When my Yi Ren Qigong teacher Dr. Guan-Cheng Sun read my post about realizing that one of my mental habits can perpetuate, even escalate, depression, he asked me this:
Was I aware of how much of my self-hatred, anguish and despair came from inside me, and how much came from others who were either depressed themselves or had negative feelings towards me?
Dr. Sun had asked me this before, and I’d always maintained that I’m way too good at depression to need outside help in getting there.
However, in his comments on my post he also said: “In general, no primary spirit has self-hatred conscious and intention.”
This somehow struck home.
I don’t have a very strong concept of primary spirit, of something that is the core of who I am, but it does seem that such a spirit would be about life, about light, not about self-hatred and despair.
And if this is so, then by definition self-hatred, anguish and despair come from outside this primary spirit, whether through one’s genes, family history, past experience or present life.
I don’t know whether it matters if I recognize which of these many factors is the cause.
What strikes me is that there is a subtle but powerful difference between identifying with my depression as a facet of who I am and between viewing it as separate from my inner being. It is easier to let go of something that isn’t part of you.
I received Dr. Sun’s comments on my post as I was leaving for a mini-retreat at Mount Rainier, so I printed them out and read them before dinner that evening at Paradise Inn.
That night I was awakened by a dream in which I was being attacked by something akin to one of the Dementors of Azkaban from the Harry Potter books. I was lying on my back—as indeed I was, in the hotel bed—struggling to pull up a very thick, very heavy blanket of qi to protect myself. Then I felt a sharp pain in my left index finger, on what would be the large intestine meridian. When I awoke, I wondered if I’d been bitten by a bedbug, but there were no bedbugs and no marks on my finger.
I’ll take the blanket-of-qi part of the dream to suggest that I do have defenses against outside attacks on my emotional well-being. However, I have no idea what the finger pain signified, except that the large intestine meridian lies on the index finger, and the large intestine is all about releasing things, physically and energetically, so maybe I was releasing something, wherever it may have originally come from.
I hoped there’d be a sequel to my dream when I got home, but there wasn’t, at least not that I remember. I did have a pain along the same meridian, only on the elbow side of my wrist, right before I went to bed several days later. It was gone when I woke up. I guess it’s a mystery, too.
For now, this is all I know. I like the notion that releasing negative energies like self-hatred, anguish and despair may be easier than I thought because they’re not fundamentally mine. But the journey continues….