Not so long ago, but also many lifetimes ago, I found myself caught in a binding web of suffering. At first I tried to escape, like all creatures run from pain. Eventually in a cascade of disoriented brain chemicals and self loathing I stopped trying to run. I succumbed to a pain that I felt sure was all of my own making and deserving. And after days and months and years I didn’t know myself as anything other than pain. I hurt all the time, mentally, emotionally, physically. I cried, I slept, I isolated and the pain grew, as all monsters grow in the dark. The worse I felt, the more I hid. This is the downward spiral with which it is so hard to emerge from.
One day, I found myself reading Conversations with God in a Mental Hospital. I found myself asking, “Who am I?” in the way that the eyes staring back from the mirror couldn’t possibly be my own. The physical world held little meaning or reality for me, I was ready to part with it, or try anything to feel different. All possessions gone, a hospital gown and a book given to me by my brother, I let myself die a small death.
And so I set out to listen and learn a new way of being. I didn’t resist help any longer. I wanted to hide, but I set myself up to be found. Antidepressants worked on my brain chemicals, weekly counseling worked on my illusions and personal traumas. Yoga came to me in that sweet way a mother holds her newborn, and for the first time in years I felt something different. Trikonasana left side, Trikonasana right side, stand in mountain and breathe. And breathe I did for the first time in years. The dying flame in my heart grew and love was real, self-love was possible. I put myself decidedly on the path of Yoga and healing.
I was told to let go of judgement, to let go of duality, to let go of my identification with pain, to surrender everyday. I was told to fight and grow strong and take risks. I was told to smile even when I didn’t know what happiness was. I was told that my body is wiser than my mind and it would be sending a message to my dysfunctional control tower, and one day the message would be wholly received, that love is all there is. These lessons I’ve learned and relearned and continue to relearn. Often times I lay Savasana, or under the clouds and I love myself and my whole life and I am proud of how far I have come.
Thank you teachers, thank you universe.
Please if you are suffering, and hiding, set yourself up to be found. Love is real.
Depression Reading List
Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch
Spectrum of Consciousness by Ken Wilbur
The Book of Secrets by Deepak Chopra