I have a degree in Anthropology and it has given me a valuable perspective on the difference between truths about humans, and American cultural artifacts presented as automatically unquestioned facts about how life is.
I am passing along a brilliant article as insight for dealing with the mental suffering so many of us face. To read it, click on the photo on the right.
Too often I find myself visited by anxiety and depression, which when recede, leave me with pervasive melancholy. On some of these occasions, I have been encouraged by caring friends and professionals to drug this away, and I have always declined, believing these states of mind and emotion, though very, very tough to go through, are my current task on my spiritual journey. I tried a few times for short periods and I could not tolerate the impact on my sense of being my true self. This is of course, a highly personal decision, everyone must make for themselves.
I wonder, are these sorrowful emotions I experience a legitimate and natural reaction to the crushing violence and dismal conditions so many are forced to live with? It begins from birth for us melancholics – our spirits, our natural joy and our natural knowing that we are in essence divine beings, are folded, mutilated and stapled into silent compliance with a culture of death, and acceptance of the lie that these horrors are normal life.
Everyone insists we be “happy” in the face of unspeakable injustices, else be branded as too sensitive, or weak. If we aren’t happy, then we must figure out “what’s wrong,” and fix it. We soon learn that faking and silence are essential to avoid social death, and we become experts at mimicking happiness. We even learn to fool ourselves. What if sad people are the shamans whose heartbroken spirits cry out to call attention to how the wrongness is not in us, but in the world?
If that is so, and melancholy and anxiety are healthy reactions of a loving spirit to an unhealthy world, then where does that leave us? The world is what it is, and my tears at least, have not changed the world.
When I was 5, I accidentally saw a documentary on our first TV of the Nazi death camps. My mother was working and my grandmother was in the kitchen. It was 1952, and the war was still fresh, not much programming was on TV yet, so there was a lot of war footage shown. While my grandmother baked us a cake she was completely unaware I was seated on the floor in the living room undergoing a trauma that would set the tone for my whole life. Those film images are as fresh in my 68 year old mind as the day I saw them.
Some might say that if this had not happened, I would have been a more light-hearted person. I am not sure that would be a life I would want, if such happiness was based on lack of awareness. It made me ask 2 questions…why have You God placed me in a world where such a thing can happen? And, what can I do to make this better? I am still asking, and occasionally finding answers to those questions.
Who can penetrate the great mystery of why God has created life is like it is? But do know I would not trade knowing the life altering truths about suffering and injustice, for a happiness protected by unawareness.
Just my thoughts on walking the path.