywood sells as a fulfilling relationship (or lack thereof) anymore – love is quite beyond romanticism – rather I keep discovering deeper and more subtle ‘cramps’ inside me (disregarding the environment and the suffering I see there and sometimes resonate with; a suffering that also is more and more clear and perceptible).
Yet, with the ability to give all this suffering space in me more and more I see the transfiguration of this suffering into what I would call ‘human depth.’ I don’t, of course, when I accept suffering “strategically” (accepting it so that it will change). Suffering, difficulty, problems – to accept these is not very hard if one sees clearly that sufferings do not disappear by not wanting to perceive/have them. And it doesn’t disappear by applying the label “illusion” either. And why would it? It’s part of being embodied and alive.
Suffering is real, just as joy is. If we do understand this and live it, then the suffering loses it’s sting…