Excellent talk/discussion on the topic of “dark nights”. Very nice to know how to handle, especially if you are a yoga/meditation practitioner or just prone to experience them, and how to get out of it. (Trigger warning: anxiety, depression, negative mind states).
I think it’s great when spiritual teachers talk openly about these matters. Many meditators get into spiritual practice because they want answers to their discontentment with life, to get happy. And often with practice we will hit spots in our minds that makes waves into daily life, for example if you have anxiety, it can momentarily get amplified when it is uncovered with practice. So it’s good to know that the goal is not to bypass all our problems, but to face them and to “cut through” them so that our natural state gets revealed. Over and over until all karmas are erased ❤
The buddhist path was never about feeling good and calm all the time, but to unravel and reveal our true selves, our buddha nature, to understand ourself and how the mind works. 📿
“We should try to avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons – we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing. When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialized or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity.”
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche 🧡📿
(The buddhist shawl I am wearing is an outer sign of my inner commitment to the vajrayana buddhist path)
You know how you need to pretend to sleep in order to fall asleep? And at some point it just happens. Maybe it’s the same with other areas of life. Fake it till you make it, kind of, not in a bad way – just a dedicated one. I have noticed at least that the same applies to yoga and meditation sometimes. If I feel stressed, anxious and restless, I force myself to do the practice anyway. And at some level it still does its magic, of that I am 100% sure. In between the sleepless thoughts and rough emotions – they become like clouds in the pastel coloured sky.
Wishing all a lovely calm Polar night, and remember that it’s in darkness you shine the brightest 🌌✨🎆
Some things I truly believe are yours to keep, that no one can take from you:
Your spiritual practice. In my case, it is vajrayana buddhism. It has saved my life in many ways – both in dealing with chronic illness, but also the normal existential stuff like finding purpose and joy 🙂🙏🏼📿
Your ambitions and dreams (if they come from a place of pure motivation and love). In my case now, it has been starting a little family with children 💜🤱
Your ethnicity and ancestry, no matter how lost or scattered it is in this modern world. In my case from my personal experience, I feel very connected to my home in the Arctic and being uralic/finno-ugric (sámi). I didn’t as a kid and teenager, at all, but now as I am older, I feel like I can “own” it more. I don’t speak any of the uralic languages, and feel a sadness about this. A disconnection from my own culture. And a feeling of not belonging to a community, when they can’t speak to me. I hope my son will not feel as disconnected. But I have found other ways to express this – primarily through art and duodji. Not all languages are of verbal nature, but are equally important, I think. 🎨
Your creativity. Not necessarily arts, but anything you find a solution to that involves stepping out of the habitual intellectual mind and into a state of spontaneity and flow.🌊
Your struggles. This sounds negative, but for me I mean that my struggles are valid. I have a body that has its big share of physical problems, and I don’t mean to whine. At all! 🙂 Just to express that this is my reality, and that chronic (perhaps invisible to others) illness can happen to anyone, any time in life.💙
Your love. This one sounds cheesy but I think we all can feel love and that we have love as a basic human need. To receive it and give it. And we all have different ways of showing it. I like giving gifts for example.. but am not so good verbally expressing how I feel. I like receiving kind loving deeds, but not to be smothered. So understanding how we show it differently is important too. I also believe that as humans we have the capacity to love many at the same time. Whether it is friends or partners, plural. Romantic, familial or platonic.❤
“The buddha, the dharma and sangha are the triple gems of the spiritual life beyond the bounds of this world. … Humility is the moisture or fertilizer from which devotion will grow. To help that devotion grow, remember the following: Your friends, family, identity or projects, big or small, will not provide you with the fundamental basis necessary for bliss and happiness. Absolutely everything around you is impermanent, even your body, and while you can be sure you will die, you can have no certainty about when, where or how. The people with whom you associate, who accompany you through this life, will all eventually lead you to pain. All your relationships are temporary. When you check into a hotel you don’t immediately think that you’ll spend eternity with the managers, maids and waiters. Your home, your friends, your ideals and values are just part of a hotel experience. Sooner or later you will have to check out and leave them all behind.”
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
I don’t think this is a negative quote or way to look at things, although it sounds negative at first! Remembering impermanence is a good motivator for making the best of life and our time here.
You don’t need to be vegetarian or vegan to be buddhist. I am not. Tantric buddhists have historically not been. We always pray for the animals (say mantras), and dedicate the merit.
You don’t need to be able to handle cold well or have any knowledge about reindeers to be sámi. I don’t. The old ways of life are changing, and only around 10% are herders today. Also, traditionally, sámis have been both fisherpeople, farmers, etc.
You don’t need to be eccentric to be a painter. I am not. I just like making art.
You don’t need to be good at maths or into technology to be autistic. I am not. In fact, I am so terrible at math I got extra tutoring.
You don’t need to have “everything in order” before becoming a parent. I don’t. Who does?
You don’t need to be scared to call yourself disabled if you have a chronic illness which limits you. It’s not a bad word, it’s just an explanation of your lived reality.
I am all these things and labels, but just mostly myself ❤ Or at least trying to be most of the time.