Crisis – a spiritual exercise

As the weeks and months of no-employment passed, Joy viewed the crisis she was facing as a spiritual exercise – the opportunity to put her existential theories into practice. It wasn’t easy to remain focused and positive. She woke up some days feeling as if she had been forgotten by Life. Oftentimes, she didn’t know what to keep her mind concentrated on. If this day has meaning, what is it? If each second is precious then its value must come from something more than a career outcome. How should I approach these moments of no definite direction and solitude? How can I turn what feels like a waiting game into something more dynamic and rewarding?

Joy took the time to contemplate these questions deeply. She found an answer in the art of divine indifference, or as the Buddhists referred to it, abiding in the moment. This meant accepting her life circumstances without struggle or resistance: acknowledging the desire to see the situation change, knowing it would change when the process had run its course and, thereby, practising detached, positive expectancy.

Joy increased her meditation practice and included some breathing exercises. She knew that her respiration was affected by the stress she was feeling, depriving her body of essential oxygen. It was like she was scared to breathe in what Life was offering her. Practising divine indifference, she imagined she was breathing in radiant, life-sustaining energy – making her want to breathe in more deeply and fully – and breathing out fear and constricting thoughts.

Joy tried to see her experience as a gift that Life was offering herthe chance and time to get to know herself and her inner constitution. She did her best to remain peaceful, reading spiritual books, studying photography and contacting close friends and family. She put all her effort into transmuting any negativity she might be feeling as it was clear to her that negative emotions would do nothing to improve or change her situation. Fear and worry would only drain her of strength. What a relief it was to discover that she didn’t need those negative emotions any more.

Excerpt from “My Name is Joy”

15 thoughts on “Crisis – a spiritual exercise

  1. Awesome. Sam, reading this was meditation in itself. How important it is to realize that every moment in life has meaning. Sometimes life has some meandering ways to take us to our destination. Patience is the key and being focused. You have summarized life here. Thank you, Sam. Greetings, Amitav.

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  2. Reading that reminded me somewhat of winslow Eliot’s writings on being still and how beneficial it is. Unfortunately, I can’t remember how she puts it specifically. I’ll try to at least remember a link for you. anyway yes very calming. lovely. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think her fiction in any way relates to her interest in “stillness.” But she does have an interesting non ficton book that touches on it and then her site expands on her interest on the whole subject. Here is a link to a page on her site where she talks about “doing nothing” just different wording.

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  3. Wonderful. I have gone through this very experience recently (until I went into the SSDI process, which I can’t work, even 5 hours a week) and so many of those questions were going through my head. As someone who deals with mood disorders with a heavy dose of undeserved self-loathing, when I was looking for employment was like being drug across emotional hot coals. The one sentence hit me between the eyes was: “It was like she was scared to breathe in what Life was offering her.” Indeed. Indeed. Now that I have accepted that I cannot work in what we would considered a typical job, I have been able to stumble and fumble my way in the “art of divine indifference…abiding in the moment.” A major part of this is through my writing and photography, as well as rekindling (for lack of a better word at the moment) some relationships with friends, and beginning a new chapter with my Sosta* and my son.

    Thank you for this offering.

    *(Significant Other Second Time Around)

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    • Thanks so much for this hugely valuable feedback. Employment, as well as unemployment, is such a major learning ground, not least because of all the social constructs and expectations that surround this aspect of life. Moreover, even those persons who do have work often find themselves in very challenging situations and inter-personal dynamics, which can be incredibly toxic and disempowering. I find it very interesting to hear your story. Thanks again for sharing and I send you, Sosta and your son lots of good wishes. Greetings, Sam 🙂

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      • Thank you. “not least because of all the social constructs and expectations that surround this aspect of life” is so much at the core of this. It boggles my mind sometimes that our society doesn’t attempt to facilitate a healthy identity and lifestyle, rather than pushing the toxic path.

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      • In our Western societies, people’s identities are so tied up with their work. For many persons, if you are without a job it’s as if you don’t have an identity any more. Then there are all the stereotypes that are immediately attached to the unemployed person (lazy, not good enough, did something wrong, etc.). It takes strength to live unemployment and find a sense of self-empowerment in that situation. However, it’s possible and when achieved results in a much deeper personal sense of authenticity. This has been my experience, at least. Warm greetings, Sam 🙂

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  4. This entry resonates to my own experiences. I liken the seeming void period of transition to the time the caterpillar spends in the chrysalis. Thought it looks like nothing is happens, we emerge with new abilities, powers and strengths we wouldn’t have dared dream of in our former land locked state. All we need do is relax into all that was, is and shall be.

    Liked by 1 person

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