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Shining Awareness in the Dark Corners – A Story of Forgiveness, Part 2 May 10, 2013

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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(This is part 2 of a series on how my mindfulness meditation practice helped me to find forgiveness, and how I uncovered an entire place in my awareness that had previously been completely hidden in darkness. Read part 1 here.)

When times were shitty, I directed all of the energy of blame for all of what I saw to be going wrong in my personal circumstances to my mother. I hated her. In fact, as far as I was concerned, she was the one person who ruined my life. Most or all of my problems were because of her, either directly or indirectly. I would fantasize about how much my life would be better if she wasn’t in it.

I disowned my mother. As far as I was concerned I had an idea or an image in my mind of what a mother was supposed to be, and she didn’t fit that image. She didn’t deserve to be called my mother. I stopped calling her mom and referred to her by her first name, not only when addressing her directly, but also when referring to her when talking to my friends and relatives.

I grew up—sorry, I mean I grew older—and moved away from home. I had a chance to, as I saw it at the time, fix my life by taking control over it myself. I distanced myself from my parents, but especially my mom, and went off on my own.

Not long after, depression revisited, and I had to do the long, hard work of pulling myself out of that big, deep, black hole of self-pity. And this time, the self-pity focused on my mental illness, or the story of it. By the story I mean that depression wasn’t just something that happened to me, I was depression. I was a depressed person, and because I had been depressed before, I must therefore be doomed to this for The Rest Of My Life.

So my self-pity turned to blame for my parents, especially my mother. It was my mother’s fault I was depressed because, among other well-validated and intelligently-argued points, my mother didn’t fix her own depression. She passed on her depression through me. She made me depressed. She did this not only because of, as I was now learning in my university psychology courses, exposing me to seeing someone else with that same illness, but also because of my genes. Depression was built into my genetic makeup. I was doomed. And it was all her fault.

As you might expect, these thoughts and feelings of self-pity only led me to further dig myself into that dark hole of despair. After some time, I was finally shocked into summoning enough energy to take charge of my own recovery. And the type of self-pity thoughts described above absolutely had to go if I wanted my well-being back. I took that approach that I could only take responsibility over what I had control. I couldn’t control my family history or any past experiences, but I could control my thoughts and how I responded to what had happened to me.

When I began to practice meditation regularly and learn the dharma, I was able to take care of the pain leftover from my episode of depression. I was encouraged by the open acknowledgement of the first noble truth that suffering (or dissatisfaction or unease) exists. I was also comforted by the confirmation that suffering can be transformed into understanding and happiness. Strengthened by the practice, I could turn toward the leftover pain of depression and heal myself, and transform the suffering transmitted to me by previous generations.

In transforming some of this pain, I became more aware and understanding of the pain of having a mental illness, and this gave me a great deal of compassion for myself and others in this same situation. I was completely able to deeply feel the pain of mental illness and depression, and have profound compassion in response to that type of pain.

Therefore, when I was eventually exposed to forgiveness in the context of an actual meditation practice, my path to forgiveness was understanding. I took on the forgiveness practice because I decided I needed to forgive my mother. Part of it was a motivation to simply grow up. I wanted to stop being the whiny teenager who had such a sense of entitlement for what people were supposed to do for me. I wanted to be responsible for my own life and happiness.

Continue to part 3 here.

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Comments»

1. Mitra - May 10, 2013

Andrea, your story is becoming very inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story. I’m very grateful to know you.

Living Abundance - May 12, 2013

Hi Mitra, You’re very welcome, it is my pleasure. Thank you for your kind words, I’m happy you are enjoying it.

2. Ella - May 11, 2013

Thank you.

I was thinking, as I was reading I was thinking about how I/you/we are the lucky ones: the ones that came across the practice and were able to follow through with practice and change.

🙂
ella

Living Abundance - May 12, 2013

Hi Ella,
Thanks for reading my post again! Of course, I agree completely. I have immense gratitude to have found a practice that is so rewarding for myself. Its nice to hear someone else who feels the same.
– Andrea

3. suburbanworkingmom - May 11, 2013

Your story hits all too close to home for me! I too spent years blaming my mother for all my struggles… It’s refreshing to read how you have come to see this so clearly in your life. I am coming to the same clarity (slowly!), and starting to treat my mom with the love and appreciation she deserves.

Now, if only I could somehow prevent my daughter from going through the same thing… Or maybe I just need to remember this and understand. 🙂

Living Abundance - May 12, 2013

Hi there,
Thank you for reading my post and sharing about how it speaks to you personally. That’s wonderful that your relationship with your mom has changed as well as a result of your realizations. And I hope you and your daughter can have a great relationship as well. It makes me incredibly happy to hear that by simply sharing my story as honestly and plainly as I can that someone else can benefit from it!
– Andrea

4. suburbanworkingmom - May 14, 2013

Reblogged this on Chasing Well-being and commented:
This post hits all too close to home for me, as I too have spent years blaming my mother for all my struggles… It’s refreshing to read how Andrea has come to see this so clearly in her life. I am coming to the same clarity (slowly!), and starting to treat my mom with the love and appreciation she deserves.

Now, if only I could somehow prevent my daughter from going through the same thing… Or maybe I just need to remember this and understand when we get to the same place. 🙂

5. Shining Awareness in the Dark Corners – A Story of Forgiveness, Part 3 | Living Abundance - May 17, 2013

[…] an entire place in my awareness that had previously been completely hidden in darkness. Read part 2 […]


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