Further Understanding

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Lately, I’ve written a few different blogs that are lurking on my iPad. I’ve yet to upload them for various reasons, but that’s okay; I’ll make sure that I note when I finally get around to putting them online that they come, chronologically, after this blog.

That being said, something happened recently. I’ve been in the process of integrating the Shadow for quite some time, and most recently, I fell ill. Each time I’ve been sick since last December, I’ve noticed that I was going through some kind of purgation.

 

I’m not sure if anyone else has had a parallel experience of a physical sickness manifesting in their body when they’ve come upon a deep psychological transformation or integration or not.

 

One thing I should note is that my dreams have for many years seen me back in high school. These always bothered me for various reasons, not the least of which that I’ve already graduated from college.

 

But now I’m having dreams about entering college, and not the colleges I’ve actually attended; the dreams are actually about larger colleges as opposed to the smaller ones I attended.

 

This isn’t a reference to my actual education so much as it is to my internal or spiritual education, I would guess. So, the moving on up to the college level makes me think I’ve made some kind of transition.

 

So, I integrated some of the Shadow, in fact, probably a large part of it. I resisted it for far too long, and the scope of this blog as a whole couldn’t explain to others the kind of torment I endured during the integration process. I can’t give specifics because they wouldn’t make sense to other people. Suffice is to say that once you realize that the Shadow largely consists of irrational processes that control us and direct us to do things we may not consciously want to do or would find horrifying and repugnant, you have to also accept this reality and allow yourself to feel the darkest of the dark impulses- and accept them.

 

What I mean by “accept” is difficult to explain. “Acceptance” is not the same as merely making a conscious acknowledgment, nor is it a conscious acting out of the Shadow impulses, though in some cases one can act out the impulses without any kind of social repercussion. I wish I could explain.

 

But then, this process happened while I was sick and thereof in a slightly altered state of mind as well, so accepting was easier for me to do.

 

The immediate effect that happened is the blockages which I’ve so long lamented of in my heart began to disappear. When the particular Shadow problems appear now, as soon as I accept them, the block that appears in my heart goes away, and I can feel Longing and Love much, much more easily.

 

The other blockage is in my head; this was a more recent discovery. Whereas the energy moving through me used to catch at the heart and go no further, it now catches as the base of the skull and seems to only go into my head as a whole in very small amounts.

 

The condition as it stands reminds me slightly of the unitive condition or what tastes I’ve had of it before, though it’s still gradually building at the moment. In general, I feel more peaceful, I seem to enjoy myself and life more, and I have this sense that the next great movement is the integration of the anima/animus.

 

Though some would argue that as a male I lack the animus, I disagree; I have seen the animus time and time again during the course of my dreams, even since I was quite young, and my animus largely overlaps with the Self. I’m okay with that, too.

 

Anyway, the next step of integration that was revealed to me deals with realizing that the guy I’ve seen in other guys is actually a projection of me. I’m actually the guy I long for, for I am the Longing One, and the Longing One, in turn, is actually the Inner Christ.

 

This all sounds heavy and maybe too intellectualized but reflects actual experiences I’m having and not just ideas that are floating around me or that I’ve read in books. But then, for all the trash-talking I hear some mystics do about books, I also think books are good for finding the external method of integrating one’s experiences; as Andy of A Red State Mystic states, the Tradition gives us a language by which to express ourselves.

I can’t say whether or not my own Dark Night has finished, but I can say that there seems to be a Light at the end of the tunnel that I did not see before. So, in good cheer, I do tell you, Andy, that the Dark Night is worth the traverse, and I do tell you as well to KEEP GOING.

 

Also, a bit of a theological reflection here: I understand now what Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee means when he says that it is ultimately God’s grace that takes us home. To see this state that I’m currently in, I understand from the inside-out that *I* did not induce this state of being; *I* did not create this; *I* did not stumble upon this; this is something into which I was brought.

Yes, it may appear that one is brought in the state by actively participating, but the participation on our part, too, is Christ compelling us. Perhaps we are all called and only some answer His call; I cannot say.

