I am 44 and have been on disability from anxiety, depression, and chronic pain for 2.5 yrs, even though I am doing better I am still fragile and have many bad days. I worked as a mechanic before my disability. I am being pressured to return to the workforce. My issue is that I chose my jobs out of necessity and never really liked what I did. no doors for new opportunities are opening. what should I do?
—Steven Clark, Canada
I am very sorry to hear of your condition. When you say “no doors for new opportunities” I assume this means only mechanic jobs are being offered. I wonder, too, if working part-time rather than full-time is possible. I also assume that the pressure is related to the financial support the government provides for your situation.
The key to health is energy and the key to energy is that it has its source in a higher Power. Energy is the biggest issue on this planet today whether one is speaking of the generation of energy on a global level (as in climate change, fossil fuels etc) or whether in regards to the rise of immune system disorders and other chronic conditions beyond the scope of modern medicine.
You are faced, then, with what seems to be two directions: get off of government subsidy by living an alternate lifestyle or go back to work. The first might seem to offer promise but has the potential to spiral downwards into a low-energy lifestyle. And for you, it might not even be a realistic choice. The second would seem to offer the promise of increased stress and little else.
So, let’s take a look at the energy solution. Whichever direction you choose, your attitude and energy hold the key to a better outcome. A positive attitude of enthusiastic acceptance, or barring that at least initially, calm acceptance and willingness to try is the foundation. By this point, you have presumably explored things that YOU can do for your health such as yoga, physical therapy, exercise, and a healthy diet. If not I encourage you to do so. In your condition and being off of work it is easy to slide into a passive lifestyle of watching movies, eating too much and not eating well, and otherwise existing on a relatively low-energy level. Getting back on your feet won’t necessarily happen overnight but knowing what direction of energy you need to go will hopefully guide you in that direction. In this regard, then, going back to work is not necessarily as “bad” as it might feel at least insofar as increasing your energy level is concerned.
But willpower is not enough even for healthy people. Look around, none of us knows where we came from in being born; why we are what we are; or, what will happen after we inevitably depart this world. Moreover, our influence on our environment, culture, and world is next to nothing. So let’s start with accepting that we are part of something grand, large, and beyond our very limited ego will power, and energy. If we are reflective and self-honest, we can say that the world so far as WE are concerned is the world between our ears; in our minds, and in our hearts. Thus it must surely be that the meaning of life is to be found within ourselves. The significance of our life is inextricably bound up in the degree to which we see ourselves as a spark of the universal Life and in so doing align ourselves with the will and intention of that great Life Force!
I assume that since you have written to us that you are probably a meditator. Prayer, meditation, and helping others (whether by prayer or personal service) is the way of life of the soul which seeks attunement with the Divine Will. For members of Ananda, and throughout the world and history, seeking the guidance of the saints is to seek the Divine Will as expressed by those in greater attunement with that Will. This is not to give our will to anyone else but to sharpen and refine our power to perceive the divine will. For many of us, Paramhansa Yogananda is our guru-preceptor. His meditation techniques and the precepts for how to live constitute our guide to life.
So whether you decide to “drop out” or fall back into line by taking a job, the solution lies in giving your life to God and guru. Daily meditation, prayer, yoga exercise and diet, helping others, and serving the work of God through the guru’s work on earth hold the key. If your life must be, for now, living under the burden of illness, then offer that to God with a calm and joyful heart, willing to accept that which is yours for your own spiritual awakening. Of course, you must continually seek and be open to medical help thus doing your part to improve your health.
Although difficult to state in writing, to some degree, you must consider that the source of your health challenges lies with your own self, in past actions and attitudes. For now, that is not worth thinking much about. It is better simply to accept what is for now and put out the energy to improve the situation as I have described above. But it can help your attitude if you take complete responsibility for your life’s circumstances, that is all I’m trying to suggest. What I have said here is, I know, a lot for you to accept, perhaps understand, and actually do. I understand that but as you have asked for our thoughts on the matter, I can only offer the wisdom my life and my teachers (Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda) have shown me.
Place your life joyfully in Divine Mother’s hands and say YES to LIFE.