We all know the condition. The boundaries of depression and bleak, sad moods, are very fluid and always changing. Depression is something that is treatable with psychological therapy and/or medication; however, the variations of moods may best be countered by spiritual practices and personal discipline of becoming more aware of how one functions in one’s internal psychological “world.”
Bleak moods, known as “the noonday demon,” is the cause of the most serious troubles in life. It runs through our culture and is known in many forms: Indifference, workaholism, lethargy, no motivation, lack of a sense of meaning, feeling stuck, wanting to easily just give up, just surviving, commitment phobia, and distance to others and to life in general.
It use to be called “sloth” because it is associated with physical laziness. Who cares if you clean up, make the bed, complete tasks, or just do them in a sloppy manner? It is also the root of a lot of bad things because of its ability to nourish other vices in our lives.
In the book by Kathleen Norris, ‘Acedia & Me” (2008) she states that when you tell people you are writing about sloth, they don’t know what you mean. But when you say ‘indifference’ they do. They understand not being able to care, and being so not able to care that you don’t care that you don’t care.
Our multi-tasking, always “on”, and busy lives keep us detached and numb to what is happening around us – so we don’t think or have time to feel. As we do more and care less and feel pressured to still do more and more, we are stuck in “being indifferent.” There have been many times in life that we work to bury our feelings by buying a dishwasher, or other things, so we don’t feel. We live in a hype-up world with television, radio, the internet, the newspapers, immediate information, all a ceaseless bombardment that we come unaware of even caring.
The more we understand the name of this condition of bleak moods, indifference and detachment, we approach the first step we need to overcoming its worst indulgences. It helps to first clear our heads of troubling thoughts in order to get outside of the closed circle of the self. It is realizing that our society does everything to keep us closed up.
It is easier, but it results in more bleak sad moods, which causes an increasing lack of motivation and a total indifference so we “don’t feel.” However, it is a condition that still has a heavy weight and the power to hem us in and to negatively alter our picture of the world and our lives. We “allow it to happen” because it is “easier” and we tell ourselves, “what’s the use?” So it becomes comfortable and there is no reason to “move or change, or to become aware.” We exist and allow ourselves to do what “feels right” rather than “being right.”
Photo credit: Pixabay/IgorShubin