Friday, March 17, 2006

The Only Thing Helping

It's been a bad week. The only thing helping at the moment is my daily meditation. It's the one small piece of discipline in my life. Every morning, straight after Miss L leaves, I head down to the outside room and sit cross-legged for 20 minutes of being mindfull.

Not only the fact of "keeping the appointment" is an act of discipline, but the activity itself is a concentrated effort of disciplining the mind. Keeping it from straying.

And it's starting to spill over into the rest of my life now. De-linking from your fears of the future and regrets of the past and just living in the the moment, the unchanging NOW. Enjoying the simple things. Feeling the water on your skin when you wash the dishes. Being aware of the subtle vibration of the steering wheel when you drive the car.

Buddhists say that rigorous daily meditation is neccessary to "de-program" the mind from it's bad habits. That once the mind is pure you will be able to see "things as they really are". That reality will reflect truthfully into the pure, polished surface of the mind.

I don't consider myself buddhist (although I admire their philosophy). But perhaps the depression that I've been groping through this last week is a direct result of - for the first time in a long while - seeing things "as they actually are". Seeing that my business is not going to bring in sufficient income. Seeing that my debt is out of all proportion. Seeing that my physical health needs a big shake-up. Seeing that things at the moment are generally not working out.

And if a week or two of depression is neccessary to process and digest the real truth, then I guess that it's a small price to pay. It just hurts like hell while you're going through it. Like the dentist I suppose - take an hour's pain now and avoid a month's pain further down the line. If I could only keep sight of this during the really bad moments...


  1. And if a week or two of depression is neccessary to process and digest the real truth, then I guess that it's a small price to pay.

    Perhaps in this respect, depression could be likened to a self-corrective measure -- I agree that it hurts though which is part of the reason tonglen remains my favorite meditation practice.

    In my own experience, and not that I'm near as good at it as I'd like to be, I've found that success tends to breed success. If I start taking control in one area it can spill over into others. Often, the depression is related to sheer avoidance of facing up to something I'd rather not face up to when I know I should just face up to it.

    Meanwhile, in light of your post several days ago as related to meds, I thought you might enjoy this blogger's entry:

    The FDA and psychotropic drugs: How long is long enough?

  2. I meditate daily too, and find it very good.

    If you like Buddism, you will LOVE Taoism... the Taoists don't discourage you from practising any other religion or philosophy in tandem. Look for books by Allen Watts.

    Keep the faith, dude.


  3. Wow, I'm impressed.

    I've always wanted to be able to meditate but I can never get in the habit of sitting still for that long without having my thoughts race or just going into some negative mental space.

  4. Hi my name is Ned, I'm the author of a book called It's Kind of a Funny Story about depression.

    I suffer from the down side of things, not so much the up (although I do get "up" sometimes). I just wanted to thank you for writing bravely about this stuff. I'd like to link you from my own page at if you don't mind. thank you.

  5. Also...

    I recently started a blog at

    It's a compendium of life situations that are unquestionably worse that your own.

    I used one of your "Got a Gun?" posts for it just now and linked to you.

  6. I want to give you one thing now (((a warm and firm hug)))

  7. The Buddhists are right: you have to watch what goes in your mind and correct it, as you do in cognitive therapy.

    It sounds like you are in a tough place. God, how those depressions reek as they ache! You're going to get through it, you're going to live because you're a survivor. You honed skills all your life to get through the hard parts and now you have new skills to get through them more smoothly. Remember that the meds put down the floor which allows you to meditate and do other things for your mind/body. Don't give up: do it all and you'll pull through faster.

    Note to Ned: Do you really think that telling someone that there are people who are worse off than they are HELPS? Shame on you. What you do for yourself you should never presume to do for others. I know whenever someone did what you did when I was down, it made me feel worse because I felt guilt for being a whiner.

    Coming face to face with our disease and acknowledging that we hurt is the first step towards recovery.

    Back to BPG: Don't give up. You've got my email or at least my web page if you need something to vent with. I listen.

  8. Such diligence to keep up the daily meditation, even when you are down! I know this is when it should help the most. I meet the most resistence when I need it the most.

  9. You're on to something here. Whenever I needed to think something through, I'd take my Ambien becuase I knew I could crash with it if I wanted to.


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