 

One glimpse of how this may work that I’ve seen is that, since so much of my Shadow has to do with self-denial and self-hatred, the integration of the low self-esteem and self-hatred will be countered by the integration of the animus that I adore so much and which largely represents a high self-esteem. I could see this works possibly as a “thesis, antithesis” which then collapses into a synthesis- that is, the alchemy of the Shadow and the Animus thus mixed together cause a collapse in the Ego and a revelation of the Interior Christ’s true dominion.

 

That, however, IS speculation, though I was aware of these things in meditation.

Pax Vobiscum.

 

Beaux

 

 

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The Light

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My current circumstances are somewhat odd. A new focus has been taken up inside of me with respect to the dhikr and the repetition of the Name of God.

The Grace of God has been descending constantly for a few days. The only way to explain this is to say that a certain kind of inner and deep tranquility is present- not perfected, not complete, but I am aware of its presence somewhere.

I’ve had an interesting week- first, having contact with a new Gnostic friend named Erik who helped to clarify many things about Gnosticism to me; second, celebrating (or not celebrating) my birthday; third, having some intense spiritual experiences on top of that.

Last week, I realized I would have to make a concerted effort at repeating the Name of God. I’ve meditated nightly for a year and a half, only to have barely any “results,” as it were; in other words, I cannot see a profound difference in myself even if it’s possible that one exists. So in the moments when my emotions would go awry, in the moments when I would be worried about something, in the moments when my sex drive would attempt to usurp me, I would necessarily repeat the Name of God even harder.

All these things came to point at something interesting- I’ve said many times that my religion is Beauty, or that I seem to go for the religion that appears to be most Beautiful at any given moment. Beauty and Majesty are the two major means that are discussed in Sufism- and moreover, these two are also likely hypostases of God in Gnosticism- Beauty certainly is.

While commenting on Beauty and Majesty is too complicated at this point and beyond the scope of this entry, it’s something to point out- that Beauty calls to me, and that I can offer up my attention on bad emotions and feelings to the focus on Beauty.

So, let’s begin with May 10th. I had an overwhelming sense of tiredness. But as Nick the Buddhist once said, Americans can’t tell the difference between relaxation and falling asleep- once an American begins to relax, they think they’re falling asleep because they’re so accustomed to being stressed out. All the stress did not leave, but an almost mindless did appear, and certainly the thinking processes seem to have been slowed down and almost stopped into total silence at points- and this is in full, waking consciousness.

I stayed at a friend’s house until 5:30 in the morning- my birthday- because of the great conversations that the people present were having, and then I drove home.

But instead of going inside and straight to bed, I walked around outside- truly something different and new for me. The exhaustion was beyond a normal exhaustion, and everything seemed magical in a way, connected into some kind of great unity. The notion that we are inside of God and totally protected seemed quite apparent- and I didn’t have much of any kind of emotion at this point, only an interest in seeing the world around me.

Later that day, the experience of the Grace of God was still with me- a kind of tiredness and detachment.

The same thing the next day, whereupon I had a dream of receiving the Holy Eucharist- actually being in a church at Mass, walking up to the altar, kneeling, receiving the Eucharist (albeit in my hand), and then consuming it. This was the first time I’ve ever had that kind of dream, which implies something.

And now, today- the tiredness, the relaxation, the Grace of God, is here.

But last night, while asleep, I had an experience. A kind of spiritual teacher was talking to me, and then I recall seeing light. In the dream, the first impression I had was that the light was simply a lamp overhead, and I began chanting the Name of God. As I repeated it, the light grew brighter and brighter. At this point, I was no longer dreaming- I could hear the sounds in my room around me. So the light became brighter and brighter and hotter and hotter- I recall distinctly the heat- and I remember feeling a lightness on the lower part of my body, as though I were no longer connected to it, or as though it were floating upwards.

I entered the light, however briefly, to the point where my room around me went silent. This sounds interesting but in reality is tremendously terrifying. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee would state the the light is the Higher Self, which is, of course, a spark of God’s light, or the Gnostic might also say a spark of Christ’s light.

Then it was over, and I was awake- the fear of what was happening always seems to stay with me into the silence.

