A severe period of depression

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A severe period of depression

Postby DeepFriedFunk » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:33 am

Normally I would not ask for prayers to be said for myself but I feel this is coming from a sincere wish cope with this so that I might help others. I have overcome alcoholism at 24 and everyday I fight it's causes. I say my thanks everyday for not being in the grips of a bottle - and I suppose what caused it was something deep inside me was incredibly unhappy with the world we live in, I keep looking for why I wanted to run away from everything and the conclusion I keep coming to is an inability to face what seems to me like impossible odds against a world that doesn't seem to want to fix itself.

I am unable to understand why there is so much evil, or deeply deluded and misguided people in the world today. I can't understand how profit and greed could ever come before humanity. I feel a lot of anger towards myself for being part of a system that makes men hate.

I understand on a conceptual level how unhelpful these feelings are towards both my recovery and the spiritual path I have dedicated myself to. I feel like I am going backwards at the moment. The past couple of months have been an uphill struggle of sleepless nights and feelings of despair and loosing hope that I can ever do anything to change the world we live in for the better. I realize that at the moment I am in no position to help other people - I have to work on myself before I can possibly have the insight to actually know how I could ever go about making a difference.

It feels like the world is falling apart alongside me. The homeland of my tradition (Tibet) lays in political and social ruin through it's occupation, for which the sole purpose seems to be natural resources, control of the sources of the main rivers in Asia and a direct attack on a beautiful and peaceful religion. The destruction of natural habitats is escalating daily and we are currently witnessing the largest mass-extinction since the dinosaurs were wiped out.

How do you keep faith in humanity in the face of such adversity? Because feeling sorry for myself is not helping in the slightest, it's self indulgent and incredibly unproductive. I know I'm giving myself a very hard time and I'm not quite sure why - I have to, and I will, pull myself out of this hole I've dug in the few months. It's affecting every area of my life, my meditation has gone downhill, my concentration and my memory are constantly preoccupied. The only comfort I find is in the company of my sangha, it is the only place I feel at home and feel comforted by the honest compassion that they show me and everybody else.
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:57 am

Sounds like you have a very big heart.

I know for me I tend to fall into this space a lot. I remind myself that the only way out is through my practice and faith in the dharma. I deepen my refuge and my commitment to liberating all sentient beings. I also meditate on the impermanence of my immediate reality. Doing this helps ripen my awareness to be able to be grateful for everything, including the awareness of the deep suffering which ultimately is transmuted into compassion.

But this is never easy. It's always a struggle. So for me death is a comfortable attachment. But it deepens my ability to love those around me, even those who in normal awareness I would have a lack of compassion for.

So hang in there, know you are not alone. Love as much as you can.

Blessings to you!
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Yudron » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:00 am

DeepFriedFunk wrote:Normally I would not ask for prayers to be said for myself but I feel this is coming from a sincere wish cope with this so that I might help others. I have overcome alcoholism at 24 and everyday I fight it's causes. I say my thanks everyday for not being in the grips of a bottle - and I suppose what caused it was something deep inside me was incredibly unhappy with the world we live in, I keep looking for why I wanted to run away from everything and the conclusion I keep coming to is an inability to face what seems to me like impossible odds against a world that doesn't seem to want to fix itself.

I am unable to understand why there is so much evil, or deeply deluded and misguided people in the world today. I can't understand how profit and greed could ever come before humanity. I feel a lot of anger towards myself for being part of a system that makes men hate.

I understand on a conceptual level how unhelpful these feelings are towards both my recovery and the spiritual path I have dedicated myself to. I feel like I am going backwards at the moment. The past couple of months have been an uphill struggle of sleepless nights and feelings of despair and loosing hope that I can ever do anything to change the world we live in for the better. I realize that at the moment I am in no position to help other people - I have to work on myself before I can possibly have the insight to actually know how I could ever go about making a difference.

