In A Slump

It’s the meditation, or the lack thereof, that’s killing my perspective. I used to be able to let things roll off my back. Angry people, rude people, tired people, suffering people—all of them, I could generate compassion for on the spot rather than reacting and spinning into my own internal dialogue. Now, at work especially, I could care less. There are people I turn my attention to and there are people I turn away from. There are people who I allow to destroy my mood and whose negative comments play on a repeating loop in my mind. There are also people who brighten my day and make me smile, but I used to be able to generate that just fine on my own.

Being unable to generate this perspective has nothing to do with may or may not actually be going on in the workplace. It has to do with cultivating the virtues and mental pathways for letting things slide, for easing into each day, and for opening my heart. In place of effort I have been giving excuses: I’d rather be writing. I’d rather be working out. I’d rather be freelancing to try and save money faster and quit my job sooner.

My resistance to meditation feels insurmountable right now, and it’s times like these that are exactly why I never took refuge in the first place. Taking refuge, to me, is a lifelong promise. I don’t trust myself enough for that—because I know that deep down in my heart there are other things I’d rather do in the here and now than sit still and hold steady and dedicate myself to attaining enlightenment or praying for all sentient beings. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s true. I’d rather write. I’d rather have a life partner I can laugh with at the end of my day. I’d rather be able to travel.

I’m trained enough to know that it’s not meditation OR these other things—no, that’s hardly the case. But the façade of the here and now is winning day in and day out, and I can’t seem to persuade myself that life is timeless and that everything happens for a karmic reason and that someday I will be reborn again. All that seems to matter is getting out of my job and writing my heart out until I become the known and respected writer that I want to be. My training and hours on the meditation cushion feel lost to me.

  • tsbroome

    It was so interesting to read this. My daughter is only 15 but very mature and having many of the same feelings you have expressed. She has been writing since she was four, even then writing books,there are papers scattered all over our house with writings on them. As you said, she used to be so tolerant of things and people, but lately she is turning away from certain people that she used to be with and exploring more thoughts on religion, travel, the state of the world, etc. Sometimes she has such angst about it all, as her mom I feel like I should be able to offer solutions, but I think she will have to find her own path through all of this. I had her read your post this morning, nice to see someone else out there with similar things going on. Kindred spirits I think. Good luck with your writing, follow your heart!

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