So on this un-comfort topic, here’s some meat for your grinder. Awhile back I was talking to my ex, the career Special Forces soldier. And he has been through virtually every military training in existence on this planet. Internationally, I mean. And one of the things he’s been through is torture school.
Now they don’t call it that. It has a fancy name, but what they do is torture you to get you prepared and teach you what to do in the event you are captured and tortured. And one of the things they do is put you in a box.
They put you in a black box, maybe 4′ X 4′ which means you cannot stand up. And they leave you in there for a long time. For days. They leave you in there for DAYS.
So just think about that. How’s that for an un-comfort zone?
Well considering I am at least slightly claustrophobic it makes me very nervous to even try to consider this. And I at all sure I would be able to cope with something like this for even ten minutes. But I figure if I were in there, there would be two choices. Either go crazy in the box, or you find a way to be comfortable in this very uncomfortable place. And suppose you manage? Suppose you’re successful?
Well if you’re successful, I imagine your comfort zone is expanded beyond belief. “You want to put me in a box? Bring it on! I have ways of dealing with that…”
Not that he said that, I’m just guessing. And that has got to be a powerful feeling. To walk around knowing that if it comes down to it, you can endure this level of discomfort. But I can see a shadow side.
Compare his experience with someone who grew up in an abusive home. That person also has an expanded comfort zone and unfortunately it’s very common they use it by getting into abusive relationships as an adult. Noooooooooo!
Should the soldier find a 4′ X 4′ box, climb in and shut the lid, just because he can? I don’t think so. And just because you can take a beating doesn’t mean you go find someone to beat you!
So I just think it would be nice if people who have been forced to endure and survive this kind of thing (abuse) could turn their experience into an asset and I thought this story might help. Because it’s not enough to just stay in the uncomfortable place. We’re looking for alchemy here… a Pluto / Scorpio thing.
1 : a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life
2 : a power or process of transforming something common into something special
3 : an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting
So what about you? Have you ever stayed in your version of that black box long enough for this to occur? Tell us.
For some reason I’ve never been able to explain, I’ve always been very comfortable in small, dark places. As a child I liked to sleep in boxes and closets. Now, as an adult, I’m 6’2″ and 200 pounds and I still feel very at home in cosy surroundings. I have a beautiful big apartment but use the office as my bedroom because it’s much smaller than the actual bedroom. It’s a little strange, but I figure it’s hurting no one.
For reference, I’m an aquarius with rising libra.
I’m in one as we speak – that I voluntarily and intentionally climbed in. And I’m NOT coming out until I’m transmuted.
And not that this is a poker game, but, S (above), I’m Libra with rising Aquarius. 🙂
Honestly, I think many people of the world live in their little black boxes, cut off from each other. I don’t think you really ever choose between the two options you describe – going crazy in the box and finding a way to become comfortable in it. Rather, you do both. After a while, you come to accept the box, not realizing that being out in the world is where the real uncomfort zone lay.
Somebody actually built a sculpture in my school that seemed designed to put everybody in their uncomfort zone, at least it did me. It was a black plastic box you walk into inside of which was a fan and feathers, warm and suffocating inside before you even step in the port-a-potty like door. It was like experiencing a nosediving, sinking fighter jet or so I felt and basically the fan blew feathers up and all over you, creating a suffocating, blurry environment. It is somewhat poetic until you start to choke, feel the airy is oddly surreal and blurry because of the feathers, and get claustrophobic as though you’ve been put in a disengaged space pod that opened without releasing you, but flooding you with carbon dioxide. I stayed in there too short a time for it to be less beautiful.
And it was literally a black box :-).
But different from the Special Forces guy’s because we didn’t have to stay there for days although we definitely felt like we were in the driver’s seat. And I think I could stand up fully to get out.
Yes. I’ve been in an incredibly difficult relationship, which ended up with him losing it, agression, stalking etc. I do not think anyone can hurt me in that way – I have transcended that. And I can teach others too.
stayed in a “torture box” long enough to actually become addicted to the sense of self mastery that it provided. torture boxes and the empowered sense of self they provide can leave one with some very limiting ,narrow, and masochistic directions in life.
i am finding the alchemical transformation is not in the box and its mastery – but rather in the fear about setting aside the box and the self that evolved in relationship to it.
Exactly as said…
I went on a road trip for 3000 miles across the country with a man who revealed himself a suicidal anorexic who just was released from a mental hospital. It was summer and the car had no airconditioning, and we had to do 70mph max or the car would overheat.
Goes to show you show screen your ride better ha ha ha!
Now that I think about it, I don’t know who was crazier, me or him
Yes, I have. But, I would like it to stop now.
Christine: That reminds me of that scene in Annie Hall where Diane Keaton’s brother drives Diane and Woody to the airport. He’s speeding and weaving out of traffic as he reveals that he’s suicidal–to Woody’s horror and Diane’s nonchalance.
But to answer Elsa’s question: I always stay way too long in the black box. It’s a terrible habit in my case, not a lesson in transcendence.
Oooh Annie Hall! Love it!
Christopher Walken plays her brother, right? This is before he was famous.
I stayed in for a little over 3 years. I’m done now and I feel totally change by the experience. My world is still in tack but my view has been altered.
What happened to just being ok the way we are? What’s this ‘alchemy’? I understand it’s happening to everyone at some level but don’t we always retain our inner core self, no matter the circumstances? I do, at least…or feel I do. I wax and wan but stay the same. Perhaps that’s the point when people have intensely Plutonic experiences – to force you into your more sacred core self, learn to respect and protect it, most importantly to just know it exists.
To answer the question: Good Luck getting me in the box, to get out if necessary I’ll chew one or all my limbs off (?!) to get out.
Oops, guess we’re talking abt boxes and not traps…may need to reconsider my position. 🙂
Wow! I’m usually really good at looking at things differently and putting things into sense for me. But hadn’t thought of this one, this way.
Let me think about it some more before I reply agin. Good one though!
“Just because you can take a beating doesn’t mean you go find someone to beat you!” – Sooo true. Need to keep that in mind. Thanks Elsa for the article!
You’re welcome. 🙂
This ties in with Dianne’s article on Saturn and moon. How to go for the gold and not just repeat the endurance trial….big contemplation!
Yes I can relate. I think what happens is that you actually grow to big for the box. You know you can make yourself smaller to fit into it but why would you do that? Black boxes are not that interesting. There’s a little bit to be learned for sure but it does lose its relevance at some point.