By Ty H. Phillips
I’ve always wanted to start an article with Jack Nicholson’s line from Batman; “I was sitting in the bath one day when I realized why I was destined for greatness.”
Alas, aside from the mention of it, I cannot. I can however start it with, I was on Facebook one day when a friend of mine who is a satanist reminded me of the Buddha’s teaching on the suffering woman.
I was involved in a thread on child abuse. This is never a fun topic and articles about it tend to show up in my social media feed, which really send me off of the deep end. I have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to child abuse and those who perpetrate it. My friend happened to share an article on another abuser in the news. I left an unseemly comment and tried to go about my day, but as the thread started to expand someone chimed in about hitting and or spanking a child. Both my friend and I were caught up in this thread and we started a dialogue. After an odd series of questions we realized, finally, what the person was getting at—she had been abused as a child, too.
The three of us all shared a common thread in that we were all abused. As the discussion continued my friend made a statement on being a victim or being a survivor provoking the question: are we living in a constant loop of suffering or are we living right now?
When he said that, to some it may have seemed harsh but I heard the voice of the Buddha come from the mouth of this Satanist.
During the Buddha’s life, he was approached by a woman who was grieving from the death of her child. She pleaded with the Buddha to help her with her suffering. Buddha said that he had a cure. He sent her out and told her to find a family who had not suffered and she would be cured.
She went to village after village, to family after family searching to ease to her suffering. No matter where she went though, each person and each family had experienced loss and death. They had all suffered. Eventually she came to realize that the key was not that she was hurting and sad but that she was tormenting herself. She was living in a loop of never ending suffering.
Like those of us who have been victim to abuse the cure is in choosing that we want to live in the present moment. We choose to be present in what is happening now and how we can better ourselves instead of forcing ourselves to live in a past that we cannot change. The suffering did happen, the abuse did happen, the scars are there, but we can choose to not wallow in them.
We can choose to be survivors instead of remaining victims.
This is a time when we can break the cycle of what happened and be everything we were not shown. As is always the case, change lies within. There is no outward savior, there is no outward thing that will make everything better. Our choices are the change we seek.
That old saying is always floating around in times of need, “be the change you want to see.”
Editor: Dana Gornall
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