Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Letter to a Beloved on Depression

Sweetie there is no trying. It is your IDEA that something is wrong with you or anyone else which causes the suffering. This isn't to say that it does not hurt or that it does not stink or that it is not achingly raw and excruciating, and it not to say that its in your head but that paradoxically the only balm that will "fix" us in the end is love that only we can give to ourselves. Nothing else will ever be enough because we are the ones who sacrificed that completeness, usually because it was all we could do to survive at that time. But please don’t hear those sentences and for a nanosecond go down the road of self blame. The "we" who sacrificed completeness, did so to survive at that time and it is probably less useful now though it causes much pain. The good part is that it need not be difficult to give ourselves that love. We literally just take it moment by moment. A favorite mantra of mine is "what problem do I have right now" not in five minutes, not tomorrow but literally right now. Not even one second from now but right now. Over and over again, it can bring clarity. Your brain may want to say but I feel awful or I can't pay this bill or my fiancĂ© didn't call or my best friend is too damn preachy, but look carefully. Are they truly problems right NOW. They may suck - true enough, they may really hurt, they may even be crippling but are they “problems” right now. Anyway, know that I love you and if I am being a pain just tell me. There will be no hard feelings or judgment. YOU know what is best for you.

It's not positive thinking or negative thinking that is the culprit. In a way, it is thinking at all. We believe that who we are is something we can think about but who we truly are is something that cannot be thought. Take a bowl for a moment.  We are like bowls. What is most useful is actually its space. Its functionality, its true meaning comes from a kind of absence. Our true selves are similar. Our true meaning comes from our absence. We are never what we "THINK" we are.  We project ourselves into the world , as good, bad, sick, healthy, smart, artsy, sad, goth, black, tall,depressed, lazy, struggling, dedicated, confident.  That image – that we often believe, is not who we are. Neither is the world. The world is full of more heartbreak than and joy than could ever be contained by a persons mind but again we are not our chemically balanced or imbalanced minds.

You will not think your way out of this, which is why I suspect the urge to strangle people who tell you to just think positively comes to the fore. As well meant as it might be, it demonstrates a keen lack of understanding of depression as well as insensitivity to how one feels.
By the same token I wonder if there is not some part of you that believes “you're just not trying hard enough” or that if you “just thought the right thoughts things would be ok”. They wont.  No thought will get you there. They won’t because at their heart things actually are ok. They are not ok because bad things don't happen. They do. It is not ok because the world isn't full of pain and suffering in heartbreaking magnitude. It is. It is ok because who you are IS the world and that heartbreak is yours, mine, ours everyone's to truly own and the real "space" of who we are is actually capable of holding it all - the pain the sorrow, the happy, the anger the guilt, the numbness. All of it. Who we really are can hold it all.

I am serious about this my beloved. Have you tried meditation? I am not saying this as some proselytizing zealot. You know me well enough.  I might meditate. I might not.  Like Walt Whitman Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Meditation is only a tool. It’s a tool that is useful to some people at some times. It is a way of creating some space between the mind which runs our lives and who we truly are underneath. It is a way of creating a space between our emotions which are derivative of our thoughts and who we truly are underneath. That "who we are truly are underneath" is so big it is far beyond positive and negative. It is not separate from that duality though.
People who believe that positive thinking is the solution will discover eventually that it doesn't work (or maybe they won't). We all feel pain.  It is the human condition.  In the meantime, be gentle with yourself and please do not beat yourself up over your reaction when you have been hurt.  I suspect many who ascribe to the positive thinking camp fail to recall the moments in their own lives when the opposite happens - which it inevitably will or does. Every thought, positive or negative is in some way not fully true.  How could it be?  Thought parses truth. Truth does exist though. However it is not something that can be spoken. It is something to be. And the most beautiful (though often paradoxically, hard part) is that one need not DO anything to be that truth.  We are so conditioned to do, so conditioned to think that we must earn our belonging, earn our existence, earn being loved.  We do not. They are ours for the recognition, simply for being.  Life wants nothing more than to express itself through you – all of you.

Spend time watching your own mind. It is an incredibly powerful way to connect to that which you truly are. In fact, that which watches the mind is not the mind. It is something bigger and grander though again not separate).
So if your next question is how do I "be" or how do I "be truth" I have a few thoughts - what if you were unapologetically you? What would that look like? You write a lot. It is an excellent way to process but in your case I suspect that part of why you write on facebook is because you want reactions because they then give you something to react to. You write on facebook for the same reason anyone does - in our hearts we want to be seen. In what spaces are you seen? Who does see you? Do you see yourself in your entirety? What if you created a blog?  What if you wrote with yourself as your main audience and others as an afterthought? It might not change what you wrote but would it change your relationship to the writing?
A second "thought"  and it is not my own but based in a number of spiritual practices is one I have already mentioned. Ask the question:what "problem" do I have right now? (not in five minutes or in a half hour but right Now. Problems only exist in time. They exist in a future in which we are worried about controlling the outcome.  That’s hard, because we can’t.  We can plan and prepare but we cannot control the outcome and when the future comes we will handle it then with the resources we have then. There cannot be a "problem" in the now. My third thought is to watch your own mind as much as you can (essentially that is what meditation is) Become interested in the fact that its saying all these different things all the time. (In that way,  your mind is no different than any other human’s on this planet. All of our minds think crazy thoughts).  Just listen to them for a few minutes even right now.  Some people are more honest about the fact their minds say these things. Everyone one of our minds is built to strive for security by scanning the environment. It is hardwired into us. It has served us well for many centuries. It is not bad, its just it’s not the only kind of intelligence that exists.  It serves a purpose.  Again it is not "bad" or negative" its just that there is a deeper consciousness, a deeper intelligence that beats ones heart, that breathes your lungs, that even thinks your thoughts into existence that knows what it is doing even when our minds don’t. You are closer than you think. When you say you feel like there is an alien species in your human skin you are more onto something you might be consciously aware of. I do not mean green skinned and big eyed extra terrestrials from the Andromeda galaxy but the fact that your brain probably tells you all kinds of crazy stuff, and you must think how can I think this or why does everyone else seems to think differently. They might. Who cares? Just because you think it or they think it does not make it less wrong or right. In a way it doesn't matter what they think or even what you think. YOU are not your thoughts. When you touch that you will have contacted the power of your own liberation and everyone else’s too.
When I say you will have contacted everyone else's liberation. I do not mean that others are consciously liberated necessarily. What is meant is that when consciousness finds freedom through any one of us it gives freedom to the world because in the end we are not separate.

Know that you are loved – in fact more so than could ever be articulated.

Your beloved

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