How to deal with the crippling moments of life

What can we do when we go through a sticky patch and the cloud of sadness is not moving away? Let me share how I turn gloomy days into compost heaps to cultivate happiness.

The most shocking moment in my recent history was when my elder sister passed away. I learned about this over a phone call while I was in the middle of participating in an interview panel. I could not help crying ( I hardly cry, and am quite a composed man in general). That was a moment of awakening. Until that day I believed I have good control of my emotions. The bereavement went though days and weeks, with crippling emotions of denial, anger, grief leading to a kind of depression. How did I come out of it?

First I recognised I was in a very complex form of sad emotion, and that I should seek some help. My closest circle, my loving wife, family and few close friends became the counsellors. I also excused myself from busy business engagements.

Then I tried to accept the loss. That was extremely difficult. After a lot of struggle and consistent effort I found two specific meditation techniques, which I would love to share with you as a most important discovery: a). Loving kindness (metta) Meditation, b). Contemplation on impermanence. I used these two techniques intermittently on a daily basis sitting during long meditations.

Contemplation on impermanence: we are subject to birth and death. But that superficial knowledge is not strong enough to awake our wisdom, to identify & harvest silver lining of the cloud. How do we penetrate through such blind folds? I had started contemplating over process of decay. I had gone into visuals (mindful exercises) to observe the stages of decay of a dead body. That had opened up a new vista into how does the nature work. Cycles of inter-dependance. How does a decaying body serve infestations of insects, worms and micro-organisms living in the soil. The tissues, muscles and bones turning into minerals and the manner they are being consumed by root system of larger trees. That turns into flowers and fruits that we eat. “Death is a part of natural cycle of existence”, that was the wisdom.

Loving kindness meditation: this technique helped me to support that wisdom to grow. For instance, when the contemplation opens up into new understanding about natural cycle, it needs more nurturing to expand that understanding into a broader realisation. Yet, the negative emotions such as sorrow form a barrier against that realisation.

Loving kindness meditation helps to overcome that. How? Loving kindness (Metta) is an immensely powerful form of positive energy. That can transform the negative energy into a neutral form. The more we develop loving kindness, the faster the darker clouds lose the power, and our body tissues relax, mind opens up. We gain new positive energy.

Thus intermittent use of these two meditations daily, helped me to recover from the darkest patch, over few weeks.

What I have learned? We need different meditation techniques to penetrate through the sticky clouds when we encounter. They will not only help us to pass through the cloud, these practices take us into another higher level of spiritual empowerment.

I trust and pray this will help you to open up your wisdom too!

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