Mid-Life Crisis

I was 32 years old when I had my “mid-life crisis”. It was at that time I had achieved, or nearly achieved, everything I wanted in my life.  My foundation seemed complete and everything else was on cruise control.  This plummeted me into an emotional place where I could rally no happiness or contentment.

My August 1, 1997 journal entry:

June/July were very difficult.  I was doing 5+ meetings a week; treading water, not feeling any relief.  I was without words to accurately describe it.  Sometimes it was strong emotional pain without a current cause to explain it.  Then I was feeling dissatisfaction.  I was walking around saying, “I have everything” and not feeling the way I expected.  I expected joy to happen when I had everything.

What I was reacting to, with my depression, was the realization that my outside circumstances do not make me happy.  What is outside me is transient and even if something gives me pleasure it is a pleasure that does not last.  On the path to enlightenment this would be considered the first step.

I would not have sought to end my suffering with a spiritual solution if I had not realized first that the material world could not provide me with satisfaction.  My depression was simply a reaction to the loss of that illusion.  If I had not so strongly thought that getting a stable home and the community I was looking for could bring me happiness I would not have been so pained when I realized it was not true.

It wasn’t until a decade later that I “discovered” that the Buddha taught how to find everlasting peace and joy.  Perhaps, my dark period would not have been so difficult if I had know there really was an alternative.  I was told I had to accept life on life’s terms.  While that is good advice for finding peace in the moment, the Buddha taught how to take control and change life to create a “perfect” world.

This is coming up today for me, because on Sunday, September 7th I will be teaching the first class in the Asian Classics Institute Course 1 – The Principal Teachings of Buddhism.  It is with great joy I share with others how to change their world and create eternal bliss.  I am looking forward to being with people that also want to end suffering.


I could feel it on the way to work today.  Resistance.  Not much, but it was an undercurrent playing in the background.  Yesterday morning I looked at my schedule for today and was pleased to find it was completely empty.  I had some things I wanted to do around the house in preparation for my out-of-town guest (arriving that evening) and having no clients would be fine.

Then someone snatched up the first slot of the day.  This would not have been any big deal if I was working at home, but I was on call from 9am to 4pm at the Hawaiian Experience Spa in Scottsdale. If I have to go in for a 9am massage, then it makes the most sense for me to stay at the spa rather than risk driving the half hour home only to be called back in.

As I drove in I acknowledged the resistance.  I had been trying to ignore it.  No sense feeling unhappy about the massage appointment when there was nothing I could do about it.  Still there was that undercurrent of not wanting to go in.  I wanted to have the day go my way.  That is really what it is all about.  I had a plan and I wanted it my way.

Running current through a material with high resistance creates heat. In this picture, a cartridge heater is glowing red hot due to resistance. Similarly, people with resistance tend to heat situations up.

Resistance is the greatest energy sap I can think of.  Resistance takes whatever joy is around and clouds it over.  When I speak of resistance, I am talking about energy that is just being used to fight against something that simply is. Sometimes the thing that “is” is something that cannot be changed, but other times it is possible to change the situation.

For instance, in my case, if I had seen the appointment and decided I didn’t want to do it, I could have called the office and asked for them to give it to someone else.  Instead, I decided I wanted to do it.  At least part of me wanted to do the massage more than I didn’t want to do the massage.  Rarely is any decision made with 100% of my being.  The resistance I was feeling was the drag the minority of me was putting up against the direction the majority of me decided to take.

That’s how it goes with resistance.  Many times I have found that part of me fights against something that “I” have decided to go along with.  Awareness is once again the key to peace.

I confronted the resistor within and affirmed my decision.  Then I turned my back on the rumblings.  The best way to get rid of unwelcome resistance is to focus on what is good and cultivate acceptance.

One trick I use is to “give thanks in all circumstances”. (A nice story about this can be found in my book, The Answers Are Within – Volume 1.)  I decided to believe that this day was being created in a way that really did serve me and all my needs perfectly.  This is an example of Reframing; another great way to get rid of resistance.  I chose to let go of my resistance (and these days it is easy for me – I’ve been practicing this for twenty years) and I resolved to be totally present for the massage.

How did it go?

Went great!  After the massage, I felt ready to leave the spa.  I trusted my intuition.  I decided to get an adjustment at My Chiropractor. When that was over, I decided to get some gas and then get air in my tires.  Before long, I found myself at home – still on call.  I opted to write this post and as I go to publish this I have made it through the day without being called back in.

So, actually a perfect day.  A nice balance of work and taking care of somethings I might not have done if I wasn’t “forced” out of the house.  But the true victory is not the positive outcome.  The true victory is that even if I would have been called back in I would have been peaceful.  Victory over resistance is a gem.

Reflection:  What am I resisting?  What am I saying, “No way” too?  Is it possible to be in faith and resist what is?  How is internal resistance and “drag” different from action directed at change?

Political Emails

Due to my political activism I’ve ended up on numerous political email lists.  It seems like everyone from the Democrats to the Republicans think I am their buddy.  I like to stay informed, but frankly I feel like I’m being bombarded.  The subject lines seem attacking and not very informative.  Here are some examples of emails I did not open:

  • Let’s hit them where it hurts
  • UN Shocker
  • U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E
  • Major Defeat
  • Somebody’s lawsuit (UPDATE)
  • Somebody’s lawsuit (OUTRAGEOUS)
  • Somebody =FUMING
  • Dorena: DO NOT DELETE
  • Did you see?
email subject lines

a day of deleted emails

Okay, you get my point.  It is almost funny to see them all listed here.  This is just a few top headlines that I’ve received in the last four days.

I’ve started “unsubscribing” while letting the senders know that I think their subject lines are offensive.  I think I will also set up an energy block – something to transmute the energy.  It feels like each one (especially the ones written in all caps) is charged with a penetrating energy that is unpleasant to me.  I imagine other people are receiving these as well and being affected by their resonance.

I wonder, is it ethical to download the computer servers that are sending out these messages with love and light?  I’d also like to create a loop that downloads each message (regardless of the text) with the vibration of peace.  Perhaps I’ll put it in as a optional so as not to mess with people’s free will.  Some people might prefer the negative rush of drama.

Wait!  What am I thinking?  I am the one affected by those words.  They are just markings on the screen – they have no reality except what I attribute to them.  If I am finding them charged negatively then there is something within me that is creating that.  It is insanity for my to try to change the outside world in order to feel better.  My happiness does not ultimately come from external people, places or things. (Wasn’t I just blogging about that yesterday in the “Creation Myth“?)

What is right action then?  Well, for me that would be to look inside of me for the “sore spot” that is rubbed wrong.  Exposing that to the light (to my awareness) often results in a dissolution of the discomfort.  Remember, all mental afflictions are due to a misbelief or wrong view.  If I clear up the wrong view, I can resolve the unpleasant state of mind and body.