“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
WE ALL WANT TO BE FREE AND HAPPY. Many of us believe that we can attain these qualities through external success, and so we tend to see our obstacles as out there in the world, in people and situations. When we recognize that the promise of fulfillment and what stands in its way are both within us, we begin the inner journey. It is a journey into our own consciousness and experience, a path of discovery and realization of the inner riches of human potentiality. Even though it is a thrilling adventure, the inner journey, as with any real adventure, is not an easy one, full of its obstacles...
The inner obstacles have been known and discussed for thousands of years by many of the wisdom teachers and teachings. However, some of these primary obstacles could not be understood in a detailed manner until the development of psychology. Now with this understanding the inner journey is assisted in ways not possible previously.
- from 'SOUL WITHOUT SHAME' by Byron Brown
What is contentment?
The dictionary informs us that it is the experience of being satisfied, of not desiring more than you have. This is a starting point, but it leaves out important elements of contentment, including the most essential aspects from a psychological perspective. What does it feel like to be contented? What are the conditions that produce contentment?
Recall again a satisfying time when everything seemed right: there was no need to alter what you were doing, who you were with, or where you were. During such moments life is rich and full. The mingled buzz of worries, fears and anxieties that so often circle your head like a swarm of hungry mosquitoes is quieted. Instead of judging or second guessing yourself, you are satisfied just to be. Even the old familiar voice of desire , the disturbance in your mind that cries out like a needy child, I want, I want, I want, is somehow settled. Contentment feels peaceful as the moonlight at the bottom of a stream, tranquil and constant change.
Now. Here. This is it. Contentment gives you a different experience of time; your mind stops wandering into the past or future. As modern people we waste so much time wishing we were in a different circumstance, which of course is quite impossible. You could call contentment being in love with the moment, not just dutifully accepting it like an arranged marriage but passionately, rapturously embracing the eternal now as your soul mate.
Contentment grows out of a willingness to surrender preconceived ideas and affirm reality as it is. Honouring “what is” is just the opposite of living out of “ just as soon as” mentality. Reality doesn’t always go the way you would like. When this happens you can either become frustrated and redouble your efforts to push reality around, or you can learn to accept, affirm, even dance with what is given.
Contentment- a way to true happiness by Rober A. Johnson & Jerry M. Ruhl
Male and female brains are different.
This Ted talk on the difference between self esteem and self compassion is excellent and well worth watching.
- BRAIN RULES- 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home & school; by John Medina
In the middle of the path through life,
I suddenly found myself in a dark wood.
DANTE, DIVINE COMEDY
In depression our back is often against the wall. Indeed, nothing describes depression so well as that feeling of no-where to turn, nothing left to do. Yet such a place is incredibly ripe, filled with possibility. It gives us the opportunity to really pay attention and just see what happens. When we've done everything, when nothing we know and believe seems to fit, there is finally the opportunity to see things anew, to look differently at what has become stale and familiar to us. Sometimes, when our back is against the wall, the best thing we can do is to sit down and be quiet.
When we are lost in the woods, we can stop, look at our situation, and see where we are. And when we are in the midst of depression, we can stop and look at where we are and how we came to be here. We can look coolly and fearlessly at ourselves, our life, and our pain, without any thought of remedying them.
Although it is often painful and freightening to approach depression, we can do so. We can stand and not run. We can even allow it in and let ourselves learn what it has to tell us.
The Zen Path Trhough Depression by Philip Martin
The importance of understanding
depression in general a
and yours specifically:
Your depression is not random.
and believe the same things
Perhaps what you are depressing changes.
How you depress remains the same.
The only way we can know what is going on is to sit down with an open mind
and pay attention
if we watch
we notice that there are sensations
in our bodies that go with depression.
They don’t vary.
They’re the same every time.
We have a labelling system that goes with those sensations. In this case, the label is depression.
With this label comes a learned response,
the self-talk- everything we’ve been
taught to believe about depression.
What it is
what it means
what I am for feeling it
What will happen as a result
How the future will be
When that talk starts, we have an
emotional reaction to it.
I don’t want this.
I am afraid.
This is too painful.
Oh no, not this again.
And then comes a conditioned behaviour pattern which is usually avoidance/ escape.
I should quit my job.
I’ve got to leave town.
I need a drink (or drug).
I want a divorce.
I’m going to kill myself.
I can’t function. (paralysis)
THESE ARE GOING ON ALL THE TIME,
not just in depression.
If we are willing to pay close enough attention we notice that in depression:
the sensations in our bodies don’t vary
the thoughts in our heads don’t vary
the emotional reactions don’t vary
the impulses toward certain behaviours don’t vary
and this chain of events
DOES NOT VARY
(ED’S NOTE: this is a big clue.)
Adapted from ‘The Depression Book- depression as an opportunity for spiritual growth’, by Cheri Huber – Zen Buddhist Teacher
We pray for balance and exchange.
Balance us like trees. As the roots of a tree
shall equal its branches so must the inner life be equal
to the outer life. And as the leaves
shall nourish the roots so shall the roots give
nourishment to the leaves.
Without equality and exchange of nourishment
there can be no growth and no love.