Perhaps the best thing about endlessly purchasing and perusing books is knowing exactly where to look when I’m needing a particular turn of phrase. All of Austen is available for wit, Merton for quasi-Christian-Buddhist ‘silence is golden’ tendencies, etc. But if I want a mood, I also know know which authors will squash or evoke something. I have four statistical books perfect for insomnia, Heller for cynicism, Malachi Martin for caution. More to the point, I picked up the book I had dropped last year and resumed in in the same spot. I’ve always had this knack for putting a book down for one or more years, picking it up and resuming without needing to review the previous page or chapter.
If you don’t like what I’m doing, saying, or reading without good reason and just object; you’ve automatically lost my audience. I’d say that two years ago I didn’t understand or value in any sense the nuance between religion and spirituality; I couldn’t parse out foundation from trappings. I frowned upon it and adhered only to religion, not understanding that spirituality has its own importance. I didn’t go seeking for any grasp or understanding, I had shut it out.
In November ’09 I took any job that I could find; I worked as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army: paid to ring a bell next to the red bucket. I hated it as a job. Coming out of my rejecting the SMMEs, the days and months were already darkly tinted; I was already in the shadows, and this job provided the transition from shadow to darkness. At first I fought against it, but in buying a book from the library resale I learned that I didn’t always have to fight off the darkness. The author, Thomas Moore, has a way of writing in a spiritual manner but not a religious one. Reading his work, automatically took me out of my comfort zone.
As I was being pushed out of my comfort zone in terms of religion versus spirituality, I was pushing others out of their own. I stopped fighting the darkness and the depression. I didn’t give into the depression, obviously, but I just sat in it. Like a hiker lost in a thick fog, I didn’t waste my lethargic energy on wandering around but sat down on a mossy rock and waited for the dawn. It was one of those fogs so thick that the trees drip and it sounds like rain, and the drops pierce through your sweater. You’re on-edge sitting there in the dark just waiting, waiting.
So I sat and waited. I got through my depression, intentionally this time, the hard way; it’s the only way I’ve ever known for getting through depression. I lost quite a bit of audience. I remember one prayer meeting, some religious people who were emotionally sensitive but religiously neurotic (cautious in all the wrong ways) told me to just make nice, to play pretend. Those blithe statements of “smile and soon you’ll feel happy.” Pardon me. My emotions and states of mind are my own. I chose to share with some people and not all were understanding. Anything that’s not within their experience wasn’t valid. So I ignored their opinions and turned to others who understood. My spiritual director was understanding and supportive, my therapist a phone call away; the bases were covered.
So, this week with it’s crazy paperwork fiasco at work (let’s just torch it and start over), mom’s episodes, finals, lack of sleep, Grampa, and other things, I made the choice to just shut down emotionally. It’s really its own state of consciousness – being emotionless. I’m capable of emotional reactions, but I chose to ignore the ones that relate to my interior world. Knowing that I was in need of spiritual component again, I turned to Moore’s writing. It’s nice to get confirmation that it’s okay to be awake at night, to be in the dark.