Nadirs (1995)

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Originally written: Mar. 7, 1995.
Revised: Sept. 17, 2009

As a comedian once put it, I hit my all-time low last night, for the very first time again. It was enlightening for me because the topic has been one that has been raised several times offline in the past two weeks.

Going through the experience myself, I got to see some of the dynamics, and, with your permission, Iíd like to share a little about that.

The ostensible reason for my nadir was a frustrating situation at work that needn't concern us. The real reason for my nadir was that the office situation flushed up my organizing principle -- unadulterated selfishness. I was obliged to stand there confronting how very selfish I am.

I saw the self-enclosing walls of what Da Free John called "Narcissus," my self-absorbed, self-interested personality, built of vasana on vasana, and kept in place by its remaining just below the surface, almost always unseen.

Unseen except at moments like this.

Narcissus was painful to see. I saw that I have an energy system that loops back on itself, that keeps people at a distance, that doesn't permit my attention to wander from me and my plight.

I hold the attention on me forever, paying out just enough attention to others to keep them around. It was not a pretty picture.

As I observed my condition, I could see that selfishness tinged every emotion, accompanied every intiative, colored every approach. Energy was turned back on itself; attention, a closed loop; love, bottled up. Ow! I hurt.

Life is constantly bumpng up against my limits and having them torn down -- ouch! I get to see how abysmally undeveloped I am -- oooh! I smart. I ache. I feel glum. Then I feel depressed.

So nadirs are an occupational hazard of life. I used the time last night to sit quietly with these feelings in uncertainty, not knowing what was going on or where it would lead. It turned out I had no idea what was going on, and never could have without being with the process.

I allowed the lamp of neutral awareness to shine on my feelings, etc., without having my down space be a witness for the prosecution or a blot on my record.

A wise workshop leader once suggested: if you're in danger of condemning yourself for being at your nadir, try this experiment. Fill the bathtub with an inch of water. Climb in. If you walk on the surface and still feel at your nadir, youíre right: something is definitely wrong.

However, if your feet sink to the bottom, you have more remodelling work to do and it'll hurt at times. Allowing life to remake me, I expect to feel at a low spot at regular intervals and I build it into my round of life.

After seeing all this, I saw that I needed to re-generate myself no matter what -- to recompile the code, to get on with life. It was time to stand up and get back to work. I still hurt, but I'm letting life do a thorough remodelling job behind the scenes. Take down those timbers. Rip out those stones and all that brick. I know Iíll be happy with the results.

Namaste,

Steve

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