Something shifted for me this weekend. Somehow, I stopped wallowing in what's been up for me long enough to just look at it and it disappeared. That's what Cheri suggested could happen, and it did.
Here's something I struggle with as a beginner: I want to practice but I easily fall into my habitual ways of dealing with my day-to-day life when I'm not focused on my practice. When stuff comes up that is particularly difficult, particularly heavy in the sense that it leaves me particularly stuck then that's where I am. Things tend to need to be somewhat level (ordinary without too many highs or lows) for me in order for me to easily engage in regular practice. Turn my world upside down? Then you'll see how difficult it is for me to bring my practice home.
Something shifted for me this weekend. I read about half of The Depression Book. I took it on and it "worked." I say "worked" (in quotation marks) because it's not like I read the book so as not to be depressed and it became the magic wand that I needed that wiped my "stuck-ness" away. No. That's not what I mean. Yes, a lot of feelings I've been carrying around lifted. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that they lifted because I looked at them honestly... really looked instead of seeing without really seeing.
I read something yesterday that reminded me of one of those chain e-mails that circulated amongst a group of friends not too long ago. It was an entry from the Digital Buddha Vacana. I'll post it as today's Daily Dharma when I'm done with this entry. The thing it reminded me of was a quote by T.D. Jakes that said something along the lines of "the only thing your job owes you is a paycheck."
I'm not a materialistic person. I'm not interested in Prada. I don't need to drive a BMW, a Mercedes or a Caddy. Somewhere deep down, I think this means I'm a person who doesn't want much. Maybe when it comes to material stuff, that's mostly true (except for tech stuff and books). So I don't really pay attention to the things that I crave. I don't consider them to be things. At least I didn't until today.
I crave fairness. When stuff goes on and it's not fair, that really kills me. I get all worked up about it. I blather on with no end in sight to whoever will listen. I annoy and bore my friends because I can't get over it. But why should I? Life is supposed to be fair, isn't it?
I crave professionalism and orderliness. When I'm forced to work in an environment where either of these things are lacking, it kills me. Shouldn't the workplace be a place of professionalism and orderliness? Aren't I right to want these things?
I enjoy it when adults act like adults. When I'm faced with an adult who acts like a child it kills me. Shouldn't I be able to count on people of a certain age to act with a certain level of maturity? Aren't I right to be frustrated when they don't?
What I learned from Cheri this weekend was simple. Depression is just one of many available avoidance responses. It's a big one, but it's just one. When we don't want things to be as they are, we shift into one of them. Some of them we extract ourselves from quickly because we've learned how to do that. Some of them we embed ourselves in because we get some payoff. The key to getting over it is simple... being willing to look where you haven't been willing to look before... being willing to be still and observe where you've been labelling, complaining, or participating in some other form of avoidance.
This was a huge lesson for me.