Monday, 12 October 2015

'Negativity' and sadness isn't necessarily bad

The sun can still shine however you feel.
It's been a while since I published anything on the blog. Two months, to be precise. I have wondered whether this particular blog was coming to a natural end. But more likely, I just needed a little break from it.

As I write this, I am feeling fed up, deflated, uncertain, sad, struggling for motivation to do anything much, and prone to bouts of anger when things go wrong, which has been happening fairly frequently. I know that other people are going through tough times - it seems that this is a time of deep inner work for those of us who are on the path of self-awareness. That doesn't necessarily make it any easier, though. Usually, these kind of feelings come and go, but they have been fairly constant over the last two or three weeks.

Human beings are prone to gravitate towards pleasure and run away from pain. As much as we might know that allowing pain is beneficial, it doesn't make it any easier in practice. Generally, the first instinct we have is to resist and fight against pain and sadness. So to make sadness our friend is not something that necessarily comes naturally.

Even as I write this, I can feel a degree of resistance. That voice which says things like 'I can't take any more shit, I've had enough, why is life always so hard, I deserve better'. To try and stop these kinds of thoughts is indeed a futile exercise. As is attempting to paper over the cracks with positve thinking. One thing that bugs me about the New Age movement is the tendency to avoid the painful stuff and the overemphasis (in my opinion) on positive thinking.

Listen, Life can be hard. Damn hard. I envy people who have had somewhat easier lives than mine. But no-one escapes life unscathed. One of the biggest issues in Western society today is the stigma over mental health - and I don't just mean extreme mental health issues. The question 'How are you?' might as well be classed as a closed ended question , because people tend to expect the answer to be 'I'm fine', or at least 'I'm okay'. If people were more honest, the answer to this question would fairly often be:
'I'm going through a difficult time.'
'I'm struggling.'
'I'm feeling scared.'

But often we don't want to tell people how we really feel, because we're scared of being negative and scared of the reaction we might get - and it's certainly wise at times to not tell certain people if we're feeling bad - the 'pull yourself together' or 'think positive at all times' types of people, for example - these are fairly likely to be people who have either never experienced the real traumas of life or who are trying to avoid facing their pain. But anybody with a realistic perspective knows that the negative is just as much a part of the dance of life as the positive, and that feeling bad doesn't make someone any less of a person. If the Western world wasn't so invested in avoiding the bad stuff, perhaps there would be less suicides. Just a thought.

Tough times don't stop just because you're spiritually awakened, either. The spiritual teachings from the likes of Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle and Mooji pointing us to who we truly are (and also who we are not) are great and can bring us to a whole new level of awareness and openness - but it's so easy to think that we should be immune from pain and tough times once we become 'awakened' or 'enlightened'. This is just another fantasy of the mind. It can sometimes become even more challenging when we embark on the journey of self-awareness, because life will leave no stone unturned in its attempts to make you face your blocks. We still have a human side, no matter what our spiritual beliefs are - and there are still times when I still feel just as crappy as I used to before I became more self-aware. The difference is that I have more tools to get through whatever difficulties I face.

Sometimes, we just cannot avoid what we feel, no matter how much we try to sugar coat it with positive thinking, meditation, chanting or listening to our favourite music - although these things are all good, particularly music, without which I would be lost. Being honest with ourselves can actually make us feel better - I feel slightly better having written all this.

It's hard not to fight against the so called 'bad stuff' and I still have plenty of resistance to certain things when they come up - feeling lethargic and deflated is something I particularly struggle with. One step at a time, though.

Much love and blessings

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing here, Andy - enjoyed reading your piece. A quote came to mind as I read it. Goes something like this, "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." You are right that people seem to (incorrectly) think that enlightenment means no more pain. I see enlightenement as no more suffering. And so when I suffer I realise I am the one making the mistake. (This is all said rather more wisely and beautifully by Byron Katie, amongst others.)

    Anyway, thank you! :-)


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