War And Peace, Right And Wrong, Being Accountable – It’s All So Exhausting!

This is the view from my window at dusk.  Peaceful.

Some time ago I read an article by somebody who wanted Christians to take arms against the invasion of Muslims.  Well, nothing new there, isn’t that what the Crusades were all about?  I don’t know why religious fanatics are so self-righteous about their religion, they don’t have particularly all-embracing peace love power beauty and joy philosophies or histories.  It’s more like kill the bastards if they disagree with you.

It always comes back to I’m right and you’re wrong, and it’s all rather exhausting.  I understand the desire to wage war, of course I do.  My pillow’s looking pretty ragged, and quite a few old telephone books have gotten torn up, thrown around and stamped on, then sent to telephone book heaven.  My vocal chords and imagination have been well exercised in thinking of and yelling obscenities when nobody’s around.  My room looks like hurricane city when I’m done expressing.  Clothes and soft things all over the place – nothing broken, though.  If I didn’t do it, I’d want to engage in real combat all the time.

If I have anger or fear that I  don’t pay attention to, my imagination steps in and embellishes on whatever triggered it.  Which triggers off more anger or fear.   And the more afraid and angry I feel, the more justified I think I am in “protecting” myself by attacking whoever threatened me.

I know for myself that if I don’t catch my anger and do something about it I slip easily into what I think is a cycle of madness.   It makes me feel very righteous, but always at somebody else’s expense, and when I’m in this frame of mind I forget that that somebody is as human and possibly vulnerable as I am.  Either I stay angry or afraid, acting out in a way that creates enemies for me and possibly even harms people, or I suppress the emotions and they start popping out at very inappropriate moments.

I used to think that the saying people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones meant if you’ve done something wrong don’t blame other people for doing the same thing.  Now I think it means  we’re all vulnerable, none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes.  We all live in a glass house.  Pay attention to what’s happening to you instead of judging others.

Pointing fingers doesn’t achieve anything except foster fear and hostility and people who are good at it can really make the targets of their accusation feel worthless.  But how does that help?  It‘s unlikely to start a movement amongst them of what the judger considers to be better behavior.   It just whips up anger and fear.  And pretty soon everybody’s saying “it’s not my fault, you started it”.   It’s addictive.  Mmm, addictions are so healthy.

And it’s loads of fun for the ego of course, but it doesn’t make anyone happy.  One thing I’ve learned.  It doesn’t matter how much somebody’s behavior outrages me, I’ll never be able to persuade them to change by attacking them – even if it’s just telling them they’re wrong –  because it’ll make them shut the door on me.   I shut the door on people who attack me, why shouldn’t they?  Because I’m right?  Well, I’m not, from their perspective.

Haven’t we all been so heavily conditioned with the concept of right and wrong?  I find it really hard to get away from, even though it’s so counterproductive and energy consuming.  I realized something a while ago, which helps.   The minute I want to judge somebody as being wrong or bad, it’s because they’ve pressed a button in me that I don’t want to look at.  Damn, hate having to be so responsible and accountable.

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Make love not war

Yesterday I read an article by somebody who wanted Christians to take arms against the invasion of Muslims.  Well, nothing new there, isn’t that what the Crusades were all about?  I don’t know why some Christians and Muslims are so self-righteous about their religions, they don’t have particularly all-embracing peace love power beauty and joy philosophies or histories.  It’s more like kill the bastards.

It all comes back to I’m right and you’re wrong – phew, it’s totally exhausting.  I understand the desire to wage war, of course I do.   My pillow’s looking pretty ragged, and quite a number of old telephone books have gotten torn up, thrown around and stamped on, then sent to telephone book heaven.  My vocal chords and imagination have been well exercised in thinking of and yelling obscenities when nobody’s around.  My room looks like hurricane city when I’m done expressing.   Clothes and soft things all over the place – nothing broken, though.

If I didn’t do it, I’d be wanting to engage in combat all the time.  This way that war energy gets dissipated, leaves me free to go nosing around, looking for love instead.  Love and real pleasure.  They’re looking very attractive these days oh yes.  So if Christians and Muslims, Catholics and Protestants, Buddhists and others, Republicans and Democrats, want to engage in war of some sort or another, however subtle or gross, I guess they’re welcome.  Whatever floats your boat.

