A depressive state visited me last night. It lingered in the background during sleep, making itself known as I occasionally tossed and turned. It was there when I awoke this morning. Along with it were the stories I was repeating to myself, justifying its existence.
What to do when such a state arises? Acknowledge that the stories are the source of my discomfort? Convince myself that, in the end, all will turn out fine? I went directly to my meditation cushion. I sat as awareness, calm in the midst of the turmoil of thoughts and emotions. I sat in non-reactivity, in deep no-space stillness. And all was fine. When I opened my eyes, the depressive state was waiting for me.
What are my tools for such a moment? Rumi reminds me to welcome this guest into my home. Beginner’s mind reminds me that I don’t fully know the meaning of this experience or what it might bring. The only thing I do know for sure is that full acceptance is required. Including the reaction that this sucks. Including the thoughts of “Here I am again. Will this ever change? Will I ever get past this?”
I recently heard someone comment, “You came here for now.” He repeated it three times to drive the point home. Whether there is actually a “me” that was some place else at some other time and then arose here now, is a question for another time… But at that moment, feeling the impact of his words was powerful.
I came here for now, for the full experience of now, whatever now brings. In my current experience of a depressed state, I am aware of two “I’s.” The personality “I” is the one attached to the stories describing my situation and is caught in a loop of negative thoughts. The nonlocal “I,” the one whose perspective is evident during meditation, embraces every aspect of now: the thoughts, the sensations, the emotions and the ineffable experience of the moment. The personality “I” is sometimes a yes to now, to life, sometimes a no, and sometimes an “I’m not so sure about this!” But the nonlocal “I”, the big S Self, is always a yes, whatever arises.
Living an awakened life is being aware of these two aspects of perception. In every moment there are limited experiences of the personality and the vast experiences of the Self. Every moment is an experience of being alive. And in each moment the life force is doing its thing: “life-ing.” To the personality it may not always feed good. It may not always look pretty, but to the Self, whatever is arising is benevolent and loving, even when “I” don’t see evidence of that. Living an awakened life is proclaiming a YES to life, to this moment, regardless of what shows up. Depressive state or any other- I came here for now.