The Middle Way

Zen Spot #61 — Mindfulness, meditation and a chipped, spinning flywheel of anxiety February 6, 2018 00:05

I don’t know what a flywheel is

My knowledge doesn’t matter. A flywheel is, in this circumstance, whatever I say it is. I imagine a thin gear, missing teeth, spinning so fast inside me that it is quiet, acting like a gyroscope, keeping me on a crappy rollercoaster track. In particular, the ride crashes through any interaction with people, especially crowds. When I’m alone, it still happens, with an emphasis on the prospect of preparing to deal with people. It is best to be alone.

Sometimes, it feels like a very low level of electricity shaking me and shocking me--but not enough to kill me. I want to cry. I want to live. I want to run. I want to sit in a chair and wait for the night to come. I want to sit in my car instead of entering whatever circumstance I am about to enter. I want to trust.

I can’t. I can put my head between my knees so that blood rushes to my eye balls. Sweat can soak my clothes. My lower back can ache so much that I hobble. I can lash out like a wounded dog, if I can lift my head. 

Finding my path

Meditation works. Time must pass. Medication can help. Avoiding anything mind altering, except as prescribed. Compassion, beginning with other human beings, helps. Compassion for oneself has great power. Learning one’s limits has the surprising effect of extending one’s limits. Trusting those around you and eliminating anybody you can’t trust from your circle is surprisingly effective

Anxiety is a destination. Until you get off the train, and walk away, it’s just a matter of time until the locomotive stops and you’re forehead is pressed against the glass, looking at happy and dead people standing outside on the train platform. That said, the only choice is a first step, perhaps to the next seat on the train, until after multiple stops, you are as close to the door of the train car as you can be. Then, you choose to walk through the door and down the stairs. Between seats and stops, meditate, be mindful, be kind, read, engage professionals and be brave.

The Art of Happiness

I found the Buddhist path, in part, because it was the only thing that made sense when I was staring into the void. It helped to read. Books written by the Dalai Lama were of great help. His logic is sound, especially in the face of frequent paradoxes. 

Read The Art of Happiness. It is a great destination.

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About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?

 

 


Zen Spot #62 -- Mindfulness, meditation and the violence of depression February 3, 2018 00:05

The blackness

There is a monster living inside me that, when it rears its head, eats my soul. It is a police baton jammed into my solar plexus. An anvil eased gently onto my chest, like a frog slowly boiling in a pot of water. Sleep is the only reprieve. Awakening to the fact that death has not collected me prompts thoughts of how to hand myself over with as little pain as possible.

America

I hold the belief that capitalism, and the relentless pursuit of profit, has created a culture that can break one’s spirit. Long ago, we passed the point where the human mind can continue to function effectively when bombarded relentlessly. And it's not just me. Millions return home broken after a full day of work. That millions of others are unaffected means nothing.

Like the explosion of a car engine driven with the gas pedal pushed all the way to the floor for fifty miles, some people implode. Cogs are chewed and spit. Cheek bones lie on the sidewalk with grit embedded in flesh. Blood flowing. 

Research

Clinical research has proven this biological tipping point. When reached, it becomes virtually impossible to recover without medication. That which looks like a character defect or laziness or self pity is actually a pathology that requires medical intervention. 

This is our time. These are our choices. Despite the science.

Buddhism and the science of the mind

I discovered the Eightfold Path in part because of the violence. My mind has been severely compromised when the monster found its way in. The blackness is deep. Mindfulness, truth be told, is not enough. It is one tool in a toolbox. 

Study helps. Making time to practice is critical. Endorphins, created by exercise, work wonders. Improved choices contribute to peace. I avail myself of all science.

Zen Spot

Wherever you find yourself, if the depression comes — or returns — take the medication. As you improve, and you will improve, take time to study. Exercise. Make choices in your best interest. Be kind to yourself and others.

And believe.

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About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?