I’ve seen the light several times in my life and still have yet to fully understand what it is or why I see it in said situations. What I do know is that as I repeated the Name of God, the light increased in intensity. The increase in light may not be apparent on the regular level of consciousness, but I’m almost sure that it happens regardless. What this ultimately means is that the dhikr has been doing more than I realized, coinciding quite well with the realization I had back in January after everything went to hell when I stopped saying the dhikr. This slight bit of encouragement is all I need, and especially in a positive sense, to keep doing it faithfully.

Another realization that I’ve had is that to repeat the dhikr is constantly draw Beauty into the world. This is important since Beauty is important.

The wife of my former preacher used to say something that I think is not just ill-informed but incredibly stupid- she said that the Devil makes sin “beautiful” because he was the most beautiful angel. Essentially, she equated beauty with being malevolent- and I happen to have a problem with this as God is the author and origin of Beauty, not the Devil (or the demiurge, as it so happens.) So to suggest that sin is beautiful when grace is far more beautiful and God Itself is Infinite Beauty is to say something that amounts to bullshit.

On another note, I’m making a better attempt at celibacy of all forms. This is extremely difficult on the one hand but also a chance to offer the sexual energies to Beauty- which is what I really want. I really want Love, I really want Beauty- not just sexual pleasure. Thereto in addition, I’ve wondered if the phrase, “I will cry to Thee and cry to Thee until the milk of Thy Kindness boils up” has a reference to the transmutation of semen and sexual energy. Certainly the imagery of semen and milk is common, from what I’ve seen, and it seems that the dhikr does cause the energy to move up the spine.

It’s true that I think our society is oversexed. That doesn’t mean that I look down upon people who have sex for pleasure or outside of marriage- they’re entitled to do as they please. What I’ve seen, though, is that while sexual release gives a temporary sense of relief, ultimately, it can also drain one of energy entirely and that it creates a kind of slight emotional instability. This is a subtle process, not a blatant one, and only when one sees it over and over again and knows how bad one will feel after too many orgasms does one “get” it.

But that’s only from my personal experience- maybe other people don’t feel so terrible about sexual release, and if they don’t, more power to them.

The sex drive is incredibly powerful and incredibly capable of producing strange thoughts for the sake of its own release. The sex drive can literally trick you into thinking you’re in love with someone- or that you could love them- in order to get you to have an orgasm. It’s that powerful.

But really, all it wants is the orgasm.

Truly being in love with someone goes deeper than sexuality. This is a hard truth that people in our culture don’t really grasp so many times.

And the reality is, when the heat of the moment strikes, when sexual passions strikes, it is difficult to resist, to stop it. The sex drive is extremely compelling! It’s not like we can just “control” ourselves without leading to some serious repression.

Thus, spiritual practices are necessary to transmute the energy unless one just receives a special grace from God- and lucky is that person.

Again, I’m not trying to demonize orgasm, I’m not trying to demonize sex- no moral or value judgments here. Instead, I’m attempting to look at things practically, to point out that sexuality is extremely powerful and that we must be extremely careful about our sexuality because it can not only hurt us but can also hurt other people as well.

The rant for today is done.

Beaux


The Continuing Struggle

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Currently, I’m re-reading Bernadette Roberts’s book, What is Self?

One criticism I have of her writings is essentially that, while she goes on at length to explain what exactly Christ and God are, and moreover, what exactly “self” means according to her terminology, the book doesn’t exactly explain what one is supposed to do.

Other readers and some who have attended her retreats have mentioned on websites that they can summarize what they think she’d recommend doing, such as continuing to participate in the Holy Eucharist. With no doubt, the reception of Christ in the Holy Eucharist and its importance to my approach to Christianity was highly influenced by her. This is where the core energy of Christianity is, where it lays, where it’s always been: in the Body and Blood of Christ.

Sufism, too, has been, in part, a let down for me, but the difference is that Sufism doesn’t distract me in the intellectual way that Christianity does. Instead, I’m capable of simply living out the Longing and Love for God, but the problem comes in being able to access that sense of Longing and Love; the lower chakras take up a huge amount of my own personal energy with their damage and traumas and darkness, so for energy to even make it to my heart chakra to create love is amazing.

Love is not limited to one chakra, though; neither are many emotions. This is something that I’ve rarely seen mentioned; one can feel longing in an intellectual sense, in the higher chakras, though this seems counterintuitive to what we would image, and love can also be experienced in the solar plexus chakra. There’s no end to the amazing things one discovers.

