Abhasavada, Abyss, Contemplation, Depression, Hard questions, Insomnia, Life's purpose, Meaningless, Purpose, Surrender
Been struggling a little bit in the last couple of weeks.
Y’see, I’ve been hanging out with my old mate Depression.
But I’ve been trying to use that to my advantage, asking myself a lot of hard questions.
I wonder if everyone eventually gets to the point where they question their very existence? I know I have been.
All around me, I see people with a purpose, or at least it seems that way. I wonder if that’s really the case, though? My own experience suggests otherwise.
When you strip away all the things that we humans do – such as having a job, going to the gym, watching TV, exercising, meditating, spending time with friends, drinking at the pub, and so on… can you relate to yourself?
Do you define who you are based on the things you do? The roles you have in life? Do you believe that makes you who you really are?
If you’re suddenly not those things, does that make you a different person, or are you still you? Can you get by if that role is irrevocably gone? Does that make you less of who you think you are?
Are we really the sum of our experiences, or is that just Abhasavada (theory of appearance)?
We humans devise our own theories and call that reality. We try to get other people to buy into our reality, too. And because we don’t like to be alone, we buy in to both our own and other people’s, to varying degrees (which, is often the cause of conflict).
As human beings, we create meaning and value where, inherently, there isn’t any. We find reasons to do and to be, and we make that mean something about ourselves.
In some cases, that’s called making friends, working a job, having personal preferences, being a traveller, getting into fashion, writing a blog, or collecting teapots, to name but a few. In other cases, it’s called politics and/or organised religion. The list of ways we buy into various meanings is endless… what we say we are, what we say we aren’t… all of it.
Not that this is bad. It’s just part of the process of life.
Perhaps, it could be said that our desire to create meaning is part of the human condition of suffering? Sure feels that way sometimes.
But, when all of that breaks down, when it’s all stripped away, when all the meaning seems meaningless… what do we do then?
How do we find a reason to get out of bed in the morning? How do we find a purpose we can relate to that doesn’t seem contrived or pointless?
I have no answers… I wonder if there are any. Last night I didn’t get much sleep, my brain reeling while I contemplated the seemingly endless abyss of meaningless meaning.
The only thing I’ve worked out is… just to surrender. The self to the Self. And remain open, hoping I can tap into something that makes sense for me within a sea of everything that doesn’t.
I want to matter to other people’s lives. Be of service. Be useful, in a way that really counts. But is that just an oxymoron?
Wow. I can hardly wait to see the comments this post generates. This is one of those conversations that could go on for years.
Sorry depression is dogging you. I hope your world brightens up soon.
Wow Svasti, we are bumping along a similar path of reflection on this purpose stuff! I can really relate to the desire for wanting to find connection, too. Having also moved around a lot, and not being near family, it’s been hard to build relationships and community for me, while feeling my sense of purpose slip through my weakening fingers. During months of recovery/isolation I haven’t left the house more than a dozen times in 6 months – I crave and mourn the loss of my yoga classes, teaching art, just meeting a friend for lunch! I try to find inspiration where I can – in the grace of nature outside my window, or in my furry pets! Each plant, bird, cloud I see has it’s ‘purpose’ without question, but somehow mine is up for debate? Not a lot of sense in that, but I can go there. I think there is a lot to be said to the simple act of surrender, and to surrendering to renewed purpose in each days light.
Know that your visits and words always add meaning to my day,
I know you matter to me, Svasti–very much so as a matter of fact. I think you ultimately know that you do as well–but when depression rears its ugly head, it’s hard for us to view life realistically.
Depression causes us to view our livcs only through the abyss. There have been many times when I have struggled with depression and come down to the questions you have asked: what is the purpose, what is the meaning, why am I here still?
The answer is that we are all important links in the chain of life. Not one person exists who doesn’t impact the world in *some way*–so no matter what you have influenced the world a great deal–probably in ways you never realized.
When I am feeling depressed, I do service work–and this helps me every time. When I start questioning my presence in the world–I try to think of ways to give back to people. This helps me more than anything–it really does. When I am helping others–in whatever way I do, it takes me outside of myself and my own problems and allows me to take part in being a link in the human chain–one that keeps the chain together (because God knows I did enough in my addiction to be a weak link in the overall chain).