It feels like the world is falling apart alongside me. The homeland of my tradition (Tibet) lays in political and social ruin through it's occupation, for which the sole purpose seems to be natural resources, control of the sources of the main rivers in Asia and a direct attack on a beautiful and peaceful religion. The destruction of natural habitats is escalating daily and we are currently witnessing the largest mass-extinction since the dinosaurs were wiped out.

How do you keep faith in humanity in the face of such adversity? Because feeling sorry for myself is not helping in the slightest, it's self indulgent and incredibly unproductive. I know I'm giving myself a very hard time and I'm not quite sure why - I have to, and I will, pull myself out of this hole I've dug in the few months. It's affecting every area of my life, my meditation has gone downhill, my concentration and my memory are constantly preoccupied. The only comfort I find is in the company of my sangha, it is the only place I feel at home and feel comforted by the honest compassion that they show me and everybody else.


I just said a big prayer for you. Every single concern you have, I have, too. That being said, I do agree with the other poster who recommended contemplating impermanence. In other words, don't turn away from your knowledge that this planet is declining, and it's habitability will end. Look at every piece of it, every atom... none of it will last... with or without the impact of humans. It's just a matter of timing... eventually this planet will not only be inhabitable, but it will be dust. As Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used to say "The situation is completely hopeless."

This contemplation on impermanence has been one of my main practices for neigh on 20 years, and -- counter intuitively -- has contributed to me changing from a depressed person into a fairly happy person. If nothing else, I have realistic expectations, so I am not in a constant state of disappointment that everything I try to build up or preserve, disintegrates anyway. I am perfectly emotionally healthy? No. I still overeat. But I am way way better.

P.S. The impermanence thing is also a good kick in the ass to practice.
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:14 am

Personally, speaking about myself and my experiences, when I first really started to understand the Truth of Suffering and Impermanence and make it a part of my life, I got really depressed. Then, all of a sudden, the depression went away, and I now I have a feeling of 'Well, whatever'. Like Shantideva says "If you can fix the problem what good is worrying about it and if you can't fix the problem what good is worrying about it". So stick with it. Your depression may be a sign of progress.

Also, love meditation greatly improves the mood. Tonglen for your future suffering is also good for depression.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:45 pm

DeepFriedFunk wrote: I realize that at the moment I am in no position to help other people - I have to work on myself before I can possibly have the insight to actually know how I could ever go about making a difference.


Absolutely not true.
It is not a realization.
You don't have to be a super hero. You don't have to fix the whole planet.
There is a lot you can do to help.
Even the tiniest thing makes a difference.

But, I can sympathize with you. What has happened in Tibet.
The whole Earth is our homeland and things are in very bad shape.

You know like that saying, the "serenity prayer"
there are things you can change and things you can't,
know the difference, and be okay with that.

What people don't realize is that this kind of worrying
is actually a very strong type of self-indulging.
it's actually a kind of ego trip, ego clinging,
even though it appears at first to be just the opposite.
I think you know this.

This doesn't mean that you should have low expectations of yourself.
On the contrary, it means discovering that you actually have so much to offer
that even the tiniest amount will really matter.
That's a real super hero. The one who offers, who gives
without waiting for a "thank you".
without expecting any satisfaction.
But you have to go out and do it.
The thing is, start with something small, and work your way up.
Just do little things.
Perhaps, make it like Ngondro,
and vow to do 100,000 little things to help the world.
That ought to make a difference!!!

I think it was Chogyam Trungpa who made the point,
more or less,
that considering how screwed up the human race seems to be
we are doing remarkably well.
Stop focusing on the negative.
A lot of people are changing things for the better every day.
So, join in and be patient.

Something that always inspired me was that
Mahatma Gandhi used to sit at a spinning wheel
and spin thread for 1 hour every day.
It seemed like a pointless activity, not helping anyone.
But then he said, "if everyone in India spun thread for just 1 hour a day,
India would have no shortage of clothing!"
(This was during a time when the textile market was controlled by British importers,
and many people couldn't afford to buy clothing). So, even a tiny action can change the world
if enough people do it.

