I have written many times about the fugue state that I sometimes descend into. This post pretty much sums it up. Those days, or strings of days, when I cannot do anything. Days when I feel stuck in place, incapable of communicating, doing my job or accomplishing anything other than the minimum required to keep myself and my family alive. Days when I waste hour upon hour reading meaningless crap on the internet, checking the same sites over and over again for updates, reading 200 comments about night-waking in 6-month-olds or some other random topic that I don't even care about. It's a terrible cycle, because the more time I waste, the more I hate myself, and the more I hate myself, the more I cannot function.
I have always thought that I was the only one who had such a problem. I must be the only person stupid and self-indulgent enough to waste whole days because I "can't deal with life," despite having all the comforts of the spoiled American middle class. And then I was reading a book by the incredibly wise Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, and I came upon her chapter on laziness. According to her, there are three kinds of laziness in the universe, and I almost fell out of my chair when I read about the second kind.
The second kind of laziness is loss of heart. We feel a sense of hopelessness, of "poor me." We feel so poverty-stricken that we aren't up to dealing with the world. We sit in front of the television eating, drinking, and smoking, mindlessly watching show after show. We can't bring ourselves to do anything to ventilate our loss of heart. Even if we manage to crank ourselves up and open the window, we do it with a sense of shame. We make an outer gesture of breaking through laziness, but still hold that essence of hopelessness inside. That gesture of cranking up or pushing through is still an expression of loss of heart. We are still saying to ourselves, "I'm the worst. There's no hope for me. "I'll never get it right." Thus we don't really give ourselves a break. We've forgotten how to help ourselves.
That is it! That is completely, exactly it. To know that this feeling is not an abberation, or a sign of a design flaw particular to me, is incredibly comforting. To know that when I struggle with this overwhelming loss of heart, I am wrestling with what it is to be human, is such a relief. Today I'm thinking of all the other people in the world who feeling like they are the only ones who are lost and that it is their own fault and that no one could ever understand. Today I'm feeling my connection with all of them, and that is the best cure I can imagine for a loss of heart.