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Morning Intention: To remember that my first duty is to be transparent about my pain. I’ve been going through some depression lately, and an old saying from AA has been coming to me a lot: “You can’t save your ass and your face at the same time.” Externally, that means asking for help, which is often hard for me. Internally, that means replacing my defensiveness and judgmental-ness with mindfulness. That can be even harder to do. Normally, when we see the darkness in our own minds, we respond by either getting defensive (“I’m okay!”) or judgmental (“I’m so fucked up!”) — neither of which allows us to see the darkness objectively, as the Buddha said, like a person sitting in a chair looking at a person lying on the floor: with a heightened mind. My depression tends to involve a lot of self-pity. I’ve been thinking lately that I can’t go on giving so much to others without being supported by them. There’s some truth to that thought, and some fiction too, which is why I have to very careful to let the thought express itself without automatically believing it. If I get defensive (“But I HAVE been taken advantage of!”) or judgmental (“Stop feeling sorry for yourself, Paul!”) I’m no longer really seeing my pain clearly and therefore no closer to exiting the depression. But if I can have a parent-child relationship to my self-pity, listening to it lovingly without putting it in charge, the pain starts to work itself out. The darkness is in me, but it isn’t me. And it can stay as long as it needs to without dragging me to its bottom. So here’s the practice: Today, try to be transparent about your pain. Talk to close friends, but also guard against defensiveness and judgmental-ness in your own mind. See your pain as a visitor, and remind yourself: “It’s in me, but it isn’t me.” And then focus on your breath, and feel the ease in doing nothing but breathing. Truly, your mind has space enough to accommodate both great darkness and great joy. #morning #intention #depression #defensiveness #judgment #mindfulness #meditation #love #advaita #ramanamaharshi 2 ♡ 0 ✍ March 21