When You Say ‘I’

Mental Health Month

There once was a girl named Sunny, whose smile was as bright as the California sky, until she lost her spark and became depressed. She began meditating in the park every day, but the answer to her troubles never came to her. “Oh my God, what’s wrong with me?” she asked herself. Then one day an old friend saw Sunny and laughed. She said that meditation was useless and to come have a few drinks and just forget her troubles.

Sunny did, but that night something strange happened. She didn’t know if it was a bad dream from too much wine, but a man appeared in her room and said his name was Michael and that he had a message for Sunny. “The message is from God,” he said. “He wants you to know that when you go to the park each day in search of answers, is it not He who summons you there?”

This tale of the girl, whose inner spark went out, comes from an old Arab proverb, and like the Archangel Michael I, too, bear a message. May is Mental Health Month, during which the stars have aligned for the Bohemian and Pacific Sun to launch a new column on spirituality, metaphysics, ancient wisdom and the secret laws of the cosmos that will help you cultivate the strength and tranquility you need for navigating these uncertain times.

Problems of the heart and mind, after all, can also be called problems of the soul and spirit. Overcoming them requires expanded consciousness; a broader frame of reference based on transcendence of the merely human. This is what is meant by the notion that you are not your thoughts, but rather the being that has thoughts. But when you’re despondent, you become identified with the gray clouds in the sky—rather than the sky itself. This is why the world’s spiritual traditions focus so much on what you mean when you say, “I.” 

Prince Siddharta—the man who became known as the Buddha or Enlightened One—was a lot worse off than you. He left his palace and family to wander for six years, nearly starving himself to death, before finally he saw through the illusion of his misery and could say, “Enlightenment means the end of suffering.”

It has been wisely said that we are not human beings seeking a spiritual experience, but spirit beings having a human experience. Think of me as a fellow adventurer, a travel writer with a map to inner awakenings and flashes of insight that can guide you on your hero’s journey. Because whether you know it or not, you’re on one.

Christian Chensvold blogs about the world’s wisdom traditions at trad-man.com.
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