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.