But to the point, Sufism, as I have known it, as de-emphasized the lower chakras in favor of the heart chakra. Michael and Kelly made a similar criticize of how modern systems talk about focusing on just the third eye chakra, which one cannot access without going through the lower chakras, and I would daresay this is my own experience, though others may experience things differently.

My first thought about the reason for focusing on the heart chakra and on the third eye chakra is that they’re likely purer than the lower chakras; to awaken the third eye chakra allows a kind of clarity of what the reality in the lower chakras is. Summarily, the lower chakras store old emotional imprints, largely dealing with childhood trauma that became our “template” for interacting with other people, and thus when we encounter those emotions and feelings, we can misinterpret them, or they can be stored in such a way that it affects our bodies negatively.

Going back just a little, Bernadette might well simply point us to the contemplative tradition and to the Holy Eucharist- in fact, I would largely say that these are the two essentials of her take on Christianity. In layman’s terms, we have to meditate and go receive the Holy Eucharist faithfully.

The reality is that if the Roman Catholic Church knew what she was saying, she would likely be excommunicated, plain and simple- especially if her works were to gain any kind of major influence in the Church. She says highly heretical things, many times sounding more Gnostic than Catholic, and she interprets Christian teachings in a radical sort of way while throwing out a lot of the garbage in Christianity. What I mean to express here is that Bernadette doesn’t seem to think Christian teachings are perfect and pure just the way they are, even going so far as to state the Creed is worded incorrectly.

For a clarification of Christianity, for its redemption from what most of the religionists use it as these days, What is Self? is more than adequate, but it doesn’t tell us what to do.

In the same way, Sufism doesn’t explain what to do with the Shadow. I hear a great deal of discussion about the Shadow, about integrating psychology from Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. What I’ve failed to hear is how to actually do this.

Llewellyn does give a great hint of sorts: the same consciousness that created a problem cannot solve that problem. Thus, the entity and person who created a psycho-spiritual block in our chakras cannot solve it; that is, my best guess is that the level of the mind on which the blockage was created cannot cleanse it. Instead, one must go deeper.

But how do you get a psychological block in one’s chakras to give up its meaning, to explain to you what the actual block is? Maybe it manifests as an eating disorder, as sexual dysfunction, as tiredness, as being prone to illness; how do you get it to tell you exactly what it is and then change how you feel?

That, I think, is the basic and intense psychological work that must be done before we ever get around to the nitty-gritty of discussing things such as the afterlife or the soul, much less self-development and so on.

Bernadette makes a good point: we must not simply try to avoid sinning, we must rid ourselves of any capacity to sin whatsoever, and that’s where Christianity fails as a system. We are told that God will forgive us, over and over again, and that we must try not to sin, but the whole point is that the capacity to sin still exists, and our animal instincts will compel us to do things that we would rather not do at times.

She points out the fact that the Hindu systems seem to suggest the problem is intellectual: if we only saw that the ego is not real and what it is doing to make us unhappy, we would lose it. She criticizes this point a length, yet here I will point out that Vineeto at the Actual Freedom Trust actually said something similar to this. Of course, that would be depicting the AF system poorly and in an oversimplified manner, and for all its flaws and so on, I don’t mean to misrepresent it.

Had I not read something by Osho that said the exact thing that Bernadette did, I would have thought her point grossly oversimplified, but she does explain things in great detail.

I think the issue is this: feelings are the real problem. Our emotional system is vastly more powerful than our intellect, and therefore, thinking something over and over again will not necessarily change damage done at an early age. To exemplify, chanting an affirmation again and again at age 45 will not heal damage done at age 5 unless the affirmation actually changes one’s emotions.

The issue is not just thought restructuring: the issue is emotional restructuring, and for what it’s worth, our modern psychotherapy is absolutely atrocious at this. This explains why my being in therapy for two years did almost zilch to help my social anxiety and that the anxiety that decreased almost always seemed to happen on its own and not because of anything the therapist said or did.

