Overwhelming sadness

Have you ever felt consumed by a state of overwhelming sadness and despair? I can only guess that you have.
I have some reservations about discussing this today for two reasons. One, I do not want to make you sad by reading this, and two, I want to be mindful that I am not just singing the blues here.
So as I write this, I question the benefit that this may offer to others.
Hopefully, as I type the words, some epiphany will illuminate itself so there may be a benefit to you.
First of all, I am examining my mind to try and see clearly the root of this sadness that weighs on me like a brick on my chest. And as I examine my mind, I see that self is once again the culprit of my despair. I want to change so many circumstances right now, and am feeling hopeless in changing any of them right now. But notice how this last sentence started with the word “I”. In addition to the self issue, I also have desire and wish to control these circumstances.
So if I let go of the self, and let go of desire, where does that leave me? How do I act or behave?
I’m really not sure, because I have not traveled far enough along this path to have wisdom for this. I am still fully caught up in illusion and samsara. And because it is about me, even this awareness causes me suffering. This is upadana, the grasping for freedom from suffering.

Today I read a Blog post by a dead man. Derek Miller seemed to be a good student of the dhamma. He wrote his last post just before he died, and asked his Family to publish it after he was gone.
In the end, he was not sorry about his death or leaving this existence, but he was sad that he would not be here to help his children.
Of course, my thoughts once again turned to the self. Am I ready to accept the impermanence of life? Am I ready to let go of my loved ones, and the reality that I will not be there for them?
I certainly am not my dear friends.
I have so much more to learn, so much more wisdom to be gained. Yet I also know that grasping for it is like sweeping a dusty garage with the doors closed.
I have no guarantee of time left in this World, so I must be awake now. Yet grasping for wisdom only moves the dust around, and I see no more clearly than before.
I can only see one solution for this moment, and that is one of acceptance.
If I have sadness now, I need to be sad. It’s OK to be sad. Letting go of this, allows the next moment to arise. The door is open, the dust may blow out, and perhaps I will see a bit more clearly.
And if I do not, I need to accept that as well.

So I’m not sure if this was any benefit to you, but my sincere wish is that it was.
For me, I worked through it, and can see that kindness and acceptance will put a little wind beneath my wings.
Thank you for being with me, and as always…
May you be well, happy and peaceful.

9 comments for “Overwhelming sadness

  1. ParkRidgeDDS
    Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    First, let me say that this post was excellent and did not make me sad…it made me do a great deal of thinking. I do have times that I am overwhelmingly sad and uncertain. Over the years, my ways of handling it have altered a bit but, the end feeling that I have always carried with me was a sort of “this too shall pass” . Not too long ago I posted a feeling of sadness on Facebook and loving friends responded with kindness and compassion but, your response made the biggest impact on me because (and I don’t remember verbatim what you wrote) it introduced me to the term impermanence. Impermanence has become a household word here. It is a word that helps me to keep things in perspective. And, while I still have not come to terms with the seemingly “permanence” of death (which brings much sadness to me when thinking about it) I really DO understand and embrace the concept of impermanence in my daily life and daily emotions and daily thoughts. Impermanence explains the “this too shall pass” concept. It really helps me to not hang onto negative emotions….understanding the impermanence of positive feelings is a little bit harder to embrace but, intellectually, I completely understand it. I love the “if I have sadness now, I need to be sad…it’s okay to be sad” statement. That really hit home for me…it’s okay to have the feelings that we experience in the present. It is okay to be with them for awhile…as long as it takes…..because, those feelings will leave and be replaced by new feelings and new experiences. It is what makes life so incredibly beautiful. Thank you David, for a most wonderful post.

  2. LIa
    Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    this article is so depressing

  3. Carolyn
    Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Thank you — typed in “overwhelming sadness” and you popped up. This was helpful, and by checking out some of your other blogs, I feel better. Sometimes life is tough, and it’s okay to feel sad. It is impermanent after all.

    • Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 7:12 am

      So glad you found me Carolyn, and you are exactly right about it being impermanent.

    • anon
      Monday, May 27, 2013 at 3:28 am


  4. anon
    Monday, May 27, 2013 at 3:27 am

    great…I needed this :) Thank you.

  5. Segafer
    Monday, November 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm


    Acceptance is worse than everything else. Acceptance is here masochism, or in the best case a simulated schizophrenia.
    You ask us to draw some happiness, or some satisfaction, out of our suffering. Happiness that it is a normal situation. Satisfaction that it will end soon.
    But it isn’t, and doesn’t.
    All you do is deceiving yourself.
    Blindfolding yourself…

    Mainwhile, in you inner core, the pain is holding, tough.

  6. Deborah Dills
    Sunday, January 8, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    While growing up I didn’t experience sadness much, Even battling it out with my mom, (who I recently found out she was my adoptive mother), I always managed to find inner strength and friends around me to cope or get away.
    But after my husband of 36 years walked out of our marriage 3 years ago, I have not only been unhappy (not because he left me at all– glad he is gone!) but realized I gave up so much of myself and friends because of him. He dragged me and our sons all over the country- east coast to west and back again and again, constantly saying goodbye and never finding roots anywhere due to his military and corporate careers and because he was a loner individual who didn’t have friends around him nor wanted any.

    Now, it’s been 3 years later, and I wake up every morning in tears. wishing I was Rip Van Winkle who could just sleep for 20 years and wake up to another realm. In fact finding out at age 57 years old that I had been adopted, born overseas to a French Jew, with another birth name entirely, not only caused be great pain, but feeling like I am living in a Twilight Zone of sorts, not knowing who I am or where to go next. My finding a living first cousin in CA who told me my birth mother told the family she did give birth to a baby girl in 1957 in Germany, but… that baby. (me) died of a disease still rocks my world and makes me angry and sad.
    Just last year, twice, within a 30 day period apart from each other, my left eye retina detached without warning or any trauma to it, leaving me legally blind in this eye has sent me over the edge and wanting to die and cross over to the :”other side”, I cannot find any happiness in my new life without crying every day for 3 years. My youngest son, age 25 lives with me, is bi-polar, has no friends either and doesn’t make friends easily, has no job skills and is on SSI too. His sadness along with mine makes us feel loss of any future on this earth.,

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    Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at 7:14 pm

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