Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The portal of melancholy



Several readers of my blog have asked me to speak more about the experience of 'melancholy' and its role on the journey of re-embodiment and the path of the heart. In my experience, melancholy is a very misunderstood (and therefore often unmet) energy in our psyches, in our hearts, and in our contemporary world. So much of our effort – psychologically, spiritually, and culturally – is fixated upon 'happiness,' feeling good, or otherwise abandoning the richness of present experience in search of some other 'higher' state of consciousness.  

Like the activity or movement of what we call 'vulnerability' or 'hopelessness,' we tend to disembody from melancholy, believing its mere presence is somehow evidence that something has gone wrong, that some mistake has been made, that we have 'failed,' or that we are ultimately unlovable or unworthy exactly as we are. If melancholy is present, we begin to scramble (often unconsciously) to change, heal, or transform it, replacing it with more 'spiritual' or 'healthy' thoughts, feelings, or states of being.

Before we cut the experience of melancholy too quickly, will we first turn and face it? And to see what it has to say, what gifts it may be bringing, and the ways it has come to break open our hearts. Let us consider that melancholy may in fact be a transformative portal into a mode of experience which is in direct touch with the fragility, rawness, and tenderness of this precious human birth. As we embrace this movement within us, it has a way of shattering old hopes and dreams, who we thought we were and what we 'needed,' and illuminating everything that remains unresolved within us.

One of the gifts of melancholy is that it can break us open to a certain kind of sadness and sensitivity. This is not the sadness of the mind, however, where something is experienced as being 'missing,' but a doorway into the reality that it is so special here, and how fortunate and rare it is to have taken birth in a star where love is actually alive. It reveals to us the primordial truth that we are always at risk of our hearts breaking open even more. And how lucky we are to be able to take this risk and give everything to know love, to fall all the way in to the mysteries of lover and beloved in this world.

Please stay close to your melancholy as it arrives early in the morning, at dusk as the sun is falling out of the sky, and in the evening as the plump pregnant moon makes her lunar sweetness known. For it has come not as an obstacle on the path, but as the path itself, as an ally of wholeness and as an emissary of integration, sent by the beloved herself to show you something about your heart that you may have forgotten.