Some people were under the impression that I did better when I was in therapy; I disagree with them. Ultimately what I gather is that people believe that therapy really works well and that my being in therapy was really helping me along. This is not to say that the therapy was completely worthless, but it did show me the limitations of therapy as a whole, and I think the issues I have must be dealt with by someone who actually knows how to heal emotions and not with someone who thinks thinking is where it’s at.

Arguably this happens in mysticism as a whole anyway, but the problem is that it’s cumbersome. Incredibly cumbersome. There don’t seem to be any specific milestones that each person passes through, which is to say that “stage theories” are useless. Sure, we can create a general map, but that map can manifest in wide and varied experiences for each person, so that doesn’t help at all.

I can tell you very well that my main problem is fear, fear of judgment from others, fear of public humiliation. Fear, period. Were I not afraid and not afraid at all, I would have accomplished more in this world than any other person I know. But the fear has held me back, and there’s not necessarily a way to simply stop being afraid. The mind is quite talented at fooling us into thinking that we no longer have fear or doubts or whatever until we are faced with the situation, and then boom, reality sets in.

Dustin, who may as well be dead to me, would respond, “We can’t survive on this level without fear.” FUCK THAT. I would rather die unafraid than to live my life in fear, and on top of that, I think it’s a stupid sentiment to say that we would simply die if we never felt fear. I’m not a blithering idiot. There is a distinction between, say, the torment and suffering caused by the emotion of fear and the body’s instinctual pull away from a hot flame, and he failed to make such a distinction.

This blog has been awfully long, almost equivalent to the length of a chapter in one of my books. That’s because I’ve been working on it for over two hours, off and on, stopping to cook and chat in the middle of it and entirely forgetting about it at other points.

The ultimate point is that I’ve stumbled, in one way or another, on to my own kundalini in a more controlled way than before. Though my second chakra still needs to be “cleaned’ and the blocks released, I’ve found ways to channeling the power through the rest of my body. Maybe all the mystical practices I’ve done before has lead up to this, I’m not sure.

I am aware that at the time I stopped saying the dhikr, an entire crisis erupted in my life, the remains of which I’m still feeling. So the truth is that I learned in the past half year or so that even if one doesn’t immediately see the results and benefits of a practice, they certainly exist. This has been mentioned here before, I’m sure, but I thought I would repeat myself as it fit contextually.

If I had a bit more certainty, if I was even released from anxiety, I think I would have less of an issue at this point. Even the erasure of anxiety without the erasure of the entire “self” would be enough for my own happiness, I think.

God…or Whatever…help.

Beaux


More on Being Right All the Time

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Sometimes, the degree to which I’ve been right about reality all along seems to sicken me. Naturally the charges of arrogance fly out at me at this point in time, and of course, I try to fight against what I already know on many levels. Let’s just jump in and go with it, then, shall we?

The Svadisthana chakra, the second chakra up, in other words, is where most of our problems in life are. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says that most of humanity lives collectively at the level of the third chakra, but I would add to this that’s only barely that anyone lives there. If someone as self-aware as I has the sheer number of problems with his lower chakras, it’s likely that most others do as well.

Trying to do the Sufi meditation of the heart has been ridiculously difficult for the past I don’t know how long. My heart chakra would barely open, I could barely feel love, I could sometimes (gratefully!) feel a twinge of longing, but there was a kind of pain that kept me from really feeling. Many would try to argue that this stemmed from a blocked heart chakra, and so I thought as well, but now I see that the whole time it’s been the blockages in my lower chakras that’s been causing the problems.

A few Sundays ago, I was driving to see my friends in Headland. I came into Dothan and felt social anxiety just driving around the other people, and the fear was without a doubt beginning from the second chakra. This gave me the key that I needed to progress somewhat.

Suffice it to say, that before I can put love in my heart, I’ll have to free up the energy and clear out the blockages that exist in the second chakra. Maybe the heart chakra can help, I’m not sure.

The truth is, though, that cleaning out the lower chakras is also part of Sufism but put into a different terminology: this is the Shadow work, which is the first part of the journey. Dealing with the basic instinctual nature, clearing out the subconscious misunderstandings, accepting the Shadow tendencies. This all comes before the raging, burning, furious Love for God.

I happened upon some articles and a healer in a moment of synchronicity that supported the idea of the issues being in the Svadisthana chakra. Everything became increasingly clear.

