Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pathologically Yours

I can't say enough good things about Do Nothing: Peace for Everyday Living: Reflections on Chuang Tzu's Philosophy by Siroj Sorajjakool! Though it's a very small book -- the main section is a tad over 100 pages -- I keep finding one great insight after another. It seems that the author and I share many personality traits in common and so his personal stories really resonate with me.

I am reading the book very slowly. While I probably could polish it off in no more than a day or two, I've found that I only want to read a few pages at a time. After I read one of his many insights, I put the book down consciously to reflect on a particular sentiment or to allow his wisdom to sit with me for a while.

In the second section of Chapter 5, he writes about his social awkwardness, anxiety and depression. And then he wrote something that I too have come to see as a special gift.
These "pathologies" have granted me the permission to descend into the very depths of my soul...Our weakness, our deficiency, our pathology can be our calling as well.
The word pathology means "outside the norm." When an individual suffers from a not-so-common disease, syndrome or condition, you acutely FEEL outside of the normal parameters of life. You see yourself as isolated and alone. It's when you come face-to-face with your pathology that you dive deep within yourself and scrape around the core of who you really are.

Contrast this with someone leading a "happy go lucky" life. When things seem just to hum along, there is far less impetus to dig down inside. You skip along the surface and breath in all life has to offer. The world is your flower and you happily pluck its petals.

At some point, however, we each need to descend to the depths of our being. Often times, the "happy go lucky" person doesn't know where to begin. The depths appear frightening and dark, so they decide to find an escape route. They may run and run, but eventually it will swallow them up.

Consequently, in a manner of speaking, those of us who suffer from pathologies have a leg up on the norm. We have a blessed gift that we too often fail to recognize. Because of our isolation, we more readily descend into those depths and, from these experiences, we can gain some insights and wisdom that many others will never experience.

I can certainly say that, for the longest time, I certainly didn't see my struggles with autism and Klinefelter's Syndrome as gifts. I do now and the way I try to share this gift with others is by writing about my experiences and ruminations on this blog.

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