I can only go get my vaccine when I have respite care for Mom and Dad. Timing can be very tricky, so a couple weeks ago I was very excited to get to the pharmacy to get my shot. And I was surprised at how much it hurt to learn they had ignored the booking, and that they had already given away all of the shots they had.
Yes, it left me unprotected and that was a hassle. And it yes it helped sour that precious time away. (I really try to keep those precious breaks as positive as possible.) But that experience hit me unusually hard, so I knew something interesting was going on.
For some time now I’ve been working on trying to sense the world the way pre-language kids or animals do. I can keep the words at bay no problem. But I want to go even deeper into non-thought. Right now it’s like I’m translating my first language into my second, rather than thinking in the second language right from the start.
If I was not doing this exercise, I strongly suspect that if I would have built a quick, short narrative around this recent negative experience. Then I would have let it go. And that narrative likely would have featured the notion of ‘darkness.’
But this time, by just sitting with it, I could relax more into the unpleasant feeling and investigate it. And I realized that the thing my ego would have called ‘darkness’ in its narrative, was really more like ‘absence.’
Obviously, as a caregiver, it’s mostly outpouring here. So it’s been well over a year without really feeling actively cared about in any way that mattered to my five senses. I know many of you also know what it’s like to live in ways where we could benefit from more care and support.
Fortunately, those circumstances can help us make sense of our reactions. Because if we’re starved for care, then the vaccine can easily come to represent an significant expression of society’s care and compassion for us. So it makes sense that we would value it as medicine and as an expression of belonging.
So for those of us who showed up and found out our shots weren’t saved for us, it quite easily led to feelings of not belonging, right at a time when we all really need more support than ever. Hence the deeper disappointment. It really hurt.
It’s important to remember, the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. So what we felt when we found out, was that that the pharmacy had shown indifference to us. And that feels just as bad as when we feel indifferent to ourselves.
In the end, any ‘darkness’ we feel in life is really just a temporary period where we do not have access to love. If we feel others do not care for us, it is our nature to question the value of caring for ourselves. If our experience of indifference lasts long enough, and it gets profound enough, we can lose interest in improving our situation either by fix or gain, and that is essentially what a lot of ‘depression’ is.
And what shifts us into our next state of mind? Patience. We must allow life to happen. We must feel our experiences without arguing with them in our heads. All things exist for reasons. If we’re experiencing them, then they ‘belong.’
As those dark feelings pass through us, later, a natural shift will happen in the space our patience creates. That’s when we start to feel the urge to fix this, or deal with that. Alternatively, something positive might catch our attention. But whether it’s by fixing an irritation, or chasing down some joy, our ego eventually tugs our soul into some activity and life ensues.
As we live that life, it is worth remembering that the worst parts are when care about ourselves so little we barely acknowledge our own existence or value. And the best parts are when we celebrate our own existence and value. So don’t forget to celebrate yourself. Included in that can be a celebration of your love for others. But whether it’s you loving you, or you loving how you love others, appreciating yourself is key to all of those good feelings.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.