I call it that because I don’t know what else to call it.
I’ve always had the problem of overthinking problems, blowing up their significance manyfold.
On the last day of 2016, I awoke with a terrible crick in my neck. Enough that I almost could not A-RISE from bed. Also, once again, I was struggling with insomnia that day, which for some reason seems to dramatically diminish my mood and ability to cope with life.
If it were mere physical agony, I would have shrugged it off. I’ve always been tough when it comes to pain tolerance, but a sissy against emotional stress.
Recall the second line.
My mind flooded with terrible worries: “if I can’t make it to work on a holiday, I might get fired, I’ll lose everything I’ve worked for, all my struggles to be social when mentally disabled, my barest escape from NEEThood and living on my own all for waste, I will die on the streets” and the like.
Even when I was able to make it to work, my mind was still awash in anxiety for no apparent reason. The problem was gone (still great pain but no longer debilitating) so why was I still flipping out?
I did this for hours into my shift, shuffling like a zombie trying to keep the inner crisis contained while my mind was spiraling into yet another episode of depression.
But a year prior, I had discovered spiritual philosopher Alan Watts. Before him, I was a hard-hearted anti-theist. He was my gateway drug to filling a void I had always felt but was too proud to acknowledge. Fascinating stuff but I had felt nothing, and I hated that I could not experience what was being described by him and many other authors.
Until the last day of 2016, when what was described in this lecture (specifically, the part about “you reach a point of ‘don’t-care’: you stop trying, you stop trying not to try, and suddenly it happens”), when I began thinking lines like:
- By no amount of anxiety will any situation change.
- My soul would never be burdened with more than it can bear.
- God’s got my back; so long as I remember Him, I am not alone.
And so on.
Over the span of several minutes, I felt all traces of my “interior crying” melt away, replaced with a deep warmth, a calm not unlike an opioid high. And I felt this the rest of the night, felt an intense love and compassion for all around me.
Since then, the feeling has gone up and down, but I’ve yet to feel as horrible as I have: my lifelong depression is all but gone, and any anxiety that does crop up can be easily squished by remembering a line like the above.
It took me over two weeks to digest this experience, and I’ve felt almost as light and giddy at times since especially when I think of God.
I am far less self-conscious, speaking with people easily. I’ve become much less self-centered, actually interested in others and wanting to help them with no expectation of “reward”.
All sorts of things seem to just happen “right” now, especially if I am feeling “connected with God”. This aspect is described by Eckhart Tolle in The Power Of Now.
I’ve still gotten angry and sad since, but nowhere near as intense and the feeling subsides quickly, and I do not feel like I am suddenly tumbling back down a dark hell hole over the most minor setbacks.
All-in-all, I feel like a changed person. Life no longer feels like a pointless swim through scum, and in fact is a lot of fun now.
So long as I’ve gotten enough sleep the night prior…