The Pulse of Life
So I have been on this Bonanza binge lately. The episode “The Quality of Mercy” had a quote from the patriarch Ben Cartwright that spoke of the sacredness of life in the context of suffering and healing. To paraphrase, he implied that where there is suffering there is life struggling to survive. This is true. It is even demonstrated when we suffer a flesh wound. When we get a wound, we learn that the wound area gets warm, certain physiological processes go into action, to repair the area injured. Sometimes the healing process needs assistance, and this, is the birth of the medical profession. However, sometimes the process of healing can be maladaptive…and again, the insights of the medical profession helps to fix this miscarriage of the healing impulse of life.
But sometimes decisions are made about the life of others because of a lack of regard for our own lives. We don’t know how to process the suffering we have encountered in our own lives, and this escalates into maladaptive resolutions that reflect the lack of the value of our own life. Sometimes we seek obvert measures that can give us some indication, no matter how effervescent, of the value of our own existence. Some people, who have lost the will to live, either follow the path of aimless or focused striving, descending into a animalistic and material livelihood, which is succored by the prevailing philosophies and psychological wisdoms of the day, and some people, although conscious of their lost of the will to live, attempt to fulfill some purpose in life, but at the same time they sabotage themselves, because they have not adopted some idea of an intrinsic worth of life, and, especially of their own life in any context.
But to live, nonetheless, one must admit to an impulse of life that is physical, mental, and spiritual. And if this impulse is warped, the impulse itself becomes broken and warped, and it can turn against the injured soul and all that comes within its path. In this struggle to survive, we have to be able to recognize when the impulse to life is warped and when it is healthy.
If we are not aware of how our particular encounters with evil have warped our thinking, our conscious, or understand that the results of these are darkened, we fall into a false life. We think that we are surviving, but actually, we run to the dark thing at the end of the tunnel that beckons us thither, and away from a true understanding of what it means to be alive. And what we think is mercy, is actually a distorted attempt to live, to survive whatever encounters with evil and its false axioms that we have accepted.
In our society we have images that are thrusted upon us, and of them there are those which indicate a truth about life, and there are those images that indicate a falsity about life.
We have the right to figure it out on our own, and we have the right to accept help in figuring it out. The thing we choose to be, the image we accept as a measure of ourselves will affect every decision we make for all of our lives, and we ourselves will be responsible for those decisions.
I learnt this the hard way, and some of my unhealthy regrets and feelings of remorse, have led me to the brink of death, not only the soul death that I have been fighting and continue to fight, but to the death of my body in this life, a death seeking an elusive peace from the struggle and suffering in this world, and from the world within my sickened soul.
But suffering can be not only an indication of being wounded, injured, the result of an encounter with the dark fallenness of this world, it can also be an indication of healing, but this latter can only occur in an environment of healing that addresses the physical, the mental and especially the spiritual aspects of healing. Once one learns that one is valued, and that one is loved, and one learns to accept this, (and this is a process), then one is able to discern an authentic love of self, a self love that will be able to value the ‘self’ of others. That other can be the significant other, and the product of the union of intercourse with that significant other.
I think a component of the fall of mankind is a lack of will to truly live. Nowadays, Life is presented in so many varied forms and discerning which is the true life is difficult to learn or even to recognize without a sense of loss or lack. Because it is a definite life of sacrifice, to begin the effort of choosing the walkabout of the true life. But the economy of God, even with its boundaries, can embrace every circumstance in our lives and transform them and instead of a feeling of lack, one can experience the abundant joy that comes from the healing life.
The truth is that man is an immortal being, and his worm will last for eternity. But in order to truly survive, one must learn to value oneself, in order to be able to understand the gift of healing that is presented to us, to be able to accept the guidance, to develop the courage and strength to walk the path toward valuing oneself, truly and deliberately and to receive within one’s soul the understanding that the true value of the human being is intrinsically, ontologically expressed via the relationship between the Creator, Jesus Christ, and oneself.
The images we embrace reflect beliefs we have about ourselves and the world around us. They are signs on the road of life that we have chosen to follow. In my saddest days, when I have reflected on decisions I have made in my life, I realized that I had made them from a place of a lack of value of my own life, I have pushed away relationships and life, because I did not value my own worth as a human being in these relationships, nor did I have confidence in my own ability to be able to love any other human being or to be loved by any human being. This is the true face of selfishness, its qualities comes from the wound sustained from an encounter with fallenness, with evil. It is interesting how evil can be defined as lack of God, or more poignantly, a lack of Love. It is also equally interesting, how the words health, holiness, and sanctification all have a root in words that mean whole, perfect, healthy, sanctified, which can only be found, truly, in a redemptive life. But, as stated above, oftentimes we do not know what true healthiness is.
Nonetheless, there is a pulse of life within us, and that pulse of life is relational, with spiritual dimensions, and it is as eternal as we are. And this is, perhaps, a necessary understanding we must have about the instinctual immortality of the pulse of life, in order to be able to choose true life for ourselves and thus to be able to choose true life with or for others.