The darkest corner of the soul


Very often, when I see clearly, when I'm able to organize reality as it is and my dreams and difficulties, together with my successes, vulnerabilities and strengths, I try to investigate why and how I feel sometimes down. My baggage is one of anxiety and depression, true, although I understand and I explain moments of sadness and agitation as part of the "norm".

Having gone through these bitter moments does not annoy me the least whenever I have clarity, when I'm not experiencing one of those moments. The discomfort that they bring does not look so bad during clear days. Quite the opposite, I look at them as inevitable part of my personal growth and development. I understand that they are triggered by specific events that hit me where I am my most vulnerable, weaknesses that I can choose to strengthen with patience, calm and little by little. However, when sadness comes back, I would give anything to make it short, soften its intensity, even eradicate it altogether. But of course, it would not be called discomfort otherwise,.

Hanging on, practicing kindness with these dark spaces, not resisting them, as if I anticipated these healthy thoughts I know I will have when they are over, are some of the strategies that have been most helpful to restore my mood. That, and also paying attention to other things that coexist with such darkness which I cannot pretend I don't care about: other people, projects that make me excited, the desire to leave that cloud behind. Finally, it is very useful sometimes too to reconsider my relationship with the discomfort I feel and observe it as an ally in my search for happiness. In fact, both joyful and difficult feelings want the same: my well-being.

These strategies are more or less summarized in Matthieu Ricard's book "Happiness" and they are fundamental in the mindfulness and compassion training that I practice and teach. Among the tree strategies, let's name them "distracting", "observing" and "restructuring", the third one is the most powerful without any doubt. It is founded on the two previous ones, purely attention skills, and includes an analysis that is part of the heathier perspective that I was talking about at the beginning. Without illness, which is not to be desired, we would not know what health is, without discomfort, what would we call well-being?, without darkness, there would not be light. This is much more than a word game.

My desire, from today's space of sadness in which I am, is make personal again this truth for myself and for you, dear readers, and allow this conviction to emerge this way. If I do it for you, I do it for me, if I do it for me, it may help somebody else, so the two objectives are inseparable. I do not see ahead a future exempt from difficulties and I wish that we survive. Not only that, but I wish that we flow with all the ease, all the happiness that may be possible. I wish that we become strong and flexible at the same time: resilient.

Flowing cannot mean sparing ourselves from which ultimately will help us shine, i.e., have health and well-being: illness, discomfort, darkness... reality. As far as I find this conviction in my heart, I will tolerate much better this darkest corner of the soul, as inevitable as uncomfortable, and I will be better able to see its potential or even its strange beauty.