The twelve previous meditations were all done in response to the early stages of the pandemic. Those were to fill a time everyone was pretty freaked out and focused on trying to not have their thoughts reel out of control.
For most of us, in those early stages of near total-uncertainty, we just needed some focus to bridge the gaps as our brains switched from one task to another. Without that, many of us could feel that we would fly completely out of control.
Based on what I’m hearing, that need has been reduced, so this week I will be shifting to a series built around the various energy levels that people are experiencing and how they can constructively move from one level to another.
If people would like to continue to have a daily meditative focus as well, I would suggest they consider starting here. From that point, using the ‘next post’ feature will advance anyone one meditation per day.
Regarding this week’s focus, it’s important to remember that most of us are under some of the most extreme pressure we will ever face. There are few really ugly segments in every human life, but a lot of us are going through one together, right now.
If anyone feels they are doing poorly, now would be the time when a lot of us would be likely to do that. So our lack of balance is actually a sign that we are normally fairly healthy.
Be that as it may, the fact that we’re together should create some useful cooperative community empathy. So let’s do this so that our lives come out ahead even if parts of them don’t.
To that end, the rest of this series will focus on how to channel our fears into useful action. But today we will start with those who are losing that valuable sense of fear: the suicidal.
From rich to poor, young to old, a lot of people are living under intense fear relating to, in many cases, the most basic questions relating to life. Things like food and shelter. People have every right to be amped-up by that. That’s what nature built amped-up feelings for. Fighting for our lives is a very healthy form of fear.
If we don’t have amped-up feelings, or any desire to save ourselves, the question is, why? If we started strangling a suicidal person they would instantly fight for their lives because the force that leads us to act –the recognition of the very value of life– is not ours personally. That force is what creates the universe.
We and our lives are just one small –but necessary– gesture in a much larger expression of life. If the universe created us, it’s because the universe wants us to exist. That means it has built mechanisms like fear to help us protect ourselves, because the universe’s aim is to have us continue to create new realities for the universe to experience through us.
Suicidal depression occurs when our busy , self-destructive thinking takes over our imaginations and then prevents us from seeing the many potential futures that our over-thinking has hidden from us.
Why are we over-thinking? It doesn’t matter. The point is, all of that head-noise is leading us to miss something obvious: the whole reason a person gets depressed is because they thought their life was going to be much better than it is.
Do we see what happens? The world is literally made of thought. When we can see a future that expresses our value, or someone else’s value, then that idea is something we will fight to make real.
We’ll do that whether the fight is physical (against a person or cancer etc.), in business (financial, legal), or whether it’s more personal, like when we want someone –anyone, really– to recognize our personal value by loving us.
Suicidal depression does not happen because all hope is lost. It’s just a period wherein we lack the ability to conjure up a future with enough value that we would fight for it.
Obviously, anyone who doesn’t commit suicide must then go on to have some kind of life. And obviously all of those include opportunities for both bliss and pain. So clearly a meaningful future is both possible and true — if we feel suicidal we’ve just lost touch with our ability to imagine it.
The cure for suicide isn’t to ‘fix our depression.’ It’s to improve our imaginations. We need to see a future we’d value enough to fight for.
Whether we just missed it, it was stolen from us, or even if we threw it away in anger, the futures we would fight for –a person, a principle, relationship, a job– all need the energy behind our anger for the creative process to take place. So we have to reach forward or back, into our lives, and we need to find something to be angry about.
Maybe it’s that we’re driven to achieve justice for some past transgression. Or maybe the drive is to re-start some worthwhile project thwarted or derailed by others. Maybe it’s anger with ourselves, and an intense desire for people to see the version of our future self that we truly feel is lovable. We can even angrily shove the depression itself backwards because it feel so un-us.
If we’re feeling really down and deprived of our life force, then getting angry at anything or anyone that ever stood in the way of our dreams can be very useful. Then we can marshal that anger into some focused energy, even if all we do with it is clean the house to better-represent who we feel we truly are.
In the end, it’s not the cleaning that matters. It’s the energy. We need that angry impulse. Because if we have that energy within us, then tomorrow we can start to learn how to shift that energy into truly useful action.
Until then, take good care of you. And if you need help, reach out for it.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.