Dharma teaches how to be happy without depending on happiness,
and how to be sad without dwelling in sadness.
But if you can't stop dwelling in it,
you might have clinical depression.
maybe talk to your doctor.
.
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.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby BuddhaSoup » Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:49 pm

Deep Fried Funk:

The bigger the heart you have, the stronger a receptor you are to the world's negativity. Having a big heart, and intellect (as you clearly have) and good intentions is the path in front of you to be the healer that you wish to be. Depression can be like a thief that climbs in your window, and sets up camp for a while, refusing to leave. Just like a thief, depression steals from you insight and wisdom, and the ability to see solutions vs. problems. As this video points out http://youtu.be/fixvb3s25Uk , depression can be seeing only the "two bad bricks in the wall."

Share your heart and wisdom with your sangha. Try to find ways to encourage the thief to leave you alone, and move on to another locale. You are not depressed; depression has simply found an open door and occupied some space in your heart. If you want the thief to leave, make the effort to connect with your sangha. Talk to a CBT therapist. Perhaps your teacher/sensei can advise on meditation practices that will help you detach fr0m the thief.
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby DeepFriedFunk » Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:07 pm

Thank you for all of your kind words. I think actually getting it off my chest has helped a lot - knowing this is only temporary is a comforting feeling even though it's been a long time, it's easy to loose faith. I'll always have the thought that I do actually care where a lot of others don't.

It's all good practice, I know the only way to move forwards is through meditation and spiritual practice and eventually like everything else it will make me a better person.

Thanks again!
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Simon E. » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:44 pm

" There is a crack in everything
Its how the light gets in "

Leonard Cohen.. ' Anthem '.


:namaste:
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby alpha » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:51 am

DeepFriedFunk wrote:Normally I would not ask for prayers to be said for myself but I feel this is coming from a sincere wish cope with this so that I might help others. I have overcome alcoholism at 24 and everyday I fight it's causes. I say my thanks everyday for not being in the grips of a bottle - and I suppose what caused it was something deep inside me was incredibly unhappy with the world we live in, I keep looking for why I wanted to run away from everything and the conclusion I keep coming to is an inability to face what seems to me like impossible odds against a world that doesn't seem to want to fix itself.

I am unable to understand why there is so much evil, or deeply deluded and misguided people in the world today. I can't understand how profit and greed could ever come before humanity. I feel a lot of anger towards myself for being part of a system that makes men hate.

I understand on a conceptual level how unhelpful these feelings are towards both my recovery and the spiritual path I have dedicated myself to. I feel like I am going backwards at the moment. The past couple of months have been an uphill struggle of sleepless nights and feelings of despair and loosing hope that I can ever do anything to change the world we live in for the better. I realize that at the moment I am in no position to help other people - I have to work on myself before I can possibly have the insight to actually know how I could ever go about making a difference.

It feels like the world is falling apart alongside me. The homeland of my tradition (Tibet) lays in political and social ruin through it's occupation, for which the sole purpose seems to be natural resources, control of the sources of the main rivers in Asia and a direct attack on a beautiful and peaceful religion. The destruction of natural habitats is escalating daily and we are currently witnessing the largest mass-extinction since the dinosaurs were wiped out.

How do you keep faith in humanity in the face of such adversity? Because feeling sorry for myself is not helping in the slightest, it's self indulgent and incredibly unproductive. I know I'm giving myself a very hard time and I'm not quite sure why - I have to, and I will, pull myself out of this hole I've dug in the few months. It's affecting every area of my life, my meditation has gone downhill, my concentration and my memory are constantly preoccupied. The only comfort I find is in the company of my sangha, it is the only place I feel at home and feel comforted by the honest compassion that they show me and everybody else.


For me the world happens with every step i take.
Witch means, the world "is" every step i take and none of the above.
I dont know what you're talking about.

