Prince Harry and Meghan highlight that everyone has struggles so what is the answer?
I was so touched and saddened to read of Prince Harry’s turmoils. Losing a parent at such a young age, especially so suddenly has devastating lifelong and tragic effects. That extreme pain and sadness that is irreversible. When my own father died at the age of 12 it was as though the lights had gone out - my world of light was plummeted into acute darkness for so long. It took me until the birth of my son to have a reason to live again.
Harry speaks of his battles with depression as every time he hears a paparazzi click it takes him back to the death of his mother and how her own life was plagued with sadness. There seems to be some symptoms of PTSD He can blame the tabloids for his pain, the paparazzi, even the death of his mother, but what I have learned is that although grief opens a door wide on pain - it is not the thing. There will always be something that challenges - all of us will be bereaved at some stage - some loved ones leaving us in more tragic circumstances than others, or we will face other traumatic episodes, the loss of a limb, a major health scare, abuse, poverty, war. As we look around there will be someone with a far more traumatic experience or difficult circumstances to contend with than our own.
It is not the thing that happens which causes us to be unhappy - though I blamed everything that caused me pain in my life to be father dying 20 or so years ago. No all the eastern traditions yoga, state - our suffering is caused by our attachment. Everything is transient - no one is here forever, nothing lasts forever, we have to face endings, people will say things about us we don’t like, things that will happen that we don’t like.
The work is to dig deeper into ourselves, enquire further with more clarity. To accept the loss, accept the pain, but more importantly change our focus onto what we are grateful for than what we are not. Anxiety and depression are the result of the natural human condition and experiences. But I honestly believe we don't have to run from them, mask them with drugs, unpick them with therapy - though all these things can be helpful - they are never a total cure - one could argue there is no cure. I would say the cure is to recognise that they and it are all an illusion. Our internal suffering, sadness, stress are caused by a forgetting of the essence of us. We are pure divine light, creatures of bliss - yet it is as though we are possessed by the devil as we suffer, scream in rage, cry in pain, our minds a cacophony of egoic, repetitive disparaging self-talk, Some are lucky and report PTG (post traumatic growth) after life changing cataclysmic incidents, and some first may go through a journey of mental suffering as a result. Perhaps those incidents which are not accepted would cause the internal fight to persist - and in this fight there is no peace.
I believe a spiritual practice is the only way. As spirit comes from the word ‘essence’ in Latin - i don’t mean you need to be religious or even believe in God in the traditional sense - but be connected with the’ essence’ of life. The universal law for some that maybe mother nature, or the ocean even. For me it was yoga - 97% of which is not about what we do on the mat - but how we view and approach life. The practices of meditation, enquiry, moving, breathing all help gently quieten the incessant chatter of our minds - and more importantly help us tune out of them. Then we can sit with that which remains - that which goes beyond any sense of happiness or sadness, but a tranquility from the emptiness of being with that which is not a human construct. Words cannot explain or define, it goes beyond thought. It is the spark that causes a fetus to be created, a plant to grow, a universal connection, a moment of love. Don't try and explain it. Don't try and hold it, Don't try and read or write about it - this is where I stopped, For if we chase it, or grasp it - it is not there.
I wish to hold Harry’s hand as the adult, and as the boy, who walked bravely down the aisle behind his mother’s coffin. It is wonderful he is making mental health less taboo but once it is acknowledged I wish in the secular society there could be movement towards that which goes beyond pain. A connection with that part of us all which cannot be hurt that is the goal of traditions such as yoga. Harry can be free of the trauma, of the sadness, he can let go of everything he has held onto and everything that he has been angry about, and surrender to that is life. Don't waste a moment - dive into the bliss of your wife, your baby, your blessed life as it is - come to the moment - moment by moment - and in this moment - there is only freedom from the torment.
by bhuti founder, Samantha Trinder