I received an email recently, titled, “Sitting with Our Sadness.” And it began: ”Sitting with our sadness takes the courage to believe that we can bear the pain and we will come out the other side.”
Now, in many spiritual circles, there’d be a nodding of heads at this. Maybe you know what I teach well enough to expect the opposite response here? Indeed, I was shaking my head.
Here’s some things to look at:
- What is wrong with sadness? Why does it require special treatment? What is that makes sadness equivalent to pain and suffering?
- There isn’t a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Sitting with a feeling with the agenda of getting rid of it, this perpetuates the very suffering it aims to end. It continues to affirm the pleasure/pain cycle as our primary experience.
- Of course feelings change. Whether you do something or not. There’s no personal achievement in being happy, nor badge of honour to be earned from being sad.
- You are not distant from Awareness in sadness. Sadness is known in Awareness. There is no feeling that can distance us from who we are. The knowing of ourselves as Awareness is equally present in all experience.
- You do not become a better person by surviving sadness. You don’t become more compassionate. There is no teaching in sadness. It’s a feeling.
And all this might sound quite harsh, compared to the soothing, hopeful, tones of the email. But the email was bolstering the idea of separation, the idea of the sufferer. A suffocating kindness.
I’m pointing to the exact opposite. As I said in my article last Wednesday, “ . . . hope is the biggest distraction from Now.”
Don’t sit with the sadness. Turn to it. Embrace it. Bring it so close that you see there is no point where you end and sadness begins. That you can see sadness is not a visitor but a movement of your being, the one being we share. This recognition is ‘Now’.
Then what? No denial of sadness. No denial of experience. No denial of Awareness. No personal blame, responsibility or pride.
How might life appear, free of the restriction of ‘sitting with’ anything?