Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM

            Edgar Allen Poe wrote a short story called “The Pit and The Pendulum” that was a classic horror story. It described a man who was tied down in a pit and forced to watch as a pendulum with a sharp blade descended upon his abdomen. Back and forth it went, lower and lower until…well, read the story and find out for your self. The relevance of this story is that we experience life in much the same way, on a pendulum that swings between pleasure and pain and life feels much like a roller coaster. We go through the highs of pleasure and then through the lows of pain. It is only an illusion of time that it seems that the pleasure is only momentary while the pain goes on forever. The truth is that it is only our perception that makes it this way.

All of the self-help genre is finally getting on board with the notion that what happens is not as important as how we think about what happens. The irony of that is we can’t control what happens, but we can certainly control what we think about. Only the mentally ill or lazy would disagree. If you can focus for any amount of time on a thought, then you have the ability to control your thinking with enough practice and discipline. Obviously, we have to have the training and desire to control our thinking, and that is not a common thing. Only a small percentage of the population is willing to let go of victimhood, fantasy and delusion. It seems that everyone is hanging on to those deadly three concepts because that is how we are trained to think by those who profit from us thinking that way.

The other relevance of Edgar Allen Poe’s story is that we torture ourselves by being addicted to pleasure and terrified of pain. The truth is it is all the same, it is only our programming that makes us think one is good and one is bad. A higher perspective would show us that we learn the most from what we think is pain and we stop growing when we wallow in pleasure. Life is about growth, evolution and enlightenment. If we stop growing, we die. So we might as well learn to excel at growth. Now I am not advocating self-inflicted pain. There seems to be enough pain to go around without looking for it. What I am saying is rise above the self-pity and be grateful for whatever you think is pleasure and whatever you think is pain.

If one thinks about it, the most chaotic point on a pendulum is the bottom end that swings the furthest. There motion is constant, going between the best and the worst. With a small change of thinking, we can transcend the chaos up to the top of the pendulum. At the center, there is peace and calm. There is joy and equilibrium. At the center is the divine. The divine has been described as the limitless center of a circle with no circumference. To get there is not as hard as you may think.

Sit comfortably and breathe deeply until you are completely relaxed. Empty your mind of worry and anxiety; the boundary of the divine is fear. If you let go of fear, the divine will reach out and embrace you. Imagine that you are looking at a soap bubble that is ginormous. You reach out and touch it. It is soft and slippery. Take a deep breath, and ask the divine to let you in. As you go through the membrane, you leave all of your limitations, your anxiety, your doubt, and your fear behind. You are nothing but pure love and joy. Once you are inside, you feel nothing but the pure energy of love. You float; because you are fully supported. Your body morphs into the body you have always wanted. Your thoughts are positive, joyful and grateful. There is no want, fear or lack. You are complete. As you get to the center of this huge soap bubble, your thoughts expand until they no longer exist. You are simply joy and happy now. And you stay there as long as you want. When you are ready, you can come back into your body, knowing how you are designed to be.

This is the top of the pendulum of life. There is no pleasure or pain at the top, only joy and bliss. There is no worry, anxiety or fear, that all exists at the bottom of the pendulum and is the sharp blade that tortures us and then kills us. Where we live on this pendulum is our choice. Simply meditate on going through the membrane that is in reality the illusion of life. Find your truest self and escape the pit and the pendulum.

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