Living Fully While in a Background of Malaise and Sadness

Coffee Time – Sunday – 12/02/12

Gary: In being with my feelings this morning in meditation I found them quite evasive. What am I really feeling? I focused into this critical matter, trying to slow down and feel into the feelings arising from within without necessarily naming or labeling them, and certainly not immediately analyzing them by trying to determine what had influenced or created them. As I contemplated what arose in me I could feel what could be described as a cloud of malaise.   Pat: What I am hearing and feeling in me as your share this is that you are describing no movement, no energy, colored with a flavor of depression.

Gary: Looking at my life and all the richness that has filled it I am quite amazed that this morning, when I let things settle down, I become aware that so much of my life has been painted against a backdrop of malaise, or sadness. What an awareness this is, a bit shocking, but I can see the truth in this. Let me look up the definition of malaise: 1) a condition of general bodily weakness or discomfort, often marking the onset of disease 2) a vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort 3) a feeling of unease or depression.  I can say that what I am feeling is close to the second of these definitions. Perhaps my Joe Bfstplk mood that you mentioned for yourself yesterday in relationship to your childhood with Dad.

For me malaise is also a kind of deep loneliness. This takes me back to my childhood – which, though I was not conscious of it at the time, was painted against a backdrop of loneliness. When I am honest with myself, I was not really emotionally close to Mom or Dad and really did not understand or know the experience of emotional connection or love. Brother Paul and I got along and enjoyed playing with each other, but still something was missing it seems. We are much closer today. And I did not make many friends at school or in the neighborhood. I was a loner.

Pat: I remember you describing your 1996 experience with Sister Catherine Griffiths in Massachusetts who, on a five-day personal retreat you took with her, was herself shocked at getting an image of you in your mom’s womb bound from head to toe in chains.  From birth your life seemed to be a life of isolation, being bound up in chains and not able to connect with others. You did, however, find your natural inner longing for vibrancy and spontaneity, but this inner longing was clouded over with loneliness, malaise, and sadness. Your longing would have been for the natural arising of the Life Force in you, of your Divine Essence. How wonderful that now you are at a place of awareness where you can see and feel the clouds of malaise and see that they are pervasive and distort and cover your Life Force.

Gary: Yes, it is good to see and feel this inner climate. There is no need to fight it, to deny it, or to numb it or cover it over with activity that obscures the inner climate. My job is to slow down and allow the inner sadness to be felt and felt deeply.

Pat: Yesterday you spoke of bitterness and resentment. A few weeks ago in our session with Sage and Anthony, Anthony mentioned the possibility that we both have a bit of what he called Anxiety Attachment Disorder – that feeling of uncertainty and unfocused fear that comes up in us when in the presence of those with whom we are supposed to be most intimate – we are never totally comfortable with those with whom we would expect to be most at home and comfortable.  A child lacking that core bonding experience would feel deeply lonely and sad. I can see that this is a very painful place in you.

With this absence of relational and emotional experience it is no wonder that this cloud of malaise came into being within your interior. With your heart closed down, it was your salvation that you could open your mind to let life and light come into you the way you did – the life you found with your Erector Set, Electric Trains, Chemistry set, studies of math and science, Beethoven and other classical music, astronomy and cosmology, the bible, church dogma, and things spiritual. These all gave you a rich and vibrant Life in your mind.

But there was a bleak absence of what you unconsciously most longed for: loving mutual relationships with others from your heart. You could not find this warmth with Mom or Dad, or with peers or family members. And because of this there was really no way for you to be in an emotional relationship with God or Jesus Christ. Spirituality, to the degree spirituality existed for you, was manifested in your mind where it showed up as your delight in big ideas and concepts – relating to thinkers like Ken Wilber. Connecting with God emotionally or with whomever this Jesus Christ is or was, well that was just beyond your capacity to experience.

Yet the sweetness and innocence within your young heart would still shine though – your kindness and generosity, all manifestations of your Life Force. That Life Force is what lives behind the clouds!

Gary: This is wonderful to hear from you. … I again recall Pathwork Lecture 159 Life Manifestation Reflects Dualistic Illusion. This lecture speaks of the ups and downs of life and notes that one can be fully in the down space (my malaise), be under the clouds and feeling this space fully, but not be hopeless or depressed. Rather while under the clouds, one can fully experience one’s feelings in the clouds, with the certainty that the sun is behind the clouds and that the sun will come out again. This would be a backdrop mood of sunshine rather than malaise. Knowing that the sun is always there, we are free to feel the malaise or sadness fully. This is quite a freedom — a Freedom to Live Fully, through all the ups and downs. While the weather is unpredictable, we can Know that the sun is always there whether or not the clouds block the view. This is a Life of Faith, a Life of Freedom.

Pat: We do not have any more control of our inner weather than we do our outer weather. We need to be easy on ourselves when the inner weather is cloudy. Gary: This morning, amazingly, since it is December, we are sitting outside on the deck in the quiet rain. It could on other occasions be a lightning storm. And we actually come to enjoy the rain and the lightening. So too can we come to enjoy the malaise and other weather that shows up in our inner weather? Pat: Yes, back to Rumi’s The Guest House (open).

Shared in love, Gary