Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I wrote earlier that I have been having trouble with being depressed. I have always had trouble with depression, but I have never took medication for it because it is not clinical depression. I can usually write myself out of it. Sometimes, I can even walk myself out of it. This time, it was particularly bad as I felt it very deeply. It felt like a big iron door was crushing down on me, smashing the breath out of my lungs, pressing the life out of my heart and flooding my being with the same dank, black foul river that flowed in me when I was a young teenager.

It was particularly bad yesterday and then I drank what I thought was orange juice not checking the ingredients and discovered it was not pure but doctored. It was Tropicana, a brand that I had trusted before. I got so sick. I ended up eating waffles which seemed to stop some of the really bad symptoms. I had not counted on eating waffles. That seemed to make me feel even worse.

I kept writing in my journal and remembered some of the things that ran in my mind. I felt angry over things that happened long ago. I felt helpless over the things that were happening now. I felt lost in a bauble of time in my past. I was back in time, over 40 years ago, reliving things that happened so long ago that the participants were surely dead or close to it. I felt a measure of relief as I often do when I write in my journal.

I took out the book, "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path" (Bantam: 2000) by Jack Kornfield(I really recommend this author) and then I remembered. Every time, I had a problem no matter what it was whether it was over-eating, depression, heart break, whatever the answer was always the same. I needed to get in the moment. I needed to be mindful. I have no idea why I forget this. Maybe my ego thinks it has the answers and tries to find new and better answers which of course it never does.

This morning I woke up feeling much better. I took out the Kornfield book again where I had left off. I knew for sure it was my ego that thought it knew better. In the book, there is a lama that comes back from India and Tibet with all those wonderful experiences and then falls back into his old habits and feels awful about it. Kornfield writes: "The ability to make wise transitions is the ability to keep a beginner's mind." As in everything, change is not the enemy. I need to ask the heart to be present and trust it at deeper and deeper levels. I remember recently seeing some steps at a park and I had a feeling I was in for a transition and I thought this was going to be a snap. Hah!

According to Kornfield, the integration of spiritual experience is a process of many years. I just started my quest here and this is really only a continuation of other earlier experiences that have been going on for years and years before.

It is also a matter of letting go. I was in the past because I have not let go. I need to grieve and even get angry and then let go. I need to feel those baubles of emotion and then let them float away. I don't seem to want to do that.

Kornfield writes:

"The well we fall into can be created by clinging to our experience and our spiritual ideals or by holding inflated ideas about our teachers, our paths. The well can be the unfinished business of our psychological and emotional life-an unwillingness to acknowledge our own shadow, to include the human needs, the pain, and the darkness that we carry, to see that we always have, one foot in the dark. As bright as it is, the universe also needs us to open to its other side." page 128

I am listening to Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 in E Minor Op. 27 which to me is a combination of light and shadow. I have a tendency to avoid the shadow which, of course, many people do. I am also unwilling to acknowledge my own shadows, my own pain and it is important to express the shadow. Rachmaninoff does this in his music which is why his music is so intense and great. The creative impulse is very important to me. I can feel and hear it in Rachmaninoff. I think it is important to have it in our lives and in our arts and music as well. We are lopsided or unbalanced when we don't.

I don't want to be as depressed as I have been the last few days, but I know it is necessary. The last regular job that I had was an awful one. I lost something during that experience. I was able to leave under good circumstances, but I think I never expressed my anger at some of the people who worked there. That does not mean I will go there and tell them off. No, I will not do that. I just have to find a way to feel my rage and let it go. The same as I will have to feel my anger and grief at a very dysfunctional childhood and then let it go. That is the healthy thing to do, so I can live in the moment and be mindful.

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