by Michael Maciel
We’ve all done something that we regret. Shame keeps us from facing the loss that our action caused, which makes it difficult to be with the fact of the results of what we did.
By “fact,” I mean the changed reality that our action created. What we did cannot be undone—and we know it.
But being with the fact is different from mourning the loss. That’s how we know if what we’re feeling is true sorrow and not merely the emotion of sadness. Something has been broken and it cannot be repaired—that’s the fact. And our full-on acceptance of it leaves us feeling profoundly empty.
Emotions cannot exist in emptiness. They have no place there. If we’re in emotional pain, it’s because we haven’t accepted the reality of the absence. That which is gone cannot be retrieved, no matter how much we want it.
True sorrow can only be experienced within the emptiness of the fact of that. So when we finally accept the absence, there is no emotion, because the new reality is empty.
Why go there? Because it’s real. Emotional turmoil happens when we refuse to accept what is. It’s the reaching for the out-of-reach, desiring the unattainable, and the desperate clinging to what no longer exists that causes pain.
In emptiness, there is no pain. And it’s out of emptiness that something new can be born.
When we come to the stark realization that our life is an abject failure, that nothing we have done has gotten us any closer to God, then and only then can we begin our path of return.
Anything more than that is baggage.