Summer seems to have arrived early this year. Actually we are having a gorgeous spring in the north-east. Nevertheless, I am hearing a great deal of murmurs of discontent. I am always amazed when despite some rather good conditions, folks seem to need a “noun” to be discontent about. People, places and things seem to have a genuine capacity for fostering in we humans the idea that anything less than perfection is not acceptable.
In relationships we tend to want the good feeling thoughts to be predominant. Of course, it is easy to feel good when we are feeling good–the trick, however, is to elevate ourselves to the state of feeling good even when things are not exactly going our way. Once a bad-feeling state has set in it is most difficult to wrangle our way out. In part this is because we enjoy or get some perverse gratification out of feeling ourselves to be the victim to the circumstances of our surroundings.
All discontent is within and in order to find our way to a meditative high we have to be first willing to give up the quality of being wronged. This is not small task and although we frequently see it “advertised” in meditating circles, once you are away from the circle you soon grasp that life is difficult, it is certainly not always fair and we have to pick ourselves up and move forward regardless of the horror of our circumstances.
Even getting to this point in a conversation is relatively easy; but as soon as the next question arrives many of us are baffled. How do we emerge from the deep darkness of a regression into our own narcissism? After all is said and done, it is the center of our narcissism that gives us the greatest degree of trouble. Here the answers are tricky because the egoic aspect of ourselves wants to protect us from uncovering our deepest and darkest fears. Narcissism is nearly a location inside of us. It is the particular set of hormones and neuro-trsnsmitters that light up on a cat scan when we are in profound stress.
Narcissism is a protected bubble inside the mental psyche that allows us to hide from what life wants from us. To successfully emerge we can not blame our partners, BP oil, Wall Street, the encroaching neighbor or even the grouchy store clerk. Of course, all these nouns can have had their impact on us, but it is up to us alone to wander our way out of the darkness and grab onto vitality in order to go on with life despite the horrible event which has just happened….
We generally do not want this to be true because if this is true we can not sit back and demand or wait for events to change. We need to be the change that we want to see happen–to borrow a phrase from a very famous man.
Our task, when we are down and our is, “to-want-to-get-out” of the darkness that we have surrounded ourselves with as we hopelessly and helplessly descended into our own dirty guts.
I use to tell my patients this: If you are walking down a pretty lane, minding your own business, admiring the beauty in nature, and a bicyclist come barrel-assing down the side walk, runs you over and keeps going; well, that was not fair, not right and it hurts–but, it is you and you alone that must pick your self up. You must find a way back to your own vitality, or remain forever-knocked-down.
It is the best we have.