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How Can I Cope With My Sense of Weltschmerz, (Despair About The Suffering of the World)?



Reader Question:

Carving, desolation

I have experienced out of body experiences before many times, sometimes in the form of lucid dreaming, sometimes wide awake and aware. I don't believe in money, time or other materialistic things. When I look around I see energy, light and truth. My mind  hurts most of the time. It never stops thinking, I can't quiet it down ever anymore. I’ve opened it up too much and the fact that most people around me are brainwashed by the media and money hurts me even more. From the moment I wake up to the moment I sleep, I think of the inequality in the world, and I feel like I am the only being that cares about these things and I feel that I have the responsibility to put an end to it all.

I am in my 20s. I had no idea about any of this I’m speaking of until a couple years ago,  when I first experienced a high via cannabis. I’ve been hooked on it ever since, not to a degree where it effects my daily life, (in fact it helped it all). But I know that even though it is natural and just another organic element life has to offer, it seems like cheating to a degree. Almost all of my out of body experiences were during consuming cannabis. I recently quit in hopes of calming my mind.

Either way, all of this is kind of irrelevant. My question is that recently I discovered that I have 4 disks out of place in my spine. Do you think this has any negative effect on my ability to leave my body, to mediate, to relax and to be calm?  Because my mind is not calm, it never is, which puts a lot of stress to my muscles etc.

I’m sick of not having a single friend who can even come close to dream the things I talk about, so I just don't talk anymore and accept the fact that maybe I’m not going to be the one changing the world after all, ending the misery. Seems like I am doing all the right things, but its hard to keep going with this amount of stress.


Nancy’s Answer

Slow down, my friend -- you have a long life before you and need not accomplish everything at once!

It is good that you are backing off on the cannabis. As you have realized, sacred herbs need to be used infrequently, judiciously.

Truly, you are not the only one who cares about the suffering of the world. And you can not, and should not carry more than your share of the responsibility of putting an end to it. There are so many fine people who dedicate their life to this. Find some of them! Join with them! There is comfort, power, and community in working together with others. And you do need community!

Also, the 4 discs out of place are probably no big deal. It is so very common -- it definitely doesn't make you disabled. And for most people, there are no or few symptoms. So I wouldn't worry about it. I wouldn't think it would hamper you physically or spiritually. However, if you don't currently exercise your physical body, I would strongly recommend that you do that. It will help quiet your mind and ease your sense of stress, as well as bringing you more physical comfort and ease. Make sure that you include some walking in your day. It is a wonderful energy balancer.

The things that concern me most are your sense of isolation and stress. And the cannabis, which seems to me like an addiction.

When we have problems in our lives, if there is an addiction present, we always deal with the addiction first. The energy of addiction scrambles our own energy, and is kind of like a parasite on our energy. So you want to move the addiction-energy out of your field. (And it's more than just the substance itself.)

I get the sense that you need to ground yourself. This is common in people who avidly seek spiritual growth. Work to bring your energy into your body. Whenever you think of it, pause and take two or three conscious breaths. Walk, as I suggested before. And I also suggest you volunteer at something fairly basic. Working at a food bank or with children might be very supportive and healing to you. It would also help with the isolation. (There's an old activist saying, "Think globally, act locally." For most of us, it's a valid strategy.)

I would also try giving up my attachment to being highly spiritual and sensitive. Try to cultivate a sense of compassionate amusement. To put it another way, try to lighten up. I know that may sound impossible or uncaring in a world with so much suffering, but it isn't the same as not caring anymore. It's more like not letting the world's suffering sink you, partly because, on a practical level, you're no good to anyone if you're paralyzed with grief and despair. Look for the positive, the love, the joy, the evidence of evolution. It's there. And do whatever work you choose to do out of THAT place, not out of a place of despair and isolation. Also let go of ego attachment to saving the world with a grand act. Find a tradition of compassionate activism that is a good fit for you, and work within that tradition, not as a single person, but as part of an age-old continuum, a river of compassionate, concrete action of which you are a single drop -- important, but not alone either in time or space.

Finally, remember that peoples' gifts differ. If you require a friend whose gifts mirror your own exactly, it may indeed be a long time before you find such a person. So accept with an open heart friends with other gifts, perhaps an open, generous heart, or a certain egolessness that allows them to be a good listener, or an openness to laughter.   Don't judge the relative merits of people's gifts, and allow yourself to see the beautiful essence of others, so that you may have a friend.

I hope this helps. There is a wounding in you that needs to heal, so please take good care of yourself. Good luck.

Namaste, Nancy




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