Hi! I am so excited to be able to post a blog post today. My class and I have been eye deep in studying for our winter finals. And they are not even over yet (sad face). But, I think the worst of it is done. So let’s all wish success to everybody in my class for the next week!
Today’s post is about the upward and downward cycles of human nature. It is a cycle we repeat many times during our lives, and also during our day-to-day interactions with projects and relationships. During the climb up we tend to feel motivated and inspired, we then reach a brief plateau before we begin our downward descent. I can literally look through this list and identify which stage I am on in an area of my life and see what is coming up for me soon! And then not only am I prepared but I am also aware of what is happening at each stage and how each stage feeds the next one.
THE UPWARD SPIRAL
Stage one begins as the last stage of your previous cycle ends. Stage one begins with the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. It begins with us learning from out past experiences, or from being given more knowledge (perhaps from a teacher/guru). With this new knowledge we begin to plan our next moves differently. We have hope that life will be different for us, now that we know better. In this stage we begin to feel joy and empowerment. We feel empowered that now we know better. This knowledge frees us from our own prison. We feel love and appreciation for life as it is, knowing that we have the power to change it.
With this new knowledge comes passion. After a period of emptiness we finally feel ourselves filling up with passion. This passion enables us to care about something, to care about someone, to care about our lives.
3. Enthusiasm and inspiration
After letting the passion build up for a little while we are given inspiration to take action. In this phase we get good ideas, we take initiative, we make an effort. We feel enthusiastic; we can do things without being asked, and it feels close to effortless!
4. Positive expectations and belief
When we take such initiative towards the positive development of our lives, we will naturally begin to adopt positive expectations and beliefs about it’s outcome. In this stage, we truly believe that everything is going to turn out well.
When you sustain positive expectation for a period of time, you cultivate optimism. We start to see the state of our life in an optimistic light. The positive expectation is no longer confined to our “new project”, but now overflows into our beliefs about our life and our future.
In regards to the gray areas of life (and there will always be some), we feel a genuine sense of hopefulness. Genuine hopefulness means that we have a gentle inner request that the things that our out of our grasp may just turn out well. We begin to build our goals for the future, and we build them out of optimism and not fear.
All of these steps bring us to the plateau of our upward spiral. For a period of time we feel complete contentedness for the way our life is unfolding. Everything seems to be stable. The “climb” seems to come to a pause, and we are given time to enjoy the work, both inner and outer, that we have done.
THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL
The beginning of our descent is initiated with boredom. We start to get tired of our period of contentment. We start to feel slightly unsatisfied – we feel like we would like to make even more changes, but we start to feel that we lack the energy to do that, since we spent so much of it on our climb. So we settle for being bored. Everything is good in life, but we are bored.
Our boredom provides the perfect environment for the growth of pessimism. We lack the energy to make changes, and due to the uncreative nature of boredom (“I’m bored today AND I don’t know what I want to do”) our positive expectations begin to diminish. Suddenly, what once brought feelings of harmony and contentment, begin to project into the future and the view is bleak. We gradually lose hope and confidence in the future. This is the beginning of our negative thinking.
10. Frustration/ irritation/ impatience
Lack of hope and confidence in the future builds on our frustration. We start to get irritated with the state of our life, the state of our relationships, our circumstances. Through the lens of irritation we get very impatient. We start to feel that things are no longer happening as we had planned. We feel trapped.
Then comes the period of being overwhelmed. Our frustrations build up and we become overwhelmed with what life is showing us. We become overwhelmed with the lack of options and possibilities, we become overwhelmed with our deteriorating relationships and circumstances in life, we become overwhelmed by our negative thinking and pessimism.
And then comes disappointment. The culmination of our vague and unrealistic expectations not being met. We are still emotionally attached and emotionally charged so we tend to feel disappointment deeply. This phase is characterized by a strong sense of disappointment towards the people close to us, to the way our life is unfolding. We feel that we are often let down in life.