Also, I happened upon an article that spoke of how the parts of the brain dealing with meaning and thought are not directly wired to the parts of the brain dealing with emotional memory, and this clued me into why therapy did little for my social anxiety: I was right the whole time (again) that feelings, not thoughts, were the issue, despite how my therapist insisted that I was thinking the wrong thoughts and somehow misunderstanding the situation which is what caused the anxiety.

But that’s just not how it works, and now I know diving into a nameless emotional realm is the only solution to the problem.

So I’ve been feeling my emotions, searching without words in the basic energy patterns, trying to find what’s causing the blockages and problems in my lower chakras. I’ve even take up some of the hatha yoga practices I used to do once more, and they feel wonderful; the asanas don’t make me sore the next day.

Going through and dealing with the energy in the Svadisthana chakra has done a few things. First, it’s unleashed my power and creativity- I’ve written profusely and started doing art again and am just driven as an artist. Second, my sexuality- the basic instinctual kind “high” that comes when being turned on- has largely dwindled and come under control to where it doesn’t control me or compel me in situations that are unhealthy. In this case, it doesn’t feel like I’m resisting or fighting it- rather, the energy simply just isn’t there to begin with. Likely a lot of the sexual energy was really trapped emotional energy bouncing around and going haywire in the lower chakras.

Lastly, dealing with the energy in the lower chakras creates a peace in the body. The body feels practically weightless, and a few times I would move my legs and almost fall because of how quickly they moved; I wasn’t accustomed to that kind of lightness.

Maybe my body will also shed some of the weight on it- now, given, my body isn’t exactly overweight to begin with, but some areas have been hard to tone, and I’m a big believer in the mind-body connection and that the body carries weight and ailments in it when the psychological energy isn’t processed correctly. I’ve seen this for myself way too many times to discredit it.

Just an update.

Where God is in the midst of this all, I have no idea. Sometimes He’s near, sometimes He doesn’t seem to exist.

Beaux


The Teacher is Nothing

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So in this dream, I was talking to Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, who was my teacher. He was in a bathroom, and I could hear his voice- and he was telling me about something that did not matter, something trivial that I had read earlier in the day.

Upon reaching the bathroom, I knew he was in the last stall, and that he was about to come out. However, because I was dreaming, and I knew I was dreaming, I was afraid of what might appear. I had no idea- it could be an alien, it could be something monstrous, and so I was terrified.

But I knew that whatever appeared, I would face it. I stood, staring, waiting, as the stall opened, and then…

…there was nothing. Nothing came out.

That’s when I realized that the Teacher is nothing but Nothingness- Nothing there, No One there.

Surprisingly, that’s much less terrifying than aliens, but also much less comprehensible.

Beaux


Meditation

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Do you ever take something for granted, then go without it, only to miss the actual benefit you had in doing that something to begin with?

Tonight, I meditated, really meditated, for the first time in a long time- about a 40-minute long venture, listening to a lecture by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.

I hit some critical level that benefited me greatly, going somewhere in myself that I can’t completely explain. Needless to say, I realize now that what’s been bothering me so much lately is the fact that I haven’t been properly meditating.

Sure, I’ve tried a few times, and I’ve meditated for about 10 minutes at a time before falling asleep, but I haven’t actually sat down and given it a worthy go in a while.

My moods had been suffering, my thoughts had been suffering, my life had been suffering, and then when I meditated tonight, I was able to see the “why” of all those things. A new boost of confidence has hit me, something that feels right, something that feels good, something that tells me that everything’s going to be okay.

Like many intellectuals and artists who are moody, I have the tendency to be able to think myself into a bad mood and then find myself unable to extricate myself from the mire of a bad mood into which I’ve thrust myself. But if one can think oneself into a bad mood, one reasons that one should be able to think oneself into a good mood.

That tends to be pretty difficult. Sometimes, a simple thought will change my whole outlook on things, and my entire world will suddenly turn back to being 100% okay. A lot of times, though, it seems like everything is hopeless and rapidly spiraling in the wrong direction.

Maybe things are just simpler than I give then credit for. Or maybe they’re so dauntingly complex that I don’t want to spend my time attempting to think about them.

Either way, meditation made me feel better, so I highly recommend it.

Beaux