So to express a feeling of depression, one might say, ‘depression is upon me’ rather than ‘I am depressed’. There is a very subtle and beautiful difference here. To say, ‘depression is upon me’ is like saying ‘rain is falling on me’. I know I am not the rain, but I am also fully aware that, in the present time, I am experiencing the qualities of the rain. There is a permanency that comes in when using language such as ‘I am depressed.’ The mind becomes anxious because it thinks this state is never going to end. Out of this anxiety comes action motivated by the desire to be or feel something different. On the other hand, saying, ‘I’m experiencing depression’ or ‘depression is upon me’ is grounded in an awareness that the one experiencing is different from the feeling being experienced. When we know that we are the one experiencing, the one who is aware, rather than the situation or feeling itself, there is no need or inclination to oppose. The threat vanishes and we are free to accept what is there before us, knowing that all experiences and situations pass.
So when you are wanting something in life to be different, it is important to consider whether or not you are in a place of acceptance with what is. Acceptance does not mean that you would not prefer to be in a different situation, but that you are willing to say ‘Yes’ to what is present. If desire for change is rooted in resistance, you can be sure that whatever you are resisting will either persist or recreate itself in another situation.
When there is awareness of and acceptance for what is, anything that is no longer serving you will naturally shift on its own. This does not mean that you will not have an active part in that shift. It does mean that you will feel a natural urge to do whatever is required of you and that your actions will come from clarity rather than from anxiety. You will not have to force yourself to do anything. If you sense a need to force action, stop and ask yourself what energy is motivating you. If you cannot act from acceptance, inspiration or enthusiasm, you are probably resisting something. Question that. Notice it. Be aware that the fact of your noticing means you are not it and you can then be curious. What is it in your life right now that you would rather not accept? Where are you saying ‘No’? That is your door to freedom.
Awareness and acceptance create space and allow for the energy of curiosity to move in. When we are in a state of resistance, the impulse is of course to get away from what we are resisting. It is too frightening to move closer to it or lean into it because we are afraid it will consume us or perpetuate our unhappiness. When we are aware of ourselves as the observer and are not identified with what we experience, we can become interested in it. We say, “Okay, there you are. What are you? What do you have to teach me?” We lean into it, knowing it is not us, and, with the light of awareness and gentle acceptance, the darkness dissolves. This is alchemy. In the simple act of observing and accepting, we transform those parts of our lives that seemed distasteful or unacceptable into our greatest assets.
There is a door to freedom in every moment. Ironically, that door is often signaled by our discomfort. Our lives are like the river in that our natural impulse is to flow in beautiful harmony with the elements around us. We do not need to exert effort to make our lives do what they have a natural impulse to do.