Lately I’ve realized something.  Even when I get very angry with somebody, if I listen to what I need, I never ever need to hurt them.  Ever.  I need to know that I’m okay, that I’m deserving of love, protection, support, whatever.  Sometimes I have to listen real hard, though, to get to that need that’s at the core of my heart.  It always tells me I don’t want war, I want love.

So, I’m not even going to fight the people who are making war.  Because what I really need is to know I can look for something different.  I can busy myself with being on the hunt for pleasure, fulfillment, satisfaction, and love, the giving and the taking.  Peace, love, power, beauty and joy, in short.  That’s where I’m setting my sights.  If for nothing other than that it’s the place I sing from the best.  Body relaxed, vocal chords working the way they’re supposed to.  Yes, make love not war.   For me, it’s enough of the war now.

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I’m fixated on earthly things and just fine with it

I read an article on somebody’s opinion about what causes stress the other day.   Insofar as I understood, the author believes that the problem doesn’t lie in situations or circumstances but in our need to try and control when we’re unsure of an outcome.   Up to that point I agreed.

But then he said that we need to let go of our fear and of our need to hold on to earthly things.

That’s where we diverge.   Why have we got fear if it’s no use to us?   Evolutionarily – good word there – when we don’t use something it disappears.   Well, we do our best – and have for ever and ever – to ignore or suppress our emotions but they don’t go away.   They get stronger and more impactful, more uncomfortable and increasingly difficult to ignore.

I’m more convinced than ever that emotions are symptoms of a need.   Just like the dashboard lights on a car.   When the gas light comes on you don’t try to meditate it away, or force the car to “let go”.  You recognize it’s a symptom, and you do whatever it tells you needs to be done.   If you don’t, the car grinds to a halt.

Same with emotions – fear, anger, sorrow, happiness.   They require something – expression and sometimes an action which is about giving yourself something or getting it from somebody else.  Accurate information, love, protection…    If you do that, the emotion goes away and you don’t have to deliberately “let go”.   It’s just natural.  Moreover your head clears, your heart and soul feel shiny and new and you have a whole lot of energy.

If I stick my finger in a flame it hurts.  The pain tells me get your finger out the flame and fast! I can’t meditate the pain away, I have to listen to it and take my finger out the flame.

Yes?   When something unexpected happens to me, I get scared that there won’t be a solution.    In fact I positively believe there won’t be one.

My fear tells me I need reassurance that I can access protection or whatever I need, that solution exists for me, that god hasn’t forgotten me, that I’m still loved by real people, that I’m not alone.   When I get enough of it – and from somebody I believe and trust – my fear goes away and I stop trying to control.   I let go.   And solution comes towards me.   Letting go of fear?  I think it’s a consequence, not a deliberate action.

I’ll put my head on a block on this.

I think we judge our emotions because we don’t know how to read them, don’t know what they really represent.   They’re scary and exceptionally uncomfortable.   But they don’t have to be.

My debate the other day about whether my current levels of stress are about slipping too far down Maslow’s hierarchy of needs  has cleared up.   The stress is about believing things aren’t going to change.

But some friends of mine gave me some warm clothing, and some wool fabric I can make a warm coat out of.  They also gave me some delicious food which has lasted me three days.   The experience turned my world around.

So it’s a mix.  I’m responsible for my ideas and what I believe, and for taking my fear to somebody who can reassure me.     But I’m also responsible for making sure I eat properly.    When I do both effectively my stress is relieved.

To go back to the author who believed we need to let go of our earthly fixations.   Why are we on earth if being earthly is a bad thing?   I like it.   I love my earthliness, my emotions, my trials and tribulations and my triumphs, my highs and my lows.   I’m not anywhere near ready to give them up.

Depression is not an illness!

Depression: the word is enough to make anybody run for the hills.  It’s one of the most uncomfortable, painful things to experience.  It makes a mockery of hope and faith, it obliterates the light, turns daily experiences into nightmares and normal challenges into massive undertakings.  It invades your mind and your soul, and drains your body of energy.  It turns dreams into dust and the idea of love into a cruelly unattainable concept.

It takes your power away, cripples you, depletes your will to seek solution.  It makes life seem horribly bleak, meaningless and not worth living.

