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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who Is Your Black Hole?

Everyone either knows one, or has one. Similar to the vampire, the black hole sucks away all your energy. But unlike the vampire, the black hole does not actively pursue your energy. In fact, your black hole may not even know that you're there.

Like a cosmic black hole, a person fitting this description is an unlimited vacuum, with an insatiable appetite. But whatever you throw at this person--the energy, the love, the affection, the anger--it is instantly destroyed. Not even the residue of your energy remains. Literally nothing can escape the destructive power contained within this person.

Because I am a caring, compassionate human being with love and faith for people, I have found myself uselessly slinging energy into these black holes. Indeed, I used to think that I could only be a caring, compassionate human being IF I flung my energy at these black holes.

Of course, at the time, I had no idea these people were black holes. They were people I loved and cared about, felt attachment to and affection for. But now that I see their true nature, I am no longer slowly destroying my own life to save theirs. I still love them. But I now know I can't save them.

The person who is a black hole has the same kind of fearsome pull that these gravitational marvels do. They hurt themselves, hate themselves, hurt others, hate others, destroy themselves, try to destroy others. Their desperation and misery are what makes nice people like you and me so eager, so willing, to help them.

But here is the lesson: No one--and I mean no one--can help them. The only help they will ever have must be of their own volition.

In the meantime, until you learn this lesson, you will do many things: You will neglect your own pursuits, you will neglect your health, your family, your friends and your neighbors. You will neglect your career and your hobbies, your sense of humor and your civic duty. But wait, you say--I have friends, I have a family, I have hobbies.

But if you have a black hole in your life that you are actively attending to, you are showing up, maybe, but you have little left to give to those things. You are not really there. And the reason is because the energy you're slinging into that sad, inescapable darkness is never returned to you. You are being sucked dry.

The saddest part of the black hole/energy donor relationship is that you may be doing everything you can to perpetuate that person's misery. Sure, it's unintentional, but the maw of this ravenous beast only grows larger the more it has to devour. In fact, while you can't help this person, you may actually speed the process of their self-help by starving the beast of your energy.

Now, of course, not everyone who needs help is a black hole. But if you've read this far, you already know if you have one in your life or not. Their energy is unmistakable, their sadness and emptiness seemingly infinite.

Here is another lesson: You are not selfish or wicked if you no longer want to dump your energy into this abyss. Far from it. You are not lazy or bad. Nothing you did caused this black hole, and so nothing you do can repair it.

Reclaiming your energy from this enormous drain is, if you can believe it, the least selfish thing you can do. Because actually, thinking you--one person--can solve this person's incalculable suffering, is actually a very egotistical act. You may be great, even a hero to many. But this level of darkness requires a force far greater than a single, fallible human being. Your ego may hope that you can work miracles, you may yearn for the day when you can say you saved someone, because that would feel so good. But that's your ego, and it's not telling you the truth. What that person needs is the kind of seismic spiritual shift that cannot come from the material world, and that includes you. So, yes, you're important, but you're also not that important.

So reclaim your energy. No matter where you put it--be it for your health, your intellect, your cooking, your job--no matter where, it will be better than where it's going right now. It will do more good for you-- and for the world--for that energy to not be uselessly, futilely, instantly destroyed.

I wish that those of you struggling with black holes may find peace.

1 comment:

Paul Burke said...

Hi I stumbled into your blog - very nice - keep up the good work...!