On Beyond Depression 2
The following are some tips I wrote down for a friend – it's a more practice-oriented writing that the earlier On Beyond Depression from a couple years ago. I am posting this as a public service, to help those struggling with moods, stress (fear, anger, agitation, anxiety, heaviness), and similar states. They are based in experience, and of becoming free of them.
(Disclaimer: this isn't a replacement for seeking professional help regarding serious or life-threatening psychological distress, or for or for a doctor's medical advice, such as for physical conditions or system imbalances).
Instructions: Please read the sentences below slowly, take them in. Don’t rush through. Breathe deeply and slowly, feeling the sensations of body and the sensations of breathing.
Do not try and change anything, stop anything, control anything, such as thoughts. Do not try and manipulate your experience in any way.
Don’t worry if it doesn't seem to be “working" right away. Be patient and gentle with yourself. Be loving, as if with a pet you care deeply about.
What is your direct experience at this moment?
Take a deep breath, go slowly...
Can you stop, and actually see the feelings for what they are: sensations in the body, and thoughts, with some external perceptions thrown in... even if it's a storm of thoughts? Just look. Honestly, bravely. It won't hurt you. It won't kill you. They are just sensations. Take an interest.
Simply notice. Can you feel, see a sense of resistance, a not-accepting of what is? Just look, without judging. Observe as if you were a cat at a mouse hole, alert, or like a curious observer of a strange, funny new animal.
See a mood as like the weather, along with thoughts and feelings. Another apparently separate object passing in the sky. Nice, but not that important, really...
See how a mood feels familiar, comfortable, like an old blanket: maybe a little comforting in a sense, and it's yours, so you like it – even if it's scratchy and annoying!
Consider lessening your interest in these familiar yet strange, funny states. Are they really that interesting or enjoyable? Are they really that secure? Are they an advantage? Useful? Really?
See how holding to this state is not conducive to clarity of mind: it's like seeing life through a filter, a foggy lens, or a smokey keyhole of self-indulgence.
Notice how it feels repetitive – the "I've been here before" sense. That's a clue that it's fake: just machinery, tendencies.
See the pattern of feeling sorry for oneself, and self-involvement, like a tight dark band around the head, going round and round.
It can be loosened up; you can relax. You can relax – nothing bad will happen. I guarantee. It's all mind stuff.
One starts to see that thoughts and feelings are simply not "front page news"... Just another day in the movie.
This passing and pointless state is not something to add more thinking and feeling to! No more layers needed on this cake!
Dark enough as it is. Leave it as is, don't think about it, worry it. Time to drain the swamp...
Inwardly, frustration is not from some condition out there, as strong as the illusion may seem. In fact, in reality, it's from wanting, desire, and simply not getting what you want, or thought you wanted or needed. Face that. The world of experience is just exactly as it is, unexpected, surprising, amazing ... and nothing to do with a "you" or "me".
Consider the real possibility it's all based in the fantasy of a separate, an imagined real self, a “me” at the center…
… And therefore a world affecting "me". One step away from Victimhood, an ego trip if there was one!
Notice any tendencies or subtle thought-feelings of:
as if you are special, different from everyone else's perceived (ultimately fake) problems and self.
And really, there's nothing new here... same "problems" and same pseudo “solutions" one imagines as bringing happiness, relief… if only I had X, were X…
Is it possible that Real Life is actually fresh and new? And not a threat? Trustworthy? Safe? Friendly, once seen As It Is?
Maybe even Loving? Beautiful? Extraordinary in the ordinary? Can you even be simply open to the possibility.
The Old Party Invitation: Thoughts and feelings in collusion making it seem real… the little imaginary special separate self seeming real – thoughts telling a story, confirming feelings, feelings growing from thought... around we go in a loop, a strange loop: what a blast! A party of me me me...!
No one cares about your problems, so why do you?
– Rob Tol, Ninja Zen Master
Is there a fear? And if you look, isn't it based on what is imagined, an image or thought of a future. You were convinced this image or thought was based on a real thing. But, have you ever been to the past or the future? It may be hard to accept at first, but in reality, this past and future are only a model, an image in your mind. Look into it...
Feel the resistance to this, what is being said.
That's a clue.
It's the sense of separation, specialness, importance, holding on for dear life.
(Wrapped up in) a cloud of knowing – yet what you are is completely unknowable.
Explanation (you can skip this if you want!): Practice by seeing ... since you are That which is aware of the pattern, the tendency, if one can fully and totally see this dynamic in the mind, the whole pattern, from one's wholeness, one's globality, the clouds will naturally dissipate. This True Seeing will help place a distance, such that you can release and identify with what's really Real: the Awareness aware of it all.
The basic idea is that, to see an inner phenomena, to truly see it totally (and I was quite familiar with it!) – without trying to get rid of it or change it – without being in it so to speak, is to no longer identify with the phenomena, the state; to place a wedge as it were, between what seems to be happening, and one's real, true Self: the gift of awareness.
There is (then) potentially a re-identification with what is actually natural and true, the base awareness (consciousness) behind it all that emerges from the clouds, rather than sticking in the contents thereof. In glimpsing that which is aware of the state, aware of the dynamic witnessed — whatever it is, such as what we label as "depression" or "hopelessness", "anxiety", "stress" — one unglues, becomes free, as what one is, truly and always. Words like "depression" are just names, labels – names that seem to add realness to the mirage, the temporary cloud bank. At the center of the storm is always a false "me"...
So this is, yes, definitely a "meditation"... and an opportunity.