I cant possibly help you with my prayers because i have never met you.
My teacher says that praying for someone who you've never met has very little effect because in order to have an effect on that person you need to have shared in their energy(tsal) or at least to have an item of their clothing sent to you to be in your presence when you do that prayer for them.
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Simon E. » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:46 pm

That's utter bollocks.

:namaste:
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Stewart » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:55 pm

Simon E. wrote:That's utter bollocks.

:namaste:


Don't sugar coat it Simon! :tongue:

I think Alpha is talking about ChNN as his teacher btw. :popcorn:
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Simon E. » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:30 pm

My reply stands.
The idea that we can only pray for someone we know personally or have had contact with a bit of their property is daft. And remarkably uncompassionate.
We are not sniffer dogs being given a scent.
I am minded to offer prayers for Nelson Mandela who is very ill.
I have never met him , and I am not going to wait until someone sends me one of his neck ties.
The same goes for DeepFriedFunk.
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Punya » Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:06 pm

DeepFriedFunk wrote: It feels like the world is falling apart alongside me. The homeland of my tradition (Tibet) lays in political and social ruin through it's occupation, for which the sole purpose seems to be natural resources, control of the sources of the main rivers in Asia and a direct attack on a beautiful and peaceful religion. The destruction of natural habitats is escalating daily and we are currently witnessing the largest mass-extinction since the dinosaurs were wiped out.


Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche says in his latest book "The only view that truly works for a dharma practitioner is that there are no solutions to the sufferings of samsara and it cannot be fixed."

He is talking about how many people come to buddhism with the thought that they will fix the problems in their life but I think it can it can also be applied to the problems of the world. I don't think he's saying don't try to help people or support causes if you have the opportunity but know that ultimately it's not going to work.

That might seem depressing but I find it oddly liberating and very much in line with what Shantideva said as quoted above.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Simon E. » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:01 pm

So pray that the person realises that there is a solution..but that it does not lie in attempting to fix samsara.
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby gordtheseeker » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:13 pm

Sorry to hear you are struggling so much DeepFriedJunk. That is a tough struggle. I am also happy to hear you have overcome your alcoholism. I pray for you in your fight against it.

It is always good to keep in mind that this world is a delusion. It is broken. It is a prison for our minds. When we expect things to go well in this world and evil not to run rampant, then we are going to always be disappointed. When we trust in Dharma and practice Buddhism, we do our own little part to liberate ourselves from this prison, this delusion, as well as helping to liberate others. Don't let attachment to this world get you down. Keep going on in your practice and free yourself from it and go forward with compassion for others. You can effect so many in a positive way with your practice, and those effects will ripple through the aeons.

I will continue to pray for you. :sage:
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:48 am

Well I don't know what to say, but i'll try...if any of this comes off as obnoxious i'm sorry.

I've been in the same place.

Sounds terrible, but what always helps me is the same as what the others have said...to remind myself that this is how samsara is "supposed" to be, there is nothing wrong because this is how things look when people operate mostly with the three poisons driving things. It ain't pretty, the best you can do is keep practicing and do your best to bail some of the dirty water out for other people..that's really it. If you look at the world expecting it to be a certain way, it will always look awful...the good ol' ocean o' suffering. Anyway, no matter what happens..100 years from now beings will have a whole new set of problems.

Anyway I really wish you a speedy voyage out of the place you're in, and whatever form it takes if you are truly feeling depressed, don't ignore it, transform it, attack it, whatever fits for you...just make sure you don't just push it away. I'll include you in my practice as well.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: A severe period of depression

Postby Spirituality » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:08 am

Personally I found that focusing on the negative - aka suffering - can help only to an extent. Sure it's the basis of the path, but to go beyond it, something positive may be a big help.

In my case the Buddha Shyakyamuni 'nectar rain' meditation has helped me find a more positive aspect of myself. It's available in Kathleen McDonald's book on meditation. The form there is very long and wordy - good for a first attempt, but for me Thubten Chodron's meditations and descriptions (mainly shorter) were better. See my review here: http://www.greatspiritualbooks.com/2012 ... -buddhism/
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