a few months ago

My life is too much for me

I fought under the delusion that I needed to win. I fought under the delusion that winning was the only option. I fought under the delusion that if I failed, I would suffer. And I thought that suffering was to be avoided at all costs.

And *that* was pure suffering.

I just looked up the word “irony” in the dictionary. And what I’ve just described is the definition of irony.

I was struggling to avoid suffering…and that was suffering.

I have been using past tense to describe this irony. And it is true that it is past tense. But it is always past tense (or future tense…but never now). It has always been past tense (or future tense…but never now). It is past tense (or future tense…but never now) for everyone, including you.

Suffering is past tense. Or future tense. But never now.

But it is not LONG past. It is immediate past tense. And it is always immediate future tense…just waiting to pounce in the next second.

Seemingly sandwiched between the immediate past suffering and the immediate future suffering, here I am. Here is my life, being squeezed between these two immediacies.

Like a hunted animal…like a *trapped* hunted animal…here I am. Me and my life squeezed between these two immediacies.

Now, in the past I fought. And in every future I can imagine I am fighting.

Here now being squeezed, I am in a unique position.

Here now I can choose to maintain the unbroken fighting streak, to carry it through from the immediate past to the immediate future.


Or I can choose to tell the truth.

The truth is that my life is too much for me.

I look honestly at all my struggles, all my fears, all my reactivity, all my conditioning as it shows up here now, and I tell the truth. I am a trapped hunted animal.

And now here’s a question I never asked in the past and I’ll never ask in the future. But I can ask it here now. That question is: what will win if I win and what will I lose if I lose?

And the honest answer is that I don’t know.

This is where I find peace. In the most unexpected place and in the most unexpected way. It is a surrender to the unknown.

Surrender isn’t safe. It is not arrival. It is not winning.

Surrender is unknown. Which is simply the truth.

My life is too much for me.

I find peace here now surrendering to “my life” as it is, as it “unfolds”.

I don’t find peace in the pursuit of winning. I only find suffering.

My life is too much for me. And the invitation here now is to stop carrying the burden.

What a relief.

I have dozens if not hundred if not thousands of hopes each day. These hopes are imbecilic ideas I grasp at, as I call out “Save me!”

Each of those imbecilic ideas involves some fighting, some struggle, some method of overcoming what is hunting me. Each is based on the false notion that I will escape my trap.

I am not a winner. I have not arrived at victory.

My only salvation is found here now in admitting defeat *and* receiving defeat.

I can’t just use empty words or rely on some hollow memory of some supposed insight. I can’t fake true defeat. Any fakery is suffering, which is pain.

I can’t afford to fake it. I’m bankrupt. I’m completely without any further resources to draw upon. I’m a trapped hunted animal.

I have to be sincere in my honesty. Anything less is not true honesty. And only truth can deliver me from suffering.

Truth is not something I remember. Truth is something I recognize. I must look here now and see this freshly now. I must see that my life is too much for me.

And I see that by watching all the impulses to fight, to struggle, to win. Just watch them. Just watch their complete impotence.

And then watch the rage and terror just underneath the surface. The instant the veneer of being someone, having something, or knowing something is seen through, there just beneath is the rage and terror.

This is what I have attempted to avoid. This is what I thought was suffering.

But I must see clearly here now that the trap that I am caught in is 100% of my doing. It is 100% made of attempts to avoid suffering.

My suffering is only my attempt to avoid suffering.

And seen more clearly, my suffering is only my attempt to avoid the rage and terror just beneath my complete impotence.

My life is too much for me. And the only things I can grasp at for protection are rage and terror.

When I see this clearly, I discover peace.

No, let me rephrase that. When I experience the truth of this, I discover peace.

True seeing is the same as experiencing the truth of this. That is the same as surrender. That is the same as defeat. That is the same as not knowing. That is the same as telling the truth.

This peace is not mine. I don’t get to have it.

And isn’t that good news? I may not be the smartest person on the planet, but I can spot an obvious truth such as this one: I cannot be trusted with peace. I would only mess it up.

So fortunately, I don’t get to have it.

But I do get to surrender to it. I do get to admit the truth: my life is too much for me.

Joey Lott

Joey Lott is the author of numerous books, including The Best Thing That Never Happened and The Little Book of Big Healing. He lives in southern Vermont with his wife and children.

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