"You probably think this song is about you, don't you, don't you, don't you?" --Carly Simon
My friend is depressed. And anxious. Some days it can feel false to smile, it’s hard to function, and just getting out of bed is a challenge.
She thinks she’s a loser. She thinks she’s wasting her life. She thinks she should have a partner, more friends, get more done. She thinks she should stop all addictions, and get more healthy. She should help people, and have an impact on the world.
Watching, evaluating, monitoring herself.
Obviously there’s some flaw in her, something wrong with her, which makes it impossible to have a good life.
So of course it’s up to her to fix it.
She really should do that ASAP.
Although it’s not as if she hasn’t tried. She’s done the meditating, the inquiries, the self-help, therapy, affirmations, retreats. All that going inward and sitting-with the pain, allowing it- she’s done that up the wazoo.
Shouldn’t she know better by now? Well, actually, she does know better. And yet, here it is anyway- this wrong life, these wrong feelings.
This should not be happening.
Sound familiar? What, you thought it was just you?
In my work with clients, I hear some version of these kinds of things all day, every day. In fact, such thoughts and feelings are so common, repeated so often…
It’s almost like there’s a script or something.
A script for suffering? No, no, no, weird Mind-Tickler-writer-person, that can’t be right.
Although…. If any of these thoughts do sound familiar, then they can’t be just one person’s property, can they?
If they appear to a whole lot of other heads, then they “belong to” a whole lot of people.
Like, pretty much everyone.
I mean, it could well be that the mind is simply like an old LP on repeat, happily focused on the Me Me Me, and on flaws, and failures, and not-enoughs, and too-muches.
Maybe it all boils down to mind happily singing its me-centered song.
Just to have something to do.
And then we go and think, “Oh look at this evidence that I’m all messed up. This is all about meeee.”
Sort of like, “I feel, therefore I exist.”
Taking it very personally. Even though that doesn’t feel at all good.
Meanwhile, there’s so much evidence that these very same thoughts and feelings have been swirling through and around billions of heads since mankind could speak words.
Which would make depression not personal, and anxiety not personal…
and none of it meaning anything at all about any one individual person.
As in, nothing to do with us.
Well. That might feel better.
It certainly lets us off the hook. After all, there’s simply no need to fix property that isn’t ours.
And then, feelings like those labeled “depression” or “anxiety” could be free to come and go, blow in and blow out.
Without occupying huge chunks of our attention. Without activating the solution-finding apparatus.
Which would mean the same feelings and experiences could still happen, only with much less urgency, much less importance, much less heaviness.
They could be seen to be….
Not here, other times.
"The separate self by definition is seeking happiness. It believes it can make things happen. Its search for happiness creates unhappiness." --Rupert Spira
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