The Healing Journey Is Bullshit
For a lot of my life, I thought there was something wrong with me. I was 7 years old and on the playground in school. A girl named Eva walked up to me and screamed “you have cooties!” Everyone around me laughed. My chest closed up, I emotionally shut down, and I felt completely disconnected in my own body. At that moment, I told myself there’s something wrong with me, and then I spent many years collecting evidence to fit my case until it just became the way it was. However, the “I” was not really me but the little voice in my head that is constantly running in the background spewing automatic thoughts. Who I am is the one who notices the little voice. Those two I’s – the one that is an expression of the Self and one that is the automatic machinery going on in the background that we have is often collapsed into the same thing. For the purpose of this article going forward: when I refer to “myself” I’m speaking of the Self or the one who notices the automatic survival machinery. When I refer to my “identity” I’m speaking to the automatic machinery, the roughly 60,000 thoughts I have per day.
The Personal Development Identity
I’ve been into personal development since I’m a teenager. I read all the famous self-help books, practiced meditation, knew all there was to know about gratitude and vulnerability and being in touch with how you feel, I did therapy, and was very into learning about Charlie Munger’s mental models to help be rational in life. While I am passionate about personal development/the human potential movement today, my initial started with my identity pulling me into the world. Doing personal development was simply a means to fix myself under the made up belief I had for myself called “there’s something wrong with me” which I had collected thousands of pieces of evidence for over many years. Over the years as I got better and better at “coping” with it, underneath it became worse and worse. Whatever we resist, persists and we become what we resist. At the neurological level, every time I was doing something in order to fix something being wrong with me, to fix some disempowering way of being, some disempowering story I had about a thought or emotion, I ended up creating more synapses for the very thing I was trying to overcome.
Experiencing Being Whole And Complete
Living life from this context left me with the experience of not being whole and complete, like there something always missing. My version of fixing this was “to get better” which was just a way to fix or in personal development jargon “heal” something from the past.
There’s Something Wrong
“There’s something wrong here, I need to fix it” became I need to heal myself, discover my disempowering patterns from my wounded inner child, be vulnerable, and practice gratitude, and whatever other technique based bullshit I did. All this led to my identity doing lots of work on itself to get better and now knowing lots of jargon, techniques, and practices to fix and heal myself.
I still had massive anxiety, I still felt deep down like something was missing, and I still didn’t feel completely vital and alive even though I had all the purpose-driven language. I even used the term “transformation” even though it was mostly my identity doing the driving of that wheel which just led to a more, better, different version of the past. There was still a heaviness to my life. However, I would justify where I was at and avoid responsibility by telling myself I was on a “healing journey” and that I would simply be able to be where I was at and that it would be a long process of “getting better.”
It’s All Meaningless And Made Up
When I saw that everything in my life was made up, when I saw that I was not my identity but had an identity, that I was not my personality, but had a personality, and that I wasn’t even my body, but had a body— I was free. However, the moment my identity took on that I was free, it became the new trap, the new identity. That is the pitfall.
Disconnecting From The Machinery
However, in that moment of disconnecting from my machinery and fully connecting with my own self-expression, everything I had been “working on” for many years disappeared. I saw that it was all identity-based work. It was all about fixing, changing, and dealing with the past. When I got complete, my past stop impacting to me. There was this weight off my shoulder. There was no more healing journey. There was nothing to heal. The Self is already always perfect and whole.
Being Free From Anxiety And PTSD
After going through a traumatic experience, I went to a therapist just as a double-check on my own mental-health. The therapist says, “I don’t understand how it’s possible you don’t have PTSD right now.” I said, “because I’m not my identity.” She didn’t understand and I spent some time with her sharing with her what I discovered in this realm for myself and encouraged her to be able to take this on herself so she could make a difference with her clients/patients going forward.
This distinguishing of Self is still missing in much our cultural conversations around personal development. In the realm of therapy, anxiety and depression is often still treated as an illness and something to fix or change despite many therapists with a mental health background reporting cure rates of nearly 80-90% within just a few days. In the realm of personal development in a non-therapeutic sense— “transformation” has now devolved into a buzzword where people look to heal themselves from their past and go on this journey. The psychological trap is that you will see results and that it is certainly more effective than repressing everything. However, it’s just a more “woke” trap of fixing yourself than say giving yourself a lobotomy or putting yourself into a mental institution where you will be treated as you are sick and have something wrong with you which you could say is “not woke.” However, they are two sides of the same coin. They are both about fixing, changing, and getting better from the past. They are both about figuring out why you are the way you are and practicing techniques such as vulnerability and gratitude or psychological re-framing. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. It’s simply not a very reliable access to transformation. Those who practice transformation as a place to “get to” miss the point. There is no healing journey. The healing journey is a journey of “always almost there.” It’s often intense and dramatic and chaotic. Transformation is access to the Self. Experiencing Self vs our beliefs about it. A focus on loving yourself, I can’t love others until I love myself, positive thinking, working on it, coping, surviving — that’s all in the realm of survival. That’s all in the realm of fixing and changing. It’s whipped cream on shit which is still shit. Eckhart Tolle gained access to this space through attempting to kill himself. Werner Erhard gained access to this randomly while driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. However, there are many people who spend a lifetime working on healing themselves, working on getting better.
Transformation Only Happens In An Instant
As Werner Erhard would say, “Transformation happens in an instant and it’s never longer than an instant.”
It’s not something to be explained, understood, interpreted, or gotten intellectually. Healing inherently is healing from the past. It’s not completition. It’s not transformation. It’s another form of fixing, of technique, of more, better, different, than the past. It’s still connected to the past.
Transformation Is A Threat To Self-Healers
The healing journey is a journey where you will die “already almost there” or “already almost healed.”
This threatens people— especially those who have been “doing the work” for many years.
Human beings like to over complicate things, especially when some part of their own survival is at stake. If everyone got this, the need for therapy (in its current form) would plummet overnight. It’s no different than if Warren Buffett taught every investing class in the country, many classes would only be a few weeks long and most of the modern portfolio theory would cease to be taught at all. A lot of professors have a lot of psychological skin in the game to keep the status-quo around.
The Enlightened Asshole
I’m writing this article from California right now — which is the Mecca of “the enlightened asshole.” The one’s on their healing journey. “Doing the work” gets in the way of “getting complete.”
You can spend decades “doing the work” and it only takes “an instant and never longer than an instant to be transformed.”
The healing journey is a game of brokenness and of victimhood. It’s a game of avoiding responsibility for all of it under the guise of already always almost there.
Fuck that shit.