Something Has Changed

I’ve written before about dealing with Depression and finally admitting to myself that I needed help. It took a while after all of that for something to actually make me want to get help. I realized that I didn’t want to feel like this anymore and because of the meds I had a glimpse into what could be.

Talk therapy in conjunction with medication has really done wonders for me. I started seeing a therapist at the end of February and was doing 2 sessions a week because I was motivated to find a balance in life and I knew that if I didn’t find that balance that I wouldn’t be able to keep going for much longer. Things had gotten that bad for me. I was reading an old post of mine and I described the way I felt at the time as a pit surrounded by 4 walls and ahead of me was a dark tunnel that I couldn’t see the end of no matter how long I walked. I’m starting to see the light at the end of that tunnel.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m magically cured or have a sunny outlook on things all the time. What it means is that while the negative thoughts are still there I now know how to deal with them, by using one of the tenants of Buddhism called mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and not worrying about things coming in the future. The best example I can give is one by Thich Nhat Hanh:

“While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly: why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing these bowls is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.”

It really does seem stupidly easy, doesn’t it? Try it. Try focusing on a single task that you’re doing. Focus on it but at the same time realize when your mind starts to wander to something else. Acknowledge that new thought and then re-focus on the task at hand. For me, this is a very difficult task because I’m so used to rushing through what I have to do to get to something that I enjoy doing. I was living my life kind of like Adam Sandler in the movie “Click”. Fast fowarding through all the mundane to get to the good. But when I didn’t have anything good to look forward to the depression took over.

Using mindfulness I now focus on what I’m doing at that moment and my mind does drift but I’m able to catch that wander, acknowledge it with no judgement (I tend to beat myself up quite a bit if I fail at something or don’t live up to my own expectations) using this method of non-judgemental acknowledgement I simply smile at the wandering thought and move back to the task at hand.

For those of you that know me you maybe thinking I’ve lost my mind. Maybe I have, or maybe I’ve become who I’m supposed to be.  I’ll write more on Buddhism later but I’ll wrap this up with another quote:

“Don’t try to use what you learn from Buddhism to become a Buddhist; use it to become a better person.” – The Dali Lama

4 thoughts on “Something Has Changed”

  1. I tend to see these teachings somewhat analogous to Jesus’ teachings at

    Matthew 6:25-34

    “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    Didn’t mean to get preachy, just felt compelled to share 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Anderson.. Given the nature of Buddhism and how long it’s been around before other major religions it’s really easy to see how it tenants of it could be incorporated..

  2. Hey Jake,

    You might be interesting in reading up on “Kyudo,” basically, Japanese Zen Archery. While I don’t necessarily suggest running out and buying a bow and some fancy pants, I’m sure the basic ideas and rituals of the art could be applied to, say, precision target shooting with rifles or handguns. It really fulfills the ideas you’re focusing on here.

    I probably could use some mindfulness, myself…I’m pretty much the embodiment of yang to mindfulnesseses yin…ah, ADD.

    On a barely related tangent, I have met a handful of people who have described themselves as Buddhist Christians, so the two are pretty well compatible, particularly as Buddhism is an ideal, rather than a faith.

    1. I’ll definitely check into the Zen Archery, since I got rid of cable I’m looking for some new hobbies. Funny you should mention the Buddhist Christians..I just started reading . So far it’s been a pretty good read.

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