Every so often Oprah spouts a phrase that captures people’s attention and dazzles them. Usually her crowd-loving pronouncements are just meaningless words without a meaningful follow up, in my opinion. Case in point:
“You have to breakdown to breakthrough.” (I assume she means spiritually, but who knows for sure?)
I can see how a person in pain, suffering from some experience in the world, would want to cling to an allegedly “deep and meaningful” phrase like that. It gives them permission to think: “I’m suffering now, but it’s a necessary step to my ultimate breakthrough.”
In a way, it’s cruel what Oprah is doing, because it sets people up for a conclusion. But offers none. They are left to make up their own denouement—typically, imagining an illusive “best case scenario.” In effect, she really hasn’t said anything truly useful to people who are hurting. This is nothing more than a con—similar to what every fake guru inflicts on his or her followers. Clever words that go nowhere and mean nothing.
What’s more, a lot of people breakdown and never rise up again—or, at best, they stand up, but struggle for years or even the rest of their lives to try and find firm ground. This is happening even more so today as the rich take from the poor and the government does everything it can to stick it to the non-rich. In short: Our reality is not Oprah’s reality.
I don’t think Oprah is intentionally inflicting harm. From her perspective, I would imagine, all she sees is that her followers are giving her positive feedback for her “magical” commentary. However, she lives a very different life from the rest of us. What does she know of breakdowns? She’s richer than God. She seems in good health and has great friends and beautiful homes. It’s easy to make powder puff statements from that vantage point. (Note: I realize she had some trauma in her youth, but that was a long time ago—and she’s had plenty of time and the means to heal.)
Naturally, there is a subset of people who breakdown and then, through hard work and luck, rise up again like a Phoenix. But that subset is remarkably small.
What’s more, there’s a whole other breakdown-breakthrough experience completely separate from Oprah’s catchphrase. By diverting people’s attention to just one outcome, she seems to discounts other breakdown scenarios. In another experience, first you breakthrough, then you breakdown. Then, if you’re lucky, you find your way toward building a whole new life. This was my personal experience.
After a multi-decade spiritual search, in July 2016, I finally experience a spiritual breakthrough. I and learned the truth of our existence in this world. And it scared the beejesus out of me. That was far from the outcome I expected. Not even close.
It did not help that I was already at a low point in my life thanks to my up-until-now fruitless spiritual search. After all, I’d been searching almost my whole life and had not yet found the answers I was seeking. I still didn’t know who God was, how to find him or her, or how to get out of this messed-up world. On top of that, I was still suffering from PTSD after my traumatic cult experience nine years after escaping.
Then I attended my first cult conference in late June 2016. I attended many talks over three days and they were all great. But one sentence delivered by one speaker in one session changed my whole life. It opened a door to a whole new area of exploration—vastly different from the Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism I’d already tried.
Back at home I did further research and found the truth I’d been seeking for so long. But it was frightening in its sheer power. (Dark night of the soul, indeed.) It’s no wonder it was the “hidden truth” told only to those who were spiritually advanced enough to understand and embrace it. But it was ultimately the most liberating insight I’d ever discovered. Luckily, I was ready for it when I finally found it.
But before I got to a good place, I dropped into a very bad place. I had a complete breakdown after my breakthrough. In hindsight, I can see now what I couldn’t see then. For the entire previous year, I was slowly breaking down due to a combination of my fruitless spiritual search and my unresolved post-cult PTSD. The whole façade I’d constructed after I left the cult had started crumbling. By the time July rolled around, it didn’t take much to bring it all crashing down around me. Before the end of August I hit rock bottom. The lowest point of my life—made worse by the hardcore spiritual truth I’d just learned. In a twist of a Latin phrase:
What nourished me, almost destroyed me. I wondered: Is this what people feel like before they end their lives?
Note — What I learned is from ancient teachings that orthodox Christians killed (literally) to suppress the truth. I’ve since learned many dark things about the true history of Christianity, which I’ll share in future posts.
To learn more about what I discovered to achieve my spiritual breakthrough and how I found the will to live through my PTSD breakdown, subscribe to this blog. You’ll receive my updates and insights on this and other vital topics related to the human spirit’s need to breakdown, breakthrough, and—ultimately—breakout of the limitations of this limiting world.
Photo credit: © Fotana