“Before I came to see you I was quite happy, but after listening to you, so much muck has been stirred up inside I feel depressed,” a listener moaned.

Awareness shines on the pleasant and the unpleasant alike,” the sage replied. “If you stop stirring it even more with your judgements, the muck will settle and the water will reflect your face again.”

(Francis J. Padinjarekara: A DEWDROP IN THE OCEAN – Wisdom Stories for Turbulent Times. Awareness Arc, 2008 pg. 42)

Many clients dealing with difficult issues in psychotherapy have said, “Before I came to see you, I was feeling much better. Now I’m suffering. Instead of taking away my pain, you’re only adding to it!” Our illusions are comforting, seeing things as they are can be very painful. It is no wonder that people do not give up their illusions without a flight. They would prefer to live in the illusions that have kept them secure rather than face the consequences of waking up to reality.

Suppose waking up means recognizing that the relationship that you had put everything into was only an infatuation that has played out and there is nothing more left in it. Suppose you wake up to realize that you have been playing victim all along. Now you can no longer plead helplessness, blame others and wait for help but you have to take responsibility for your life. Or you may realize that you are sad and lonely in spite of all the noises in your life that keep you amused or that you use distractions to keep loneliness at bay. You may notice that you have created a neat little mess in your life, relationship or finances, and it is clean up time and you have to do it yourself. All this calls for a change of outlook, a turn around, and at least in the beginning it may look like an unattractive option.

A client who was going through a difficult phase and making some headway had his sense of humour back when he said not long ago, “Reality is ruining my day!”