You Are Not Broken

You Are Not Broken

 

to tell you you are not broken cartoon nakedpastor david hayward

(Click on image or here for a digital download.)

Let me try to explain these cartoons because I think it’s important.

Victor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

I’ve also been reading Mattieu Ricard, considered the happiest man on earth. Through reading about him I discovered that he, through meditation, etc., trained himself to collapse this space between stimulus and response so that even auto-responses, like squinting the eyes at a loud noise, are controlled. It’s not that there isn’t a response, it’s that the space between stimulus and response collapses to almost imperceptibility.

I’m reminded of an ancient Tibetan monk who had many disciples. His son died, and he went into a cave to mourn. He didn’t come out for many weeks. His disciples were perplexed and challenged their master: “You taught us that all suffering is an illusion, yet you mourned for so long! Why?” He responded, “Because this illusion was very convincing.”

Sometimes collapsing that space, as well as integrating what we think or feel happened, takes what we perceive as time.

the best healing you're not broken cartoon nakedpastor david hayward

(Click on image or here for a digital download.)

This also relates to theories about time… that it is not real, but a human construct to help us cope with our experience of reality. One idea is that time is simply a series of nows. A series of nows, linked, we perceive as linear time. But the fullness of time is now. Now. Now. Forever, the space between nows, perceptibly collapsed, is all now. There is no past because it doesn’t exist now. There is no future  because it doesn’t exist now either. Infinity is fully present now.

So, the narrative may go like this: we feel we are not broken. But then we experience trauma. Then we heal. Then we are back to the feeling of not broken. Our ability to collapse this space between feeling not broken to feeling not broken is an important process to learn, otherwise we get stuck in this in-betweenness of not feeling whole. I use the word “feeling” on purpose because I truly believe we are not broken, but we can certainly feel it when we are traumatized. I think this traumatization is a fluctuation in our mental state that can be temporary.

Like Sinéad O’Connor’s therapist told her; the reason you go to therapy is to find out there’s nothing wrong with you. Sure, there's a ton of work that occurs in this space. Research. Writing. Theorizing. Therapy. Self-awareness. And so on. All to build or believe a narrative that makes sense to us of how we got from point A… not broken, to point B… not broken… but with an impressive in-between experience that seems to challenge this not-brokenness. What about all those feelings of loss, suffering, pain, struggle, alienation, grief, all of that, and feeling broken? So we build or believe a narrative that helps us make sense of it all. We choose a narrative that works.

This is why I think collapsing that space is crucial to a speedy feeling of recovery, of not-brokenness.

naked or broken cartoon nakedpastor david hayward

(Click on image or here for a digital download.)

This reminds me of another story. In the film The Last Samurai, there is a Samurai lord who has spent his whole life searching for the perfect cherry blossom. Without success. (Spoiler alert!) On his last day, dying on the battlefield, a wind picks up and blows thousands of cherry blossoms across the field. Some land in his hand, and he says, “Perfect! They are all perfect!” I knew this to be true. But how did he get from point A… a beautiful cherry blossom is just a beautiful cherry blossom, to searching for the perfect one… to point B… all cherry blossoms are beautiful cherry blossoms? Because he finally knew that they are all perfect.

Stay with me. I’m going somewhere with this that relates to the cartoon communicating that you’re not broken.

This is how I view all salvation narratives. Yes, all of them! They are all attempts to explain what we think happens in the in-between of perfection and perfection that we call our life experience and all of history.

Let’s take the Christian one, which is the one I grew up with. The narrative goes something like this: We start in the Garden whole. Then we fall. Then we are rescued, repaired, and reconciled. Then we are whole again! From not broken to not broken.

This is the Christian salvation narrative. The collapsed version.

What about all that happened and happens in between… all those feelings of temptations, sin, rejected by God, alienated from God, fear of punishment, enmity between people? All the Christian narratives attempt to do just this, all in their own unique ways.

But the collapsed version of this is very simple… not broken to not broken. The space in between these two realties that are really one reality, is where the narrative tries to make sense of it.

The seemingly long salvation narrative, collapsed into imperceptibly, collapsed into one now, is that we are not broken.

I listened to Gabor Maté on a video where he says,

“So healing is actually recognizing our wholeness… and when we do, and realize that nothing was ever broken, and that if nothing was ever broken, therefore there was nothing ever bad that ever happened to us… If our wholeness was never destroyed then there was no damage. And if there was no damage, then there’s no sinners, there’s no perpetrators.” (@raisethevibration on Tiktok).

So my claim is that our salvation narratives as well as our therapy narratives are our ways of coming to this understanding of our wholeness, our unbrokenness.

You are not broken.

Two disclaimers:

  1. This isn’t to devalue the narratives we construct to explain our pain, or the narratives we construct to explain our spiritual struggle. We value them. But we can learn to collapse them into imperceptibility.
  2. This also isn’t to assume that what I just wrote isn’t just another narrative I built and believe to attempt to explain something I think is true.
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