Doubtful Days

Just when I thought I was all set to go, way back in February when I’d finally written a post, it all shuddered to a halt. No more writing, no more optimism and definitely, most absolutely, no more motivation. Bloody hell. I should have known. I was unable to stick at anything, right? I’d always been the same.

Almost immediately after writing that post I began to question everything: all of the experiences I’d had in the previous few months, all the strange and mystical experiences, the development of spiritual beliefs which were so in contrast to my usual mode of existence. Everything came into question. As a long-term sufferer (wish I could find a more positive term for that) of mental health and anxiety issues, I wondered, not for the first time, if this time I was truly losing my mind. Convinced I had been deluding myself, I stopped reading about it all, I stopped praying (easy enough to do when one’s inner atheist is so close to the surface), I stopped meditating for a while, I put away the tarot cards that I’d recently been introduced to. I was delusional ever to have thought there was anything in all of that stuff for me.

But something peculiar happened. Instead of slipping in to that tempting place of despair – we can get so comfortable down there, right? It can be a kind of home for us – I felt a detached calmness about the whole situation. Bloody hell – in spite of my thoughts at the time, all those months of meditation, cultivating a new way of believing and a new way of being, had clearly taught me something useful. In the not-that-distant past such a loss of steady ground beneath my feet might well have led me to the vodka bottle. Not this time.

I kept repeating that Bible verse, ‘this too shall pass.’It surprises me now when I realise I had the presence of mind to remember to do this. I remember mentioning to my other-half that it did actually seem that I was observing it pass, whatever that ‘it’ was. It was as though I was watching it happen from a distance. That feeling of being on the outside, a spectator and not a player, is not an unusual feeling to me, but this time it came with a feeling of gentle self control, rather than one of exile. So I sat and watched myself. I witnessed myself feeling better and brighter each day. I saw myself once again losing the fear of time running out, of having no purpose. I guess it helped that this process was occurring with the onset of spring. Oh God, do I love spring. 

Then one morning, sometime around the beginning of April, I woke up and it was all back – ping. Just like that. I seemed to wake up with a certainty about god, spirit, higher truth, however one might frame the ‘idea.’ I was warm and I glowed inside. Was that contentment I was feeling? It was a revelation to me. My meditation practice ramped up a notch, little meditation ‘dreams’ appearing now and then, a feeling of space and wonder. My night-time dreams began to reveal their meanings more clearly. I began to receive, and still do, clear insights and guidance in the dream state. 

I have spent most of the time since the start of April reading and meditating. Until very recently, and I still struggle, I couldn’t concentrate long enough to write. And, for some reason that has, I think, something to do with the fear of failure, associations of homework being left until the last minute, and more than a touch of downright laziness, I feel anxious just thinking about picking up a pen or firing-up a computer. Anytime we face a major change in our life, an element of fear is attached to it. And although typing a few words each day may seem like a small thing, to those of us whose lives have, for whatever reason, become devoid of any meaning, hope, participation, even such a slight change in routine, or our modes of belief, can cause a huge amount of mental disruption. Meditating three or four times a day has been the only way that I can keep me calm. 

I’ve also had the tarot out again. If anyone had told me a year ago, I’d be using those crazy things, I would have laughed my ass right the hell off. However, here I am…

With a clearer mind and calmer emotions, my interpretation of the tarot cards came more easily than before, and, as if by magic, the cards I randomly drew began to talk of change. They talked of healing, of rest, of letting go of the past. They talked of patience. I suspended the great potential for disbelief and I began to pay more attention, to follow, as best I could, the guidance I found deep within myself. Using them primarily as a psychological tool, like a blend of a Rorschach Test and person-centred counselling, alongside my daily routine of meditation and stimulating reading, I’ve been experiencing the longest period of uninterrupted peace of mind that I can recall. 

When it comes to reading tarot cards, I must admit, that although I fully believe that these cardboard images are doing no more than inspire and empower us to find the answers that we already hold inside, allowing us to focus and quiet the mind, a pretty incredible thing in itself, I have had some undeniably spooky, synchronous, and quite frankly bizarre things occur with the tarot and oracle cards. Phases of this come and go, and seem to happen when I am most in a need of a positive sign or if I’m doubting my sanity again when it comes to belief in god or spirit. Or if I’ve not been listening.

So, back to the point. I’ve been enjoying a long period of what I would actually say is serenity – something I remember telling a psychologist years ago that I’d like to achieve. I was hoping to progress my meditation practice, reach for that space of eternal oneness. But I grew fidgety. I’ve become a bit of a recluse over the last five or six years and rarely leave the house – COVID lockdowns were a breeze for me – but I’ve been feeling the need to reconnect. So I’ve been making myself go out for walks and even managed a trip to a supermarket. 

Even the tarot cards had started to tell me to get off my ass and do something. They’ve become quite insistent over the last two days. I know I want to participate in the world, to give…something. But what? I’m a blank page. I have nothing to give expect my experiences and what they are teaching me. And so that is why I’m writing today. That is why I am writing this post even though it may be the last for some time. I am not going to let myself worry about that. I’m not going to fret about whether I can keep up the momentum or what people will think of me. Failure is not an option because failure does not exist. A step forwards, even if only to another stepping stone of rest, is still a step in the right direction.

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