It is very common for me to over identify myself with my thoughts or feelings. Like my thoughts are, oh so important and my current feelings are, oh so real. Ever do that?
The reality is everything changes. My thoughts about issues change as I get more information, or as I process something, or with hindsight. My feelings can change even faster depending on what song is playing on the radio, or if someone cuts me off on the highway, or if my niece gives me a hug. It’s all Impermanence.
Remember, no matter what it is, “this too shall pass”. (Our electoral process alone is a great example of that)
That’s where meditation is centering for me. It allows me to step back and observe (with a gentleness and kindness) what is going on in my head (without judgement) and also what I’m feeling at the moment (without over identification).
To paraphrase some of Wilber’s thoughts – it’s the big “I” observing the little “i”. The Greater Self behind the self.
Now my habits often keep me in a “mindless” state rather than a “mindfull” presence. But even just a few moments a day of reconnecting with the big “I” can not only change thoughts and feelings but can even change heart rate, blood pressure and sleep. I’m not even talking about hours – just a few minutes of reconnecting. The biggest change over the years has been one of nonjudgement. I don’t beat myself up for not meditating; I’m a lot kinder to myself. I just make time to meditate again without spending a lot of energy on the “missed” meditation or mindful times. (Genpo Roshi’s “Big Mind and Big Heart” helped me evolve in this)
I also believe in clinical depression and medication (this is not a post about how quickly we tend to take a pill to solve a “feeling”, but to say there is a “place” for science and meds). If you take medication for a chemical imbalance, it can enhance the “observing process” of meditation. Often times it is too painful to observe without it. Just don’t overidentify with your diagnosis, remember being say, “bipolar” is just a part of who you are – and all the more reason to not over identify with thoughts or feelings (which is common to that diagnosis).
Here is a quote from ~ Anthony de Mello, 20th century Jesuit priest
It speaks of this over identification well:
“Don’t say, “I am depressed.” If you want to say, “It is depressed,” that’s all right. If you want to say that depression is there, that’s fine; if you want to say gloominess is there, that’s fine. But not: I am gloomy. You’re defining yourself in terms of the feeling. That’s your illusion; that’s your mistake. There is a depression there right now, but let it be, leave it alone. It will pass. Everything passes, everything. Your depressions and your thrills have nothing to do with happiness. Those are swings of the pendulum. If you seek kicks or thrills, get ready for depression. Do you want your drug? Get ready for the hangover. One end of the pendulum swings over to the other.”
Thanks for stopping by,