Embracing the Blues

sadnessWe all get sad. Whether it’s the direct cause of a specific event or just a wave of discomfort that overcomes us, feeling the blues is natural. We are always told to smile and be happy and there’s nothing wrong with that. Being happy and having a positive outlook, even when times look dim, is a strong and healthy attitude.

However, fighting sadness with denial and delusion is not healthy either.

Zen masters teach their students to have no feelings for or against anything. Maintaining an even keel is the goal.

But most of us are far from being expert Buddhists and our emotions often get the better of us. Still, why do we strive so hard for happiness and banish the blues to the basement of our soul?

Think about it, without feelings of sadness we’d be missing out on a lot of great books, music and films. Some of the most incredible works of art were created by men and women trying to express their sorrow or dismay. Moving symphonies and memorable movies often center on the sadness of a main character. Being sad isn’t so bad. Dwelling on it and letting it slip into depression is bad, but moments of feeling not so great is natural and to fight it will only cause more agony.

The next time you reach a point of sadness, stop and let it be. Don’t force yourself to smile when you can’t or tell yourself to feel great when your body and mind just won’t. Like all feelings, it will pass and to let it run its natural course is the best way to heal. You may even find in your sad state some epiphany or discovery about yourself that you didn’t know before. Many creative people use their blues to conjure prose and paintings that help to release the forces behind their sadness.

Forcing anything is unnatural and potentially harmful. Don’t treat the blues any different. Allow your body and mind to work through the course of sadness and see what it can teach.

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