Saturday, February 23, 2008
DIARY 54 - After the shit hits the fan, there's a lot of clearing up to do.
Sometimes I feel so embarrassed. Here I am in my fiftieth year on Earth, and still find myself tripping and falling into the same black mental pot holes in the road ahead. The same ones I've been attempting to avoid for decades. Yes, they are less frequent in occurrence, and shorter in duration, so this could reasonable be called progress. But still, how about being able to see them coming and take evasive action? In hindsight, and reading back through my most recent diary entries, the signs of a possible descent into a trough of despond have been showing themselves for weeks. Those anxious ridden dreams, lack of sleep and turbulent internal emotional states, were all bound to result in a collapse of the defenses sooner or later. I just get so worn out mentally, I lose all power to put up an effective resistence. So, on Thursday this week my self confidence and sense of purpose tumbled like the walls of Jericho. I don't think things have collapsed with quite this calamitous intensity for about seven years. The trigger has undoubtedly been my job. I've just felt challenged on too many levels at once - by practical, managerial, psychological, team and spiritual difficulties - and these being unrelentingly present over a number of weeks. I don't think David has ever seen me quite this low before, so he has obviously been very concerned for my well being. These days, fortunately, this state never last for long.
Quite why it happens is a question I've frequently asked, but found no one source that provides a comprehensive answer. Though it does appear to relate to feeling out of my depth, feeling the odd one out, to feeling I don't fit in somehow, to feeling existentialy criticised, as if my very being is just wrong - which discovering I was gay has never exactly helped. From a Buddhist perspective this may be a karma viparka, a volition from a previous life, still working itself out in this one. I find this a helpful way to view things, irrespective of whether I believe it's true or not. It stops me from looking under the carpet all the time for a hidden psychological cause to make sense of it all, because I've never found one. It helps me relax and focus my energy on just cleaning the shit off the carpet. Perhaps my main task in this life, is either, to prevent the shit hitting the fan in the first place, or learning how to eat the shit, or transform shit into ambrosia, the very nectar of life. There is a small, but discernable improvement - even when I'm in the middle of the state I know it's an untrue representation of how I actually am, or how I'm really perceived. But when I'm in this hole all such elements of positivity, however consciously knowable, are still unreachable, and thus impossible for me to hold onto for support. Nothing it appears can stop me from falling into the hole, once I'm perched on the edge of it. Did I fall as a result of circumstance, or did I give myself a final push in? It is usually a mixture of both. If I've learnt anything over the years it's that once you're in the hole - stop making it worse, stop wallowing in it, stop flailing about in resistance, its too late, your in the hole now, stop digging yourself deeper into the state and shout loudly for help. Fortunately my good friend Saddharaja, knows me, and my hole very well. He invariable is the one to help me get out of it, which he did this time. I just wish I could learn how to do this for myself.
In the past these 'pit falls' have prefaced some sort of major change, usually circumstantial - I leave behind a situation, a place, or a job. In some way I'm trying to shake the dust from off my feet, but it clings to my sandals and gets stuck between my toes. So I end up taking it with me. I'm beginning to see that this behaviour has been a strategy of avoidance, an aversion from facing up to the fundamental issue - the subconscious feelings of worthlessness. Changing my circumstances has never changed these. It's just me attempting to manage reality, so it doesn't provoke the underlying suffering state to arise into full consciousness. Though I can achieve this for short periods, it is unsustainable in the long term. So this time, I think I'm just going to have to stay put, and learn how to overcome this pernicious emotional state.