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The promise of a steady meditation practice is to be kind and gentle to yourself and others.
But what happens when we think our inner self is just a lazy, depressed slob and just wants to be left the hell alone?
That happened to me today.
Meditation was not an option. Taking a walk was not an option, or taking a bath, or reading a book. As I laid on my bed at 4:00 in the afternoon with my shoes on, scrolling through the highlight reels of other people’s lives on my phone, a feeling of shame fell upon me that felt like a tightly strapped straightjacket.
It was all I could do to move my thumb, and with each stroke through the posts, the straps of shame tightened. I felt like I would suffocate.
I was stuck in a trance of negativity. I kept thinking, what kind of a poser am I that I can’t get myself out of this?
Serendipitously, I scanned a post and found a woman just like me in the 10,000 member private group that we both belong to, except that she was balled up on her couch. “Can someone give me a reason to get up off this couch?” her post read, “I feel like such a loser.”
Geez, I thought, is this some kind of a cosmic mirror?
Her cry for help sobered me up from my internal sh*t show.
I actually felt something in my body, like I did when I saw a lost black kitten on the street last week. I felt sadness for this stranger. It was a feeling of concern and a desire to comfort. It came as a gentle ping inside my head, right behind my eyes. My thumb stopped on the screen, transfixed. Then out of seemingly nowhere, an urge to reach out came over me.
I tapped, “We all feel like this sometimes. I am feeling it now too. Is there just one thing you can think to do to get up off the couch?”
It always helps to know that people are hurting just like you. Is it because misery loves company?
In this case, I decided to take my own advice. I put my phone down, got up off the bed, took my shoes off, and started to fold some laundry thrown around the room; which led me to clean the bathroom, take a walk around my neighborhood, and finally to sit on my meditation cushion for a short while.
Sometimes, being human just plain sucks, but there is a transformative magic in vulnerability when we humans share our secrets.
I didn’t have the courage to share, but the unknown couch warrior is my hero. She spawned in me a desire to comfort her, which in turn led me to comfort myself. Who knows how long I would have laid in my bed sinking into a depression and making myself and others miserable?
Her courageous act to reach out to help herself may have helped me more than her. It transformed me to take action and move from lost and numb to feeling upright and grounded.
We teach others when we don’t even know it, especially when we come from our own place of truth, no matter how messy it looks. Let’s all take a step into our mess, feel it, and share it.
You never know when the magic of vulnerability will touch and benefit our fellow beings.