I’m not an overly spiritual person, but there is something that interested me in buddhism with the story of a demon called Mara. Mara was the demon of self-doubt and appears in the story of the prince Siddhartha Gautama, on his journey to enlightenment (and becoming the Buddha). Ultimately, Mara tests him in battle, which is as much a physical battle as it is Siddhartha’s battle for liberating and disciplining his mind. Siddhartha prevails and becomes enlightened. However even after the battle, Mara still shows up from time to time in the now-Buddha’s life. And when he does, the Buddha simply says “I see you, Mara”.
The Buddha has effectively recognised his enemy and as a result, that enemy loses his power.
Anxiety and depression are illnesses that any sufferer will do anything to avoid. We try to ignore them, distract ourselves from them or anaesthetise ourselves enough so we don’t feel anything. But just like the story of Mara, sometimes it is better to be consciously aware of the demons we face. And to face them, without self-judgement or blame.
This is called being ‘Mindful’. About living in the now.
And yes, it’s not that simple for many people who are facing these kinds of illnesses.
But if we can start to say “I see you” to our anxiety or depression, it does lose some of its power, because we no longer are letting it control us. We are facing up to it.