Our disappointment towards things attracts doubt. They come hand in hand. When we are excessively disappointed in something we also attract feelings of doubt in it too. For example, if you are a woman and find yourself very disappointed in the behaviour of your spouse, it won’t take long before you start to doubt them, and doubt the relationship. Doubt means uncertainty of your current situation. Doubt means uncertainty about what steps to take. Doubt means a lot of unanswered questions.
And then we start to worry. Initially doubt can be expressed in quite a detached manner. We simply become doubtful, but not necessarily concerned. In stage 14 of the downward spiral, we begin to feel very concerned. We worry about our stability in life, our security. We worry about other peoples actions towards us. We worry about lies, bad news, the worst case scenarios.
Our psyche is simply unable to cope with excessive amounts of worry. It springs to action. The first line of defense to protect you against powerlessness is blame. In this stage we blame everything in life for our misfortune and unhappiness. We blame friends, partners, children, work, school, the house etc. All our thoughts become rooted in the phrase “He/She/You/They/It should have…”
And deep inside we start to blame ourselves a little bit too but we keep that part hidden so that we don’t have to face our demons.
When we get in the habit of blaming and complaining about things, we attract the counter force from life – discouragement. In this stage you will speak to people who will criticism and discourage your progress. You will encounter situations and ultimatums in life that will discourage you. This is life’s response to our complaining and blaming. People do not like to be blamed for things and this is how they will retaliate – by discouraging you. You may not have even specifically blamed that specific person, but a persons rational mind can detect blame emanating from a person, whether it was directed at them or not. And they will respond.
When we become discouraged by life and by people we begin to get angry. We become defensive. Anger can be directed outwardly through violence and violence of action and speech. Or Anger can be directed internally through violence of thoughts and resentment.
From our anger comes our need to get revenge. We plan our next steps to make sure that those around us be punished for discouraging us. This can be done in a very subtle way, but it is still the same thing. It is still the concept of revenge. We plan to teach people a lesson in some way. We try to set things up so that we can say “I told you so” or to somehow put is in a more beneficial position, while making something else below us.
(**When we hear the word “Revenge” we usually think of extreme acts of cruelty that we cannot imagine ourselves doing. But revenge can have a subtle form – it can be as simple as withdrawing love from your relationships in order to make them feel it.**)
When we engage in subtle acts of revenge we develop hatred within our hearts. We engage in revenge-tactics with the hope of teaching someone a lesson, yet somehow we cultivate hatred within us. Revenge cannot be carried out with kindness or love, only out of cruelty. Acts that are carried out out of cruelty will eventually build the feeling of hatred in you. In this stage you just cannot think of any good qualities of people/things that you have directed your hatred at.
Our of hatred breeds jealousy. We start to get increasingly envious about things in life. People think envy means noticing the good in another person and coveting it for yourself, but another form of envy also lies in noticing the bad in another person (post on this coming soon). In this phase we become very aware of the bad qualities of the people closest to us.
21. Insecurity/guilt/ unworthiness
After all these highly charged negative emotions we begin to fall into insecurity. We feel guilty for the way we have been behaving. And if not behaving – we feel very guilty for the way we have been thinking. Either way, we feel guilt. We feel such immense guilt that we also feel unworthy. We become insecure about our good qualities – because for all this time you have been showing only our negative qualities and not taking the time to cultivate the positive ones. So we start to believe in our negative qualities and feel helpless to cultivate good ones. We feel guilty about that. We feel unworthy.
22. Fear/grief/ depression/ Powerlessness/ victim
The final stage of the downward cycle is when you hit the bottom. Here you experience depression. You feel powerless and feel that you have been the victim of life. That everything bad happened to you. The good times feel far away, and you do not have the energy to make your way towards them.
This is the end of the downward spiral.
So what happens next? How a person naturally comes out of depression
You begin your upward spiral. And the first step is knowledge. The only way to get out of your stage 22 depression is to receive knowledge about how to live in a better way. This may come from your spiritual guru, a good friend or loved one, spending time around happy people, perhaps from something you read, or perhaps from simply reflecting on your actions and life. Either way you can only come out of depression when you are given the correct knowledge of how to be happy. When you understand that you had been looking for happiness in the wrong places. When you understand what changes must be made in order to move forward. This is the way forward!
Thank you for reading today