All three of the above made predictions about the end of the world (which thankfully have not yet come true).
While you may not have made such extravagant predictions and shouted them from the rooftops as these people did, you may on occasion do something similar.
You may catastrophize.
This is when something relatively insignificant happens but in our internal world it is ‘DISASTER!’
While this may not be predicting the end of ‘the’ world, it can certainly feel that ‘your’ world is coming to an end.
There is a side to me that, from time to time, no matter what is going on (good or bad) seems to love holding up a big banner with ‘DOOMED!’ written on it in big red letters.
It’s not like I haven’t done work on myself. Years of therapy, hypnosis, mindfulness, spiritual practices and so on.
Great stuff and wow have a I learnt a lot!
And still there are these days and times where this particular voice is pretty insistent.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if there aren’t some real concerns in the world today.
Living in Brexit UK is a pretty grim prospect- not least because of the likely economic and social impacts that are likely to land on the most deprived areas and communities.
Across Europe populist politics is on the rise which is quite simply terrifying.
And the enormous cruise liner that is the US is being driven chaotically by someone who seems to have as much fitness for public office as a crazed toddler.
Not to mention climate change.
But this grim reaper who shows up in me from time to time doesn’t even need such quality fare to make a delightful recipe of disaster movie proportions.
This part, when it is in full swing, only needs the slightest provocation to kick into action- which seems to consist of trashing any of the wonderful insights and creations that have formed in my inner world.
So does this living, breathing, sometimes screaming catastrophiser showing up mean that I have failed in some way, that the work I have done all these years hasn’t worked?
The doom-sayer would say yes. But I would say no.
As humans we are complex beings.
If we start to track back to causes we can find events in our lives that appear as if they are the cause of these challenging doom-laden thought processes- an accident, a traumatic event, a difficult relationship.
But after we’ve worked our way through all this they can still sometimes arise.
We see this in countless movies where the monster / bogeyman / abuser that we thought had been satisfactorily despatched returns to horrify the protagonist once again.
One of the teachers I first studied meditation with over 20 years ago (he has been doing his work since the 1960’s used to say something that I didn’t really understand fully at the time.
Whenever something challenging would come up in him (like my doom-monger) he would say ‘ah there you are old friend.’
While I thought this ridiculous at the time because, well of course you can just transform your way through it, I now see the wisdom of it.
The friendliness neutralises all the reactive energy that we could waste on trying to sort it out or transform it.
It allows us to be in relation to the feeling rather than run by it.
And by being that generous we position ourselves as being larger than the difficult feeling-state we are experiencing.
Rumi has a fabulous poem called ‘The Guest House’ where he talks about how these different states arrive and how welcoming them as precious guests is the most powerful way we can engage with them.
It is a place where even a doom-monger can feel at ease. It doesn’t make that state disappear but it does create enough space that sometimes we can wait till it passes with a little more gentleness.
I’d love to hear ways that you work with these difficult parts of yourselves. And if you have any questions or insights I’d love to hear from you.