As we journey through life and learn to grow and find meaning through the challenges to our existence, we pray, we meditate, we say affirmations, correct our dysfunctional thinking, exercise, practice good nutrition, follow sound medical advice, and keep finding new ways to fulfill a purpose in life. We feel inspired many times. Then, suddenly, we face a wall. It is as if God has gone silent.
The affirmations, prayers and meditations that once inspired us are flat. At best, we feel nothing. At worst, we feel despair. It is as though all of the best psychological, physical, and spiritual practices fail us. We are stuck.
Some people seem to get caught in a downward spiral by making their emotional/mental state worse through self-recrimination for allowing themselves to get back into sadness or lack of hope. It gets worse when we start to make negative prophesies about our lives, such as: “All of this effort I have made to feel good isn’t working; so I must be doomed.”
The truth is, the silence is just part of our cycle of progress. We think that we are not progressing unless we are feeling better and better every day; but that is not the case. Sometimes, we just go into a holding pattern. Our active efforts at health, happiness, and fulfillment take a break. Life hits the Pause button.
These times of resting from all of the efforts to get on the right track are actually a time of healing. The key is to just go with the process that you are in at the moment. You might be feeling nothing. That is what you need to be feeling at that moment. You might be feeling sad. That is what you need to be feeling at that moment. You might be feeling angry. That is what you need to be feeling.
During these times we are facing the humbling fact that we are Not in charge. We do not dictate our lives or our insights into it. Life is sometimes revealed to us moment by moment from a higher source of inspiration, knowledge, and life itself.
Let yourself feel whatever you are feeling. Feelings need expression, and sometimes purging. Catharsis is one of the most healing forces. Just don’t make any predictions or pronouncements about your life based on those feelings. You are not totally in charge.
Relax, and trust that things will work out. Let go a little and let life happen. Give up the desire to control. You will come out of that silence or out of that storm in a much better place.
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D. October 5, 2016