Life is indeed an interesting journey. One day you may be on top of the world and the next you may be scraping by at the bottom of your emotional ladder. This week alone for me has brought with it a flurry of emotions and I’ve discovered many truths about myself.
1. I’m not alone in this — My friends have also shared similar feelings of anxiety and feeling heavy.
Learning to appreciate the dark — I’ve always been a pusher of positive psychology and visualizing positive things all the time but yesterday I was reading Osho’s views on it and he called it straight BS. He mentioned the appropriateness of having both light and darkness in our lives because focusing on only one spectrum of life is limiting and downright delusional. A perfect balance is reached when we are able to sit with both the good and the bad.
Which takes me to this revelation:
2. There are no binaries.
From a mindfulness perspective, we are simply observers of our thoughts and it is not the event but our perception of an event that creates “chaos or harmony” in our lives.
Once we begin to see life as a journey filled with nuances of light and dark do we begin to see things differently.
I’m learning that life doesn’t always have to be about “good this…good that..” It’s as if I’m training my mind to focus on only the positive experiences and ignore the dark ones.
If that were the case then I would be elated and filled with ecstatic joy but I’m not and that’s because I haven’t been sitting with my pain.
Rather than sitting with the pain, I’ve been ignoring it with pleasure.
Call it distractions by eating delicious food, hanging out with friends or watching Netflix, I haven’t been very mindful lately and that’s why I’ve been feeling so blue inside. And here’s the third revelation:
3. It’s okay to feel blue — you may think that you shouldn’t feel sad or society may tell you that there’s something wrong with you to feel that way but it’s okay.
It’s okay to feel sadness and we should allow ourselves the courage and freedom to dig deep and discover why we feel that way.
Just like a child who is acting out, they’re not doing it for not reason. They’re either hungry, sleepy or agitated by something. There’s always a reason. Just like that, us humans always have a reason for our depression.
We just need to take a few deep breaths and take ourselves out of our mind.
Mindfulness is key.
What’s helped me the most in this journey is that it helps to know that we are not our thoughts but simply observers. And the most liberating thing in the world is to know that our feelings are telling us something.
Who knows, perhaps it is this very same feeling of depression which may be the catalyst for you to achieve something great.
As the saying goes: “One must follow the shit to find the pony”…
Call to Action
So here are a few steps I’ve taken that have helped me in this time of reflection.
- Reflecting — just sitting quietly and thinking on a meta level has helped greatly. Sometimes just seeing yourself in third person helps you to make wiser decisions. We often give such great advice to our friends but fall short on ourselves. Reflecting breaks this barrier that we create.
- Listening to spiritual teachers — I’ve been listening to Sadghuru talks on YouTube lately and the man has some serious wisdom!
- Practicing Mindfulness — I’ve been practicing mindfulness and it’s helped me in many ways. Just having the reminder that “we are not our thoughts but merely the observer of our thoughts” has helped me ten fold in my internal process.
- Writing — just writing my thoughts out the first thing in the morning has been such a calming experience. It really helps to get your thoughts out on paper.
- Practicing gratitude & being in the moment — just knowing that tomorrow isn’t promised and today may be my last day allows me to appreciate my immediate surroundings and my friends & family more.
I’ll leave you with a poem by Rumi that is always a treasure trove in times of despair.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.