I hope this depression passes quickly, Svasti–it’s such hell to be in the midst of it–I have been where you are many times. But again, nothing gets me out of depression more quickly than going to work at the battered women’s shelter, or volunteering for a few hours at our local food bank. When I get outside of myself, I see the world much more realistically.
Here’s a (((((hug)))) for you my dear friend–you take care and know that your presence is very important to so many people.
Peas (I like ’em smashed) 🙂
Svasti! I hope you can hear this. You are a light. Your words have cultivated a connection that feels personal. I have prayed for you and wish you well!
Thank you for you!
Catatonic Kid said:
I’ll quote a master, Socrates, because I’ve NFI on this one really:
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”
Do you think maybe it goes back to paradox? That struggle to learn to live with impossible things, our own impossible natures made absolutely possible by the simple fact of change. These arguments go back to Genesis though so it’s all history repeating until we find what you’re looking for – connection, somewhere, sometime.
I trip myself up making the assumption that there’s a difference between things that are ‘real’ and things that are ‘really real’. Feel like I’m out of 1984 now but this stuff gets like that, no?
P.S. Love the moon pic. Gorgeous!
Dear beloved friends, your words and support have been… well, I’m not sure how to describe the way I’m feeling right now. But thank you. From the bottom of my heart, for caring. Thank you…
@tricia – Yes, it could go on and on. These aren’t new ideas I’m writing about. Just those ideas as they relate to me, right now.
@Karin – I too, have moved around so much in my life… it’s hard to build those connections you mention. I am so sorry for your isolation. But I admire what you do create and how you colour your world, despite it all. That takes a lot of courage.
Can you really do no yoga at all? Not even the extremely gentle, seated Pawanmuktasana series? I find that yoga to be very helpful and you can do it without breaking a sweat or standing up. You should try!!
@Melinda – You’re right about making something/someone else the focus, rather than one’s own tortured world. It does work wonders. In fact, the happiest times in my life have been when its not about me at all. And when I’m not identifying as ‘me’, with all my likes/dislikes and anxieties. Just when I’m a ‘human doing’, existing and participating. Yes, I know…
@yogabrooks – Thank you for your lovely kind words.
@Catatonic Kid – There’s little in this world, in terms of human experience, that hasn’t been felt or experienced before. We are interconnected and interrelated and what we learn, someone else has, too. We do look for connection, and I believe I’m actually looking for ‘meaning I can live with’ – something that doesn’t seem too false. But will I ever find that and be at peace with that, or will it always be something I question? I think, its the latter.
The moon pic is stunning! I didn’t take it, but thought it most worthy to be shared.
Liara Covert said:
Svasti, every human being is an energy being at a different stage of learning and awareness. Ech person is invited to explore reasons for existence, thoughts and feelings. As you imply,love and surrender are intrinsic to healing. You may be interested in exploring posts like these:
Love & Light,
Hi Svasti ~ Beautifully written and I empathise with you so much.
This year, one (or two) lines from a poem by ee cummings have been my grounding thought (maybe I’ve said this before, because it keeps running around in my head.
In Time of Daffodils who know
The goal of living is to grow.
Perhaps the key is to learn to enjoy the process
@Liara Covert – Thanks for the comment and the links. All I can say is, being honest about what’s happening is better than saying nothing. Love it seems, is one of the only uncontrived qualities going.
@soulMerlin – Thank you, Henry. That’s a beautiful couplet. Interesting isn’t it? I’d be happy if my life had more content that meant something to me. But now, when it feels and is quite empty, I am not. It seems wrong, to have so little to do in this life. That is definitely part of my struggle.
Your gracious help to me last week meant more to me than I can say in words. I am not at eloquent as you Svasti but my heart thanks you from down deep for the time, wisdom and support you gave me last week.
We have never met in person and yet I knew I could reach out to you over the Internet to help me with “that” problem.
You were the perfect antidote for what ailed me, my own self-doubt.
You reassured me my intuition was in tact, my red flag meter was not, in fact, broken, and you reinforced that we women shouldn’t apologize for setting safety boundaries.
Every life has significant meaning. Every life adds to the process of growth and learning. Every life matters.
You are a gift to me. You matter. Thank you.