Greetings from Sunny Vermont :)

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Greetings from Sunny Vermont :)

Postby sweetadeline » Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:17 pm

Hi all,

I'm so grateful to have found this site. I live in Vermont and am a bit of a newcomer to the Buddhist philosophy, so I welcome the prospect of learning so much from all of you (and in the process, from myself, as well). I'm a science educator up here at a local high school, and like many Westerners on this forum, first became exposed to the dhamma in an academic setting (college) and later through the writings of some of the Shambhala teachers (Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and Pema Chodron, in particular). I also occasionally frequent our local Shambhala meditation center on Sundays, but remain eager to learn more about all forms of Buddhism and the rich history of all traditions. So again, finding Dharma Wheel is a real treat!

At the risk of "TMI" way too soon, I'd nonetheless be remiss if I didn't come clean right off the bat and say that I'm writing to all of you from a very strange point in my life. Every 3-4 years, as if on a timer, I experience debilitating recurrences of horrifying depression. I've been off and on medications since my senior year in high school (I'm 28 years old now), and have, regrettably, been on practically everything except lithium to "fight" it off. These cycles aren't the trendy, romanticized, soap opera versions of depression you see on TV. They are VERY real, energy sapping, horribly introspective nightmares. I've come to know them well, and I've learned to see them coming from a mile away. The recent months have shown me that I'm likely on the cusp of another such lapse, so I'll be completely honest here and say that I'm hoping that being a part of a new community will also help keep me ballasted in trying times when they emerge.

As hard as I used to fight, I know now that these occurrences are all part of a bigger cyclical picture, and that they will happen again, will leave after a prolonged period, and sure enough will return again years down the road. I'm not a person to define myself by an illness (or really anything, I guess), but it is something to know about me, and clearly something that has had a profound effect on my life. Recent years of meditating and talking with others have helped prepare me for the future, and suffering has taught me the value of softening my heart and relationships with others as a result of experiencing crippling sadness and anxiety. Ironically, depression seems to be closely related to mindfulness - except that instead of letting things go and experiencing reality as it occurs, what you are continually self-monitoring is how horrible you feel, and what you end up concentrating on is self-absorption and horrifying bleakness.

I recently read a beautiful chapter by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche that has given me hope, however, entitled "The Genuine Heart of Sadness". Kind of blew me away, honestly. Put a lot of things into perspective for me, and has given me a bit more to think about for when the next "trough" occurs. I had no idea how beneficial these experiences could be to me as I try to cultivate a greater kindness in the world. In my family, it's always been a subject to be avoided, and a circumstance that should be fought and medicated to death, rather than embraced and learned from.

Anyway, I digress. And as always, I'm always trying to learn...

So with all that out of the way, here are some more positive things about my life: I'm a beekeeper, an avid kayaker, I've got two beautiful golden retrievers and a wonderful partner, I play mandolin, I love to illustrate (see my profile for more info), and I'm also crazy about geocaching.

Again, I'm really looking forward to meeting all of you and taking part in the forums. It's wonderful to have such an incredible and vibrant community just a few clicks away. Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Namaste,
Sweet Adeline
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - St. Philo of Alexandria
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Re: Greetings from Sunny Vermont :)

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:17 pm

hello.
I hope that this forum helps you. A lot of people do not understand clinical depression (as opposed to just having a bad day). I do not suffer from it, but I have friends who do. It's not something that a person can simply reason with, or get rid of "logically", and that is the big problem with it.

I think that one of the points that Chogyam Trungpa made is that whatever you have, that is the stuff you work with, and that somehow it's all workable. Usually we want to push negative experiences away. The vajrayana approach admits that suffering is terrible sh*t, so what you have to work with is terrible sh*t. But, if you have a lot of terrible sh*t, then at least you have plenty to work with. So you just throw it all into the dharma.

Again, I hope you find some support and resources from this forum, and that when the next storm hits you that you get through it a little better.
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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: Greetings from Sunny Vermont :)

Postby Luke » Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:55 pm

Welcome Sweet Adeline!

sweetadeline wrote:It's wonderful to have such an incredible and vibrant community just a few clicks away.

Hehe. Wow. DW now qualifies as "vibrant"! That's good to hear. I remember a few years ago when a person dismissed it as essentially a blog with few members which was doomed to failure. Sometimes impermanence is a great thing...

I'm not an expert on the treatment of depression, although I used to be deeply, clinically depressed several years before I got serious about Buddhism. I was on antidepressants for a year or two and they helped somewhat, but for me now, Buddhist meditation is the best remedy.

A day without meditating is a missed opportunity for me and I can feel my mind drifting back in a negative direction when I skip a day of practice, so for this reason, I try to practice consistently.

I'm not sure if you'll like it, but a fairly short book that I really enjoyed was "Mind at Ease" by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche. It's not a "hard-core" Mahamudra book; most of it talks about many of the essential Buddhist basics, such the Six Paramitas and negative emotions in the mind, and it talks about many different types of meditation, including the instructions for many meditations which you can try on your own. I found the writing style to be clear, deep, and refreshing.

http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Ease-Self-Li ... 585&sr=1-1
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Re: Greetings from Sunny Vermont :)

Postby LastLegend » Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:11 am

hello sweetadelin. welcome.

I graduated from university of vermont in 2006. Green mountain state. I miss it.
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NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Greetings from Sunny Vermont :)

Postby sweetadeline » Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:34 pm

Nice to meet all of you! Thanks for the very warm welcome... I'm looking forward to all that I can learn from this board (and from myself, in the process). Your suggestions are well received, and I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of me as I learn.

Luke, I'll be looking into picking up a copy of that book this afternoon. Thanks for the heads up.

LastLegend, our paths may have crossed without our knowing it. I was doing grad work there in 2006 in the psych department, and later transferred over into the teaching certification program... come back up and visit us sometime :)

Thanks again for being so welcoming, everyone.
SweetAddy
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - St. Philo of Alexandria
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Re: Greetings from Sunny Vermont :)

Postby LastLegend » Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:58 pm

I majored in undergraduate psychology. The only teacher I remember off the top of my head now is Dr. Kozac. Were you teaching?
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Re: Greetings from Sunny Vermont :)

Postby sweetadeline » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:46 pm

Ha! Kozak is an adjunct professor on the clinical side of things, and as you know, teaches a mindfulness-based approach in his implementation. I do not know him personally, but I know of him and his center downtown. I'd wanted to audit his class but research was calling me.

I was in the biobehavioral cluster (learning theory / animal behavior). I TA'd a few of the Learning, Memory, and Cognition classes with another adjunct professor.

Small world :)
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - St. Philo of Alexandria
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Re: Greetings from Sunny Vermont :)

Postby LastLegend » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:14 pm

sweetadeline wrote:Ha! Kozak is an adjunct professor on the clinical side of things, and as you know, teaches a mindfulness-based approach in his implementation. I do not know him personally, but I know of him and his center downtown. I'd wanted to audit his class but research was calling me.

I was in the biobehavioral cluster (learning theory / animal behavior). I TA'd a few of the Learning, Memory, and Cognition classes with another adjunct professor.

Small world :)


Sweet.

I will visit Burlington one day hopefully soon.
Welcome and enjoy your stay here :anjali:
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