POSITIVITY OR DESPAIR

IS THERE REALLY A CHOICE?

I am told so often these days that I have a choice as to how I should feel, into the 4th week of another lockdown, when I am overcome by bouts of despair and depression. Life has come to somewhat of a halt, at least in the areas which would normally give me some degree of joy. So, it stands to reason that the journey from disappointment to despair is not a very long one.

The logic that is given to me for this piece of wisdom is that I cannot do anything about the situation I am in, so I should just go with the flow and be as positive as I can. Really? If I had a choice of changing this situation, would I not do something about it? Would I still be in despair? If we have a way out of a situation that we are stuck in, would a normal logical human being prefer not to do anything about it and live in a state of despair. The very fact that I cannot do anything about the situation I am in is the reason for my despair. How hard is that to understand? Helplessness is what leads to despair.

Another statement I often hear, particularly from psychologists is that we cannot control how others behave. What we can control is how we react to it. Again, I am not sure how that is in any way logical. If someone hurts you badly and you are a normal human being, could you let it simply wash off you without any reaction? I am sure the purest of the pure, the geniuses of Vedantic thinking are or were able to do it. The purest one I can think of was Swami Vivekananda. The rest, in my view, were poor wannabes.  But I am a lesser mortal than he was. It hurts when someone hurts me. If I have not reached the spiritual state of “ananda”, how do I cope with the myriad hurtful things that people have done or do to me? How do I get to the stage where I can say, “It is all good, I don’t mind that you cheated me or deceived me or hurt me badly, I bless you all the same.” If I reach spiritual purity, which in this lifetime is a non-starter, I could do it. But I am a mere mortal. Cut me and I bleed. Hurt me and I do hurt. I am sorry to be such an utter disappointment and failure to all around me. Apologies from the bottom of my heart.

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