By Edward Ramos AKA Blue
Here are two brief but insightful essays by Edward Ramos. I think that we can reflect on many of his questions while thinking about our own lives outside of prison. We can think of ways in which we can live more in line with our goals, to be better, more considerate people, and to live more simply.
Eyes of the Heart
Whatever you expect to find, it all depends on where, and how, you look. Are you looking for peace or war? Do you desire something temporary, or something good that will last a lifetime? Would you prefer a fleeting smile on your face or a permanent smile in your heart? Is the quick high of a drug better than the eternal joy of watching your children grow? Why are so many of us so ready to go for the worst when we can seek the best, or sometimes already have the best, yet choose to go after the worst? What is your answer?
Suffering traumatic experiences creates a shell within the mind to protect it from the destructive feelings of extreme pain. Our soul is created to survive, and it is equipped with some very creative measures to protect us from all kinds of harm to our emotions that we nurture. Unfortunately, despite these protective measures, and a further effect of horrific abuse or intense trauma we may suffer in childhood, we don’t develop the necessary skills we all critically need in life to survive and prosper. We are breathing, and our hearts beat, but are we really alive when we hide from reality? Or do we just go through the motions, but don’t really live?
If a person suffers extreme emotional trauma it’s common to adopt a habit of perpetually running away from our most intense feelings. However, running from our emotions can lead us to become antisocial, angry, to drug and/or alcohol abuse, even suicide. Resorting to such behavior gives the illusion of relieving stress and anxiety, as well as the pain of emotional distress, rejection, and abandonment, but in actuality it costs us the confidence and relationships of loved ones, maybe even more readily leading us closer to death. We then allow that shell which initially protected our mind to grow until it covers our whole self, which converts us from something we are into something we’re not. The end result is sad because happiness will elude us until we take the time to tear down the walls we’ve erected around ourselves and passionately seek to rediscover who it is that’s hiding behind all the illusions we’ve taken refuge behind. Let the good one come out.
The biggest danger comes when people get comfortable behind their masks, playing at roles, and end up forgetting who they really are, completely losing tough with their self. The only hope is that they eventually get tired of living a lie, which will create a thirst to pursue the reality of truth. A few will get tired, but many others will not. Ultimately it becomes really sad for those who do find their true self because it hurts them to see the unfortunate ones who choose to remain lost and confused, still hiding tethered in self-imposed chains of bondage to living in perpetual illusion. So don’t be afraid and don’t wait; find yourself.
Although people have an undefinable impulse to complicate everything, it’s better to realize that simplicity is best. By keeping everything simple we can avoid the confusion and stress of useless complications. Many times we feel we want to do what is best for ourselves, but we fail to do so anyway. Not because we don’t know what is best, but because we still prefer to seek quick, even dangerous impulses. There can be no reasonable explanation for such intense absurdity. But it’s true to realize that when we don’t use our intelligence correctly, our own intellect can actually harm us by creating complex, negative ideas. Since our brain never sleeps, it will keep processing thoughts even as we sleep. Our subconscious mind can be very creative. It is absolutely critical to keep our mental energy in positive harmony with our goals so we don’t allow bad seeds to fester in our minds. It’s our duty to guide our ideas back to a positive direction.
As real men, we need to practice discipline and self-control. We must maintain a high moral standard and above average values. We become role models for children and young adults, more often without our knowledge. People around us rely on our wisdom. Do we behave worthy of being viewed as leaders? If we don’t realize our full potential, we not only cheat ourselves, but also those who count on us. To be real men, we must first be good men. Do something good for someone other than yourself today.
To be a real woman, a female must ground herself in truth as it applies to gender. All females make mistakes, as men also do, but that doesn’t make anyone unworthy, only human. The moment they turn away from doing wrong is the moment they will start to become who they were truly created to be. Having a job is not an issue as long as her womanly duties are not at all compromised. The most important issue is that they learn their duties so when they bear children they’ll be good mothers. Everyone has a specific role to fulfill in this theatre of life, so be the best that you can be.*
Let’s be content with our self, who we are, nothing trying to pretend we’re something we’ll never be. You don’t have to be better than anyone else, but in everything you do, do it cheerfully. Live every day to its fullest as if it’s the last day of your life. Appreciate everyone and everything around you. No one is better; everyone is equal. Be happy to be alive… so happy, you want to be good. Live peacefully wherever you may reside. Practice your smile, and you will feel much better with yourself. Then all will become good. You will become a good light.
(* I think Edward would agree that men with children must not compromise their duties as fathers, just as women with children shouldn’t compromise their duties as mothers.)
Be Honest With Yourself Today
Many times I thought I had it all together, that my thoughts were complete, wise, and correct. But I was so wrong. Although the immediate bad consequences allowed me to catch a glimpse at the error of my ways, I was so mule-headed that I still believed I not only knew how to correct my ways, but that I could even do it on my own, without anyone’s help. It was the following later consequences, which were so much worse, of my faulty decisions that “shouted out” just how wrong I’d been the whole time, not just deceiving others, but myself also. I had become a big, ignorant man-child. But after suffering the extremely painful feelings as a result of my errors, and finally getting tired of the same horrible consequences over and over, I’ve come to realize that I can change my thought patterns and behavior – from negative to positive, hopeless to hopeful.
We’re not always in control of our circumstances, those things that will happen anyway, no matter what. But we do have innate abilities to help us overcome those that are not in our best interest. We can let our troubles break us down, or realize that we will survive, and eventually things will get better. We can imprison ourselves in depression and solitude, binding ourselves in chains of desperation, or we can believe we are stronger than those things which hurt us. We don’t have to succumb because we’re really not victims; we’re survivors by nature, and that is the strongest truth of all. We can survive whatever comes our way.
It is good for us to come to terms with our weaknesses because then we can accept that we have them, and begin to formulate an effective plan to overcome the adversity in our life. But if we fail to see our weaknesses for what they are, then we’ll be stuck in a cycle of bad choices, and worse consequences. To break this cycle we must be honest with ourselves. Honesty is essential for our recovery from living a troubled life. We must decide whether we’ll be content to live badly and receive bad consequences, or if we want to live a good life with good consequences. The choice is as personal as it gets. To each his own.
One of the realities that most helped me was to see that I didn’t appreciate my life, nor the people who cared about me. I’d waste all my time and money on the worst of things. I needed to learn to appreciate my existence, that I’m a living, breathing, wonderful creation. Just as I had made bad choices, I could also make good ones. Just as I had become the demon who destroyed my life, I could also become the angel who could save it. I needed to come to peace with myself, because the biggest war was inside of me, inside my mind. It was a personal Armageddon, a war between good and evil. I’m happy to report that goodness has won. The battle is finally over. I feel peaceful now. I cannot change the past, but I can live a good future. I have found my purpose in life. My true purpose is to become a good man with concern for others.
Edward has recently been released from prison and has not yet provided us at Prisoner Express with a current address for our readers to contact him at this time.