(Or any other kind of blues, for that matter!)
I always return to Kierkegaard on this, how he wrote so forcefully (and so opaquely at times, if you’ve ever tried to read him!) of the simple fact about human nature that we are created with a need to connect ourselves to our Maker, so that that’s the only way we can escape despair, yet we’re also created in such a way that our natural inclination is to avoid such connection by any means possible. (If that sounds like a catch-22, I think it was the only way God could do it & still make us truly have free will.)
The reason I know Kierkegaard is right is because I’ve been thinking about the question of happiness, and observing human nature, ever since I was a teenager, when I could already tell that the things people thought would make them happy—jobs, possessions, activities, even relationships—didn’t. I think the main reason I knew this was because my mother had some really rich friends, who could have everything they wanted all the time, & they were just as miserable as everyone else.
For a while, I even thought the secret to happiness was the opposite of the rich people’s situation—that people who didn’t have it all but had to work for it, were thereby happier than the others, even though they frequently didn’t realize they were happier at the time. (And I do still think the working ones are usually closer to happiness than the rich ones.)
As I’ve gotten older (I’m 55 now), it seems clear that the normal pattern of life on this earth is that even if things are “good” for a few years or decades, then the whole thing is going to blow up in our faces in one way or another. Kids grow up, leaving people feeling empty & useless; careers become unfulfilling or cease to exist; parents die or become disabled—or disease, depression, or poverty strikes us directly.
To me, the message here is that this life is short & temporary, & the only way we can overcome the suffering is to base ourselves and our happiness elsewhere. Just as Jesus said, we need to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven, or live in the spirit instead of in the flesh.
(That other wise teacher, Buddha, said the same thing, only in slightly different terms. Life is suffering, therefore the key to happiness is to detach ourselves from it, learning to focus instead on the peace deep within us.)
Actually, I’ve been incredibly lucky about all this myself. Ever since—as I write about in the opening paragraph of my book, available elsewhere on this website—God zapped me at a junior high Bible study when I was 14, I’ve been acutely aware that the reality of life is beyond the here and now.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t had to struggle, though; it just means I knew where to look for answers. The fact that I have had to struggle (at least sometimes) has led to much greater joy & peace than I would have experienced otherwise, and—most importantly—it’s enabled me to potentially help others by sharing my story.
Lots of people say things like “I need to work on my spirituality.” Well, that’s the secret to curing the blues! Every one of us is a unique soul, and we have to do the work of nurturing that soul if we want to find peace and joy. YOU have to do it yourself, and the way you relate to God will be slightly different from the way everyone else does, but it will also be like everyone else’s in a lot of ways, because everybody who connects themselves to God is connecting to the same Holy Spirit.
So, if you want some help trying to find God, I can direct you to other pages on this website (petitioninggod.com), including but not limited to the book chapters themselves. The other pages of the website are things you can read even if you only have a few minutes; frequently it’s only a few words a person reads or hears that lead to their discovery of God within their own hearts.
Also, nearly every post on this blog is universalizable, because I always try to do that when I write them. So even though I don’t write many new posts anymore, you could browse a little & see if anything grabbed you as something you’d want to read to see if it helped you connect to God. Some of the posts that seem to have clicked for the largest number of people are the one about loneliness (December 2008), the one about praying to the moon (January 2010), the one about practicing resurrection (June 2010), & the immediately preceding post of December 2010, although that one is a tad long & over-comprehensive. (But you could just read part of it if you wanted, or read part one day & the rest another.)
As for how you can actually go about getting in touch with your Maker, I think the phrase “getting right with God” is overused and meaningless to a lot of people. It seems too easily shrugged off as a sort of momentary nod to God, without any prescription for transformation, which is what we’re looking for here, aren’t we, if we really want to cure our blues?
“Getting connected to God in your mind” seems a better way of saying the same thing, since it implies aligning your heart with God (who, as Jesus came to tell us, is love) and listening to God in the deepest recesses of your mind, so that you can know what tasks of transformation God has in store for you.
See, the main thing I’ve learned in several decades of studying how to get prayers answered is that God is always wanting to transform us into our better selves, but only with our consent (and our help), since we’re created with this wonderful thing called free will. So the secret to all this is that once we get connected to the God within ourselves, then, if we want to find happiness, we need to say YES to whatever projects of transformation he (or she or it) proposes for us. We have to do what Deepak Chopra calls “learning to cooperate with God.”
If you think you don’t have any transformations you need to make, think again—because we’re talking about things like attitude adjustments or changes of heart. I don’t know about you, but I always need them. There is always some attitude toward someone that’s sitting there in my heart and my brain, blocking me from being the person God (who is love) created me to be. (As well as blocking me from getting my prayers answered, since in that frame of mind I’m not forgiving others, which is the basis of Jesus’ model petitionary prayer, the Lord’s Prayer!)
If your problem with all this is that it sounds too rooted in “love” to do you any good because your main problem is ANGER—well, I just want to tell you that that’s my main problem, too. So you’ll find plenty on the subject of dealing with anger all through my writings.
So, the only sure cure for the blues is to work on your own spirituality, which is between YOU and God. My prayer is that you will find the time to do that soon, whether or not you ever read another word of my writing!
God be with you!