We tell ourselves stories about who we are, and then we believe them. You may think to yourself: I am feeling depressed. I am lonely. I am heartbroken.
But what would it feel like to let go of these thoughts? To not succumb to all of the voices in your head spewing out negativity?
In learning more about Buddhism, letting go is starting to feel possible for me. I’m not suggesting I’ve done this completely at all. But I am fascinated by the concept of the self as illusion. What this means to me is that the narrative we carry around with us, that voice inside our head that often tells us terrible things—that isn’t real.
In other words, just because you think something doesn’t make it true or real or worthwhile.
You are separate from that voice.
This isn’t meant to simplify or play down what it’s like to suffer with a mood disorder or depression. Practicing Buddhism in this preliminary way as I learn more about it makes it clear to me that we need to be that much more vigilant about caring for ourselves through therapy and through medication. Then we will be ready and able to let go of that natural tether to our “self” and embark on this journey to understand and transform our minds.