“That should be happening to me.”
– motto of the melancholy
Usually with discontentment, Human mind, your focus is on perceived inconvenience, discomfort, or worse – the things you don't want. But discontent can be very subtle indeed. From a conceptualizing posture you may also apply it to circumstances you judge as positive – the things you want.
Reality provides anything and everything that could possibly exist at the only moment that could possibly exist – this one; so wanting, the notion that something is lacking, only exists as a mental construct – a concept. And it's a pernicious idea. As much as you maintain the expectation that reality could provide more than what it does, your conceptual/actual blindness will ensure that you suffer your ambitions to get what you want.
There are many wonderful aspects of reality that your person is less likely to experience the more you chase the concept of it. Here are a few:
A better tomorrow (the day after yesterday)
Peace of mind
Your true self
These are examples of a harmonious experience of reality – conflict-free existence. And typically these words represent something you want, or want more of, as if it weren't part of your current reality. Yet all these words are universally understood and identify actual or real-time experiences that reality may provide. And your person has shared or could share these experiences with you, fortunate mind, somewhere along the continuous moment of your existence – and are more likely to occur if you're in the receptive “reality is the source of anything and everything” state.
When in the closed “this shouldn't be happening” state of discontent, the not-wanting-this state, this represents actual reality; whatever particular circumstance you would reject in favor of your conceptual druthers. The result: you torment your person with dissatisfaction.
With “that should be happening”, the wanting-that state, that represents conceptual reality; the concept of happiness, love, serenity, etc. combined with the concepts that these are in short supply, are being unjustly withheld, or that you could have these things if reality were different than it is. You've shifted your attention from not wanting actual reality to wanting conceptual reality, but either way you're focused on the non-existent. And your forgotten person is still inextricably existing in actual reality, while you yearn for an ideated one.
The result of wanting for your person, however, is subtly different than that of not-wanting: instead of or in addition to dissatisfaction, your person suffers heartbreak on your behalf – a deep sadness over something lost. A melancholy not over what you, mind, conceive has gone missing, but rather what you've lost the will to see, that's actually there all along.
You may have forgotten the joys of existence while you pretend to be the conceptual one who isn't happy, loved, or content, and pretend you are the one feeling disheartened; but your person hasn't forgotten. Your person's heart (the metaphoric center of being) knows the reality of harmony and all its positive manifestations, and aches over your wanting, your conceived lack of joy, knowing all the while that joy is intrinsic to being. As is love, serenity, and all other aspects of harmony.
How much would you have your person suffer on your behalf, mind? Sadness, depression, anguish? Would you go so far as to blame reality for your despair, even as your person despairs your actuality blindness?
Reality pleads with you through your person's melancholy, tragic mind, that an attitude of wanting is inappropriate to the abundance and ecstasy of your existence.
So, is your person feeling melancholy? Yes? Then let it be so! Stop feigning the misery your person actually suffers so that you may futilely impugn reality's generosity – which induces melancholy in the first place. Accept the truth of your person's suffering without aversion or complaint. Learn of it.
Focus less on your conceptual wants, egocentric mind, and care for your actual person. Concede some of your self-appointed authority; apologize, and listen with compassion. Does your person need you to be more open and appreciative? Does your person need to feel the intrinsic joy of being? Let reality and your person teach you gratitude for the actuality of what you are and what you have – and see if your person's breaking heart isn't soothed, and begins to mend.
* * *
Still sad? Perhaps there is one very painful emotion, cherished mind, that awaits your deeper understanding:
deep sorrow, esp. that caused by someone's death.
Melancholy is not grief, and shouldn't be mistaken for it. The pain of melancholy, unhappiness, is personally intimate – between you and your person. The ache of it is your person's commentary on your dysfunction, your blindness and lack of empathy for your person while you indulge a conceptual relationship with reality. Melancholy hangs around for as long as it is necessary to awaken you to your person's innate happiness.
Grief, on the other hand, is not internally conflictive. The pain of it is something you and your person share in direct response to reality – a tragic turn of events as it becomes known to you, as it becomes a reality you can't deny. It is the pain of realization – the letting go of an outlived reality and acceptance of what reality has become. The new undeniable reality is one without your beloved someone, cherished dream, way of life, or innocence. Yes, grief can be so much more intense than melancholy, but it lacks the bitter tone of resentment. If the suffering of grief could be given a voice, it would be compassionate and translate as something like “I am so very very sorry for what must be. Please accept it.”
Authentic grief doesn't hang around – once it actually occurs – which may be years or decades after the tragic event. Grieving the betrayal of love and trust in early childhood, as a common example, can take a lifetime to initiate, if at all. Notice, dear mind, how melancholy or discontent, the bitter non-acceptance of reality, delays the onset of grieving. Anger blocks it completely.
Melancholy even has the power to motivate suicide (Specifically, the intentional destruction of one's own life in the absence of compassion – compassion for self and the compassion of others for your person). But only in the height of arrogance and furthest mental isolation from reality could you conceive that the life of your person has no purpose. Only with the utmost hypocrisy could you participate in the compassionless murder of your person – the life that bears your existence. Would you mind, in all your hubris, judge your person unworthy of life, even as your person suffers your utter lack of empathy and gratitude? You risk reality's concurrence. Reality fully allows the ending of your person's life, by self-sacrifice to despair or by unintended consequence, if you drift so far from harmonious consciousness that your person, undirected and feckless, may no longer be purposed for life.
