* * *
In early Christianity the desert dwellers, called Desert Fathers and Desert Mothers, who left the cities to commune with their God, they equated demons with unwanted emotional states. While I do not agree with this identification, I can understand why they did this. The sadness that was a part of my life was like a living presence that seemed to be barred from awareness at times, only to show it had gone nowhere. The sadness, however, did not feel malevolent, and it did not seem friendly. Metaphorically, it did not feel like a demon or an angel.
In studying Buddhism, I learned of befriending afflictive emotional states. Rather than mistreating them, befriend them, rather than trying to run them off, welcome them at the table. Healing occurs at the table.
This is a nonviolent approach. This is saying, "I will not pull out the sword." Recall Jesus speaking, in the Gospel, "Those who live by the sword, die by the sword." While we may equate nonviolence with social contexts, nonviolence pertains, likewise, to how we relate with ourselves.
So, to live in peace with sadness was this welcoming. Sadness itself was part of the inner harmony. Sadness was befriended, not as something good or bad, but as something that was. This was not saying, "I like this sadness, I want it in my life always." Neither was this befriending deciding it was a problem if the sadness remained in my life always. I was not saying, "Sadness, I do not like you."
* * *
The Way leads us to harmony within ourselves and with others, with creation. Harmony is the inclusion in peace of all a part of your life in this moment, even those times you do not sense harmony. If you make this inner harmony a mandate, such as, "I must be in harmony," you set yourself up for disharmony. If you say, "I will not be sad," this will not work. To try to create an ideal puts one in opposition to the non-ideal. Befriending is another matter, in this one invites all, in Grace gracefully, not as a permission for it to remain but an invitation to healing compassion. This we do, likewise, with life and death. We invite both into harmony ~ I am living, I am dying, not I am living and I will die. In this harmony, we may find what is beyond both life and death, but only through accepting first the harmony of living and dying.
* * *
Recently, I realized the sadness was no more, has been gone for a long time. I cannot locate the time it left. Now, rarely do I sense sadness, a sadness that leaves quickly. The sadness has nowhere to stick, so to speak, when before sadness was stuck.
How did it leave?
walking the way is transforming
simply attending to your life day-to-day is the way
certain spiritual practices, lifestyle changes, counseling,
and, yes, medication can be part of the way, also
any number of ingredients, some maybe appearing contradictory,
may be part of transformation, of blessing