The other day, I was experiencing some terrible inner storms.
I do not wish to share the particulars with you, no offense (we are but acquaintances you understand). Though I think and feel that the way I escaped the clutches of depression, sadness, and feelings of aimlessness, may be of use to you (if not you, then someone I hope).
Straight to the point, I want you to know that the circumstances and conditions of your life may contribute to shaping you, but they do not make you who you are.
It is true that life will knock us off our axis every now and then. Unforeseen conditions such as illness, the loss of someone we love, and some event that catalyzes a search for a sense of self are inevitable manifestations of this world. Why should we blame ourselves for these things? Would it be tenably correct to presume that we do not choose these caliginous clouds that metaphorically ‘rain’ on our inner flame?
Perhaps we do indirectly or directly create the difficult conditions and circumstances we face, but when these conditions are obviously not our making, it may be a waste of time to place blame.
Here is my epiphany: You are completely responsible for your own mind. Really… and your mind is the source of all anguish and joy that you have ever experienced.
It occurred to me in a dark and silent hour (sitting zen) that our perceptions of a hostile world, and how we choose to react to said perceptions, often generate a great deal of pain. Though these perceptions of the world might be accurate here and there, it is important to realize how our reactions to their poignancy can make us suffer.
It is helpful to realize that we choose our reactions to our surroundings just as much as we choose our perceptions.
It is my understanding that nothing in and of itself has value, except that which the mind has ascribed to it. This is not an allusion to nihilism, but a light to the truth that is internal responsibility. By keeping our internal mirror clear, we can learn to react appropriately to difficult feelings and thoughts (i.e. reactions that reduce suffering and are productive).
You hold the power to shape your inner world. When you decide to take responsibility for it, you will have taken that first essential step down the path towards mastery of the self.