Doom. Gloom. Darkness has descended and the world has lost its color. Your world is black and white. It is either all good or all bad and today Bad has smacked you in the face and stands sneering at you, glaring. Even the will to struggle seems to have evaporated.
What to do?
I know, that seems like rotten advice but bear with me. By saying "do nothing" I don't mean to imply you should slink off into a corner, lick your wounds and sink into your despair like an unsuspecting ant who has wandered onto quicksand. Slinking and licking and wandering are somethings. I mean do nothing. Notice what happens when you do nothing. Your eyes continue to blink, your organs continue to function, your breathing continues in and out, in and out. The earth continues to revolve around the sun, the stars continue to appear in the heavens, the whole cosmos goes about its mysterious business without any regard for your stinky mood. Stay here and keep noticing. There is an undercurrent here, a gentle pull that you might miss at first it is so undemanding. Contrasted with the loud strident voice of your pissy mood, it is easy to miss. But I guarantee you it is here. You don't feel it? That's because today is not your day to feel it, not because it isn't there. Struggling to find it will not work. Become absolutely still. Concentrate on your breathing. In and out. In and out.
Boring! Yes, I know. But do it anyway. Notice your breath. Count each one if you like. If a thought intrudes allow it to pass then just come back to the counting. Start over if you lose your place. One. Two. Three. But my life sucks! One. Two. Three. Four. Five. This is just stupid! One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Over and over and over. You won't give up. Oh, maybe today you might give up and go back to the fun of wallowing in despair. But you will be back, mark my words. You will be back because you know your salvation lies somewhere in the silence. You know it not because you read it here, you just know it. You have always known it. It's only a matter of time now.
Darkness comes not to pull you into an abyss but to show you the value of light. The problem always comes with the seeds of the solution and the seeds are cultivated and nourished in the silence.
A Note to First Time Meditators:
There have been many books written on meditation. There are seminars, intensives, retreats to sign up for. There are rules everywhere. Legs in this posture. Hands like this. Hold your head in this position and your spine in that. Eyes open. Eyes closed. While certainly not harmful, be clear that these rules are mere stage props. Do what feels right to you. There is nothing more important than the willingness to show up, the earnest desire to find your way home to yourself. If you like the idea of prayer begin with a simple one such as "Please show me the way to happiness" and then just be silent and trust the process. Let go of any notion you may have had about what it should look like or how you should feel. Let the discipline to show up be the only effort you expend. The rest will take care of itself.