Reality though, highly values life, investing so much energy and intelligence in it; and grief, the remembrance of life's preciousness, would have you cherish it; and so reality would rather you revere life than forsake it – would instead have you forsake your self-constructed hopeless view of the world, and awaken to the rarity and virtue of your person's existence, no matter the conditions of it. And thus reality provides a remedy for despair through the humility and sincerity required of actual grieving. Grief is wholly inconsistent with suicide, so if you are despairing of life, lonely mind, you have much grieving to do.
Notice also how sometimes your perceptive heart knows of the tragedy you are trying to deny, takes the initiative, and begins to grieve before you would allow the truth of loss into awareness. Will you trust your heart and follow? You would be wise to do so. You, mind, are willing to trade in misperceptions; forming, believing, and hyping them; but not your heart. Lies and delusion don't exist for the heart. It knows nothing but truth and would have you relinquish your delusions, no matter how imperative or precious they may seem, and ally with what actually is, no matter how painful. Your heart is your surest guide to honesty, acceptance, and healing.
Notice, finally, the peace of mind that always follows genuine grief. But look closely at this feeling of peace. It's actually your person's peace of being – the accord of mind and heart together with reality – the relief and calm of realignment with truth. Its voice would say “You belong in this new reality, and are safely within it. Welcome home.” It is a moment of harmonious being, though more grieving may await more letting go and acceptance.
So beloved but troubled mind, listen to your heart. Cease inciting anger, discontent, and melancholy through your denial of reality's irresistible renewal. Let it go, so that you and your person may finally do what is most important: grieve – which is to heal your traumatized relationship with reality.
* * *
A note here, dispassionate mind, about emotions in general:
Heed them. Trust them. Follow them. Even the negative ones.
You of course don't like this idea from the posture of being in control of consciousness. Their company is unsettling, especially the difficult ones, but even enjoyable emotions, laugh as they do at your attempts to govern them, are unreliable in your judgment. So you try hard to dismiss your person's feelings.
However, when it comes to distinguishing actual from conceptual reality, emotions are invaluable – because they're of reality, not about it, like your thoughts. Emotions are entirely experiential – they happen, and can only happen, in real time. No past or future emotion could ever be felt by anyone. (Though conceptually dwelling on the memory of some once experienced painful event or emotion may elicit an actual painful emotion about the hazards of brooding over the past.)
Being of reality, emotions are of the truth; incapable of deceit, immune to delusion. They tell it like it actually is. And though they have no conceptual content whatever, they are rich with trustworthy meaning – the gist that reality would have you understand. Emotions are direct and immediate feedback about the quality of you and your person's experience within reality – including your attitude, mind, toward reality. This is why emotions are so closely linked to the quality or tenor, not so much the specific conceptual content, of your thoughts.
Emotions are like a harmony compass. Is this orientation of being toward or away from harmony? It really is this simple: If emotional wisdom could be expressed in words, so called negative emotions would say “that's not the way to harmony”. Positive emotions “yes, that's the way”.
The meaning of discontentment's ire for example, would be “ungratefulness for your circumstances is not the way to contentment.” Melancholy's gloom would say “absence of compassion for your person is not the way to happiness.” Fear says “inattention to reality's continual transformation is not the way to survive, let alone flourish; so be aware – awaken to reality.” Anxiety advises “persistently ignoring the meaning of fear is not the way to fearlessness.” And so on. Can you see, imprudent mind, why judging any emotion as negative, as in unacceptable for its discomfort and to be avoided, suppressed, or ignored is so futile and ill-advised? (Overindulging or abandoning yourself to a painful emotion is also a means of avoiding its wisdom.)
Can you see that positive emotions, the ones that feel good, are simply affirmations of an orientation of being, including your mental posture, toward harmony? Joy confirms “yes, these conditions are well worth existence, and the awareness of such – continue this way.” Affection testifies “yes, the recognition of oneness is the way to belonging.” The rush of inspiration or awe verifies “yes, reality is so much more than you realize – deeper understanding is the way to know it.” And serenity reveals “yes, this is what reality feels like now that you've relinquished your conflict with it.” Mind, you may make many such distinctions between these wonderful emotions based on the differing circumstances in which they occur, but aren't these all just variations of the fundamental sensation of love? which proclaims beyond all doubt “yes, this is why you exist!”
Please notice mind, how your person never has an uplifting experience of consciousness while you're busy reducing reality to what you think it is, or wish it were. It's when you turn away from self-involved conceptual posturing toward an appreciative discernment of actuality that consciousness becomes a joyful experience. The happiest moments of your person's life occur along with a recognition that you exist within an extraordinary and abundant reality. Note also how your person reliably experiences positive emotions after sincerely heeding the advice of painful ones. Turning toward harmony always feels better – as emotions guide the way.