Tonight's meditation, Day 10 in the Chopra Center's 21-Day Meditation Challenge, was all about the question "Who am I?" I think we all end up thinking this at some point in our lives on a serious level. Who am I? Why am I here?
I found this particular meditation to be quite timely. Though I am most often a sharer of joy and optimism and a cheerleader for the hurting, I have personally been going through a roller coaster of emotions with an unanticipated bout of depression and anxiety that comes and goes through out the day. My current state is not completely without explanation, but it is unpleasant nonetheless. The refuge I take in this experience is that I am alive and able to feel at such a deep level, which has brought some deeper inspiration from a different perspective. I think that at least some of this energy can be positively channeled through my writing.
No matter how sad we may feel at any given time, if we are still breathing, we have hope. It can be so difficult to see and remember other instances where we've persevered through difficulties to enjoy life to the fullest again when we are caught up in the darkness of depression or the overwhelm of anxiety.
I used to be afraid of depression. I'd experienced it in the past and worried that it would destroy me. Depression is serious and it is very important that we reach out to others for help and support (which I have done), but if we look at if from the perspective of experiencing incredibly deep and dark emotions that we would otherwise never encounter, we can appreciate what this experience means. Not that we want it. Not that we'd like it. Not that we'd wish it on our very worst enemy. Not that we'd ask for it. Not that we'd hope for it.
But if it has come, what might happen if we embrace it for a moment? Even asking that made me feel awkward inside. How do we "embrace" depression? Why would we want to? Shouldn't we run as far away from it as quickly as we possibly can? Shouldn't we deny it and fake it 'til we make it? Plaster on a smile and go about business as usual, fooling everyone but ourselves?
None of the latter has worked for me - so perhaps investigating the source of the depression - be it current life circumstances...old wounds that have been re-opened by some trigger...a chemical imbalance...something altogether different...or all of the above...and observing it without judgment as much as possible might be the answer.
What if we tap into the truth about who we really are through meditation and allow these things to reveal themselves in their own time? Most of us (including me at this time in my life) cannot afford the luxury of a sabbatical where we go on a trip and "discover ourselves" like Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of "Eat, Pray, Love" was so blessed to do.
But perhaps we can take a mini-break. I hope and pray that this opportunity avails itself to you should you need it. Let the Universe know that you are open and ready and willing to pass through this storm in order to connect with the parts of you that you are forgetting - the eternal, love-filled self that has always been and always will be.
The few lucid moments that I have when I am able to tap into this truth, my problems seem much smaller. In proportion to eternity, a bout with depression seems like something more tolerable and very temporary. That's not to minimize it. That's not to say it doesn't suck worse than anything else we can imagine. It also doesn't mean that acknowledging this will be the "cure-all" that releases you and sets you immediately on to a happier path (I speak from current experience).
But, it does take some of the edge off. It does make me think that there is SOME purpose to this current suffering. That somehow, if I deal with whatever has rocked my world, my mind, my body, my spirit, my internal chemistry, I may find healing and a more genuine happiness than the one I pretended to have for others' sakes for so long.
Perhaps I will feel freer. Perhaps.
Day 10 of 21. The journey continues.
Debbie aka Sulilo