Vigilant of the ultimate gloom
Gavin T. Murphy keeps a blog on ilovebipolar.com and he looks to Ignatian Spirituality for strength and inspiration.
Oh, the heaviness, the despair, the sad, sad feeling of dread, of defeat. I feel like a dead body washed up on the beach, no good to anyone, no more living. And I feel as though it is all my fault, that I deserve to be dead.
I ponder the destructive state of dread. In terms of the inner critic, the pointed finger is replaced by a vicious dog foaming at the mouth. There is no more momentum. Just looking to my sinfulness and woefulness. My mind is in chaos: spiralling in negativity and fixed on the mud and darkness of the world. How can I be vigilant? My heart is also bruised and battered. It was once alive and well with the optimism of my dreams, but that has now receded leaving me to dwell on my uselessness and lack of productivity. I have no sense of gratitude and I feel far away from ‘God’ who desires to spur me to fullness of life. How can I get back my peace and serenity?
But from the deepest hole, I hear a sound. Someone calling my name… “We love you. We treasure you. Climb up the ladder and grace us with your presence.” And I climb, and I climb, and little by little I feel the warmth of the fire.
I can tune into my inner observer by breathing and noticing my thoughts, feelings and sensations. I can reorder my mind toward positivity and realness. I look to the relationship between the lotus flower and the mud: mindful of the monochrome but also of the colour. I can be bold without feeling the heaviness of shame. I can grow in heartfulness by journeying with my suffering, loving it, soothing it and calling out for ‘God’. I can love myself enough to climb out of this depression. I can make a cup of tea, say “Hi” to my family and call my friend. I can tune into the music of love by hearing the sounds of people and singing along with the melody of gratitude.
I can operate out of two levels of experiencing. On the surface level, I experience despair and turmoil and the pain and suffering of the world. On the deeper level, which can be understood through intuition, I am held secure by the goodness of the love of ‘God’. It is not easy to tune into love in the depths of depression; it takes hard-earned wisdom to believe that good work can still be done and that I am worthy of help from anyone. This can also be a wonderful opportunity to grow in faith, acknowledging the greatest need for the divine. “God, shine through my cracks with your light. Help me to tread this intermediary stage and to be attentive to your love.”
“Hallelujah for the rising sun of balance!” Mindfulness enabled me to replace dread with boldness and ingratitude with gratitude. Mysticism called me to an intuitive level of peace and opened up new possibilities of growth. As an aspiring mindful mystic of the ordinary life, I am encouraged to see through the lens of love and compassion and to embody the wise heart of the lotus.
[This fourth poetic reflection on mental health for young people is in line with the Jesuits’ new apostolic preference: “To accompany the young in the creation of a hope-filled future”. More to follow soon].