The most awful thing about it is that temporarily destroys the ability to see solution – sometimes even to seek it.

11 million people in the world typed “Depression” into Google’s search in December 2009.  I doubt anybody was searching just out of curiosity, just for fun.

Yahoo shows 350 million results for the word, Google 65,9 million and Bing 51 million.

With so many people suffering, and actively searching, why don’t we have an answer?  Why hasn’t science and medicine come up with one for us?  One that works, that actually frees us without creating dependency on some chemical or making us crazy or close-minded in some way or another?

I’ve been one of the millions throughout the past 30 years looking for solution.  For so long, the word had a capital “D” for me, and I thought of it almost as some kind of alien monster that invaded humans and made them powerless.  Or else some kind of state that had no cause and therefore could never be understood.  Which is not, when you think about it, that different from what the medical profession tells us.  It’s a disease that they have no real explanation for.

Sure, they once thought you could zap somebody’s brain with electroshock therapy and bingo, the depression would disappear.  Then they realized it didn’t work, so they tried removing bits of brain.  That didn’t work either.  Then they made a huge discovery – the chemicals in your body are out of whack when you’re depressed.

They said “it’s a disease, it’s DNA, it’s caused by the chemical imbalance and there’s nothing we can do about it except try to control it more or less with drugs, live with it”.  Well that’s a great help, that really makes depression sufferers feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel.  The medical profession has no answer for what causes the chemical imbalance – and this is where it all goes wrong.

Instead of being honest and saying “guys, we don’t know”, they pretend they do.  Some humans have got defective chemical systems.  The defect isn’t caused by anything controllable.  That’s it?  That’s there answer?

No wonder we’re so terrified of depression.  Not only is it the most awful of conditions to experience, but the people we look to for answers assure us it’s totally out of our control to fix.

And boy do the pharmaceutical companies like that one.  Psychiatrists, too.  After all, that’s how they make their money.  Pardon me for being cynical, but it’s no wonder depression has become such a monstrously difficult thing to overcome.  Look at who we rely on to find solution.  The companies and people who make money off our pain.

But who else can we turn to?

I don’t believe depression is an illness or disease or DNA screw-up.  Don’t don’t don’t.  I don’t believe it’s some chemical defect we’re born with.  Most of all, I don’t buy that we’re powerless like Medicine would have us believe.  Au contraire, I think depression is something that each of us can understand and correct.  Without drugs.  Who am I to take on Mighty Medicine?  Well somebody has to do it, might as well be me.  I fancy the role of David in the face of Goliath.

No, this isn’t another Secret-type hype magical thinking formula.  Depression can’t be cured in a day or with positive thinking, and “cures” that offer that kind of prospect are just exploiting our desperation. Like diets.

I had depression for 30 years and I don’t have it any more.  I didn’t take drugs, pills, hynoptherapy or any of the less invasive but hardly any more sustainably successful alternative “solutions”.  I remember the day I realized from experience that depression is the consequence of repressing emotion and not meeting my need.  I’d learned the theory of it, but it’s easy to not realise the theory applies to you!   This day I  remember being angry, and choosing not to express it, choosing to push it down.  Within a short while I was severely depressed.  It was amazing, like a science experiment.  I already knew that emotions generate huge energy that needs an outlet, and we all know the image of a pressure-cooker.  But that day was the beginning of my paying close attention to what happened to my body and my mind when I repressed emotion – I felt kind of sour, acid, heavy – oh my, could that be the dreaded chemical imbalance for which there is no scientific explanation?  I watched my body become enervated, my vision of life become cloudy, my faith and hope disappear.

As soon as I let myself express my emotion – the depression melted away and back came hope, faith, clear vision – and I had tons of energy.  From one moment to the next.  There’s quite a lot to learning how to do it – for me anyway, maybe other people wouldn’t be so slow, but now that I know, there’s no going back.  My days of being controlled by depression are over.  Forever.  Now that’s really Stepping out of history, wouldn’t you say?  I’d like to have a conversation with Dr. Oz about this.  I’m sure he’d get all excited, dear man.   Well he can read my book, I’ll even sign it for him.  When I finish it.  Groan.

I’m not finishing it tonight, that’s for sure.  Goodnight world.