Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thoughts on this Sunday night

Well, folks, I'm back from my retreat. I feel like I've had a brain-cleaning. I sure needed to clear my mind, as anyone who's been reading this blog recently can attest to.

Some folks may bristle. Maybe I won't be cranky! Maybe I'll proselytize: "Get thee to a meditation retreat!" Well, I might proselytize a wee bit. Heck, I might proselytize a lot. Here's why:

Zen is not a religion. If I "proselytize", I'm not trying to get you to believe in anything. I'm not trying to get you to not believe in anything, either. Okay, I'm not trying to get you to do anything, for that matter.

It's just this - nothing, and how hard can I stress this? - NOTHING - has ever really helped with my depression. That is, nothing except Zen. Or perhaps I should be clearer about this, nothing except meditation. I won't pretend that I know enough about Zen Buddhism to tell you anything about it. Sure, I know something, but I am not a Zen teacher, not by a long shot. I meditate. That's all.

My experience has taught me that by engaging in long periods of meditation (and this was a short one, comparatively), I seem to be able to break the cycle of depression.

It's doesn't have to be "Zen". Jon Kabat-Zinn writes at length about meditation as a tool for easing physical and emotional pain. Meditation as medicine. It's powerful stuff, indeed. I just now discovered, when finding a link to his name, that there's a book that I wasn't aware of that he's co-authored called "The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness".

Today's post will be brief (for me). Just saying "hello" again. Even though I've only been away from this blog for barely a few days, it feels like it was a few months ago that I was sitting in this very seat, writing my bleak missives. The last two days have been beautiful. The sky has been intensely blue. The air feels crisp but it's not cold yet. I haven't noticed a beautiful day in quite a while. Saturday was spectacular, but I know that if it had occurred the Saturday before, I would not have noticed it at all.

Depression is like wearing a heavy shroud. It seems as if it would be easy to throw it off at any time, but it is not. It takes work. And for all I know, I may wake up tomorrow once again covered in that gray cloth. At least I've had a few beautiful days.

How was Saturday for you? What was the weather like, both inside and out?

Photo note: Here's an assignment (though I believe I gave my readers an assignment for while I was away and that didn't work out too well. . .) Go outside and look at something.


TMC said...

I saw the photo challenge last Wednesday but you know that gray shroud you talked about? I'm well acquainted.
I'll try taking my camera along tomorrow when I'm out and about to see what I can see. : )

Julie H. Rose said...

Whose photo challenge? Not mine! I only suggested looking.

But great - look and take photographs - I am honored if I had anything to do with it.

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Hey Julie,
Welcome back! It's great to hear you've meditated your way out of the grey shroud:))
I had an awesome Saturday. Went to a life drawing class, then to meat my friend's spiritual teacher who was in town giving a lecture. That guy is very happy and radiant individual, if anything that's a proof that his "method" works. So we had a lecture and a meditation, that really reminded me of things that are plain and obvious but still need to be practiced every day. Otherwise, the gray shroud starts to act like it's welcome here. Which it's NOT.

TMC said...

That's what I get for skimming!

Anyway, here's what I saw: