“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” - Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist
At times, sadness washes over me and I feel helpless to be anything but that. Immediately, I start interrogating the sadness - why am I feeling this way? Sometimes the answer is clear to me, but occasionally I just can’t pinpoint why it's happening. Is it you, beloved hormones? Did I not eat well today? Did I not sleep enough last night?
Sadness came to visit me after my band’s show this past Friday. I got home that night and felt its looming presence. Why? Many friends came to support us, people said we sounded great, and I got paid to sing and play music that I love! What’s wrong with me? I should be really happy, not sad. Jeez.
The following is one of my favorite Rumi poems. These words remind me that even if I can’t always figure out the reason why, I must learn to be embrace those moments of sadness. The feeling will pass, and while I am in the midst, I must learn what I can from the experience.
THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
When I allow the sadness to pass through, I become in control of the emotion - not by forcing it away, but in allowing myself to experience it. Just as I indulge in soaking in the sunshine on a warm day, I must also close my eyes and allow the rain to fall upon me. To be human is to embrace the wide range of emotions that we experience each and everyday.