What do you live for? - page 2
What makes you wake up again and again every day and keep on going? What do you live for, what gives your life meaning? When times are tough, what keeps you going on? Do you ever feel that there is... Read More
Oct 11, '05Thrashej - I wish you the best. As another poster indicated, it sometimes takes many different med tries before you come up with the one that works for you. I wish you the best. Please take care of yourself.
Oct 11, '05
(((Hugs))) Thrashej........life is such a beautiful thing to have and appreciate. I live for today in hopes of tomorrow. I also try to enjoy the moment and what life is offering for me. I try not to live in the past, as it is all done and over with, I try not to live in the future, as I have an opportunity to mold it starting from now. I live for today.........grateful for yesterday, in hopes of tomorrow.
Oct 11, '05http://www.dhamma.org/art.htm
we all get ups and downs at times. pls learn the art of living to heal yourself from the sufferings and miseries we face. check out the website and article
There is a very interesting article.
The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation
Everyone seeks peace and harmony, because these are what we lack in our lives. From time to time we all experience agitation, irritation, disharmony, suffering; and when one suffers from agitation, one does not keep this misery limited to oneself. One keeps distributing it to others as well. The agitation permeates the atmosphere around the miserable person. Everyone who comes into contact with him also becomes irritated, agitated. Certainly this is not the proper way to live.
One ought to live at peace with oneself, and at peace with all others. After all, a human being is a social being. He has to live in society--to live and deal with others. How are we to live peacefully? How are we to remain harmonious with ourselves, and to maintain peace and harmony around us, so that others can also live peacefully and harmoniously?
One is agitated. To come out of the agitation, one has to know the basic reason for it, the cause of the suffering. If one investigates the problem, it will become clear that whenever one starts generating any negativity or defilement in the mind, one is bound to become agitated. A negativity in the mind, a mental defilement or impurity, cannot exist with peace and harmony.
How does one start generating negativity? Again, by investigating, it becomes clear. I become very unhappy when I find someone behaving in a way which I don't like, when I find something happening which I don't like. Unwanted things happen and I create tension within myself. Wanted things do not happen, some obstacles come in the way, and again I create tension within myself; I start tying knots within myself. And throughout life, unwanted things keep on happening, wanted things may or may not happen, and this process or reaction, of tying knots--Gordian knots--makes the entire mental and physical structure so tense, so full of negativity, that life becomes miserable.
Now one way to solve the problem is to arrange that nothing unwanted happens in my life and that everything keeps on happening exactly as I desire. i must develop such power, or somebody else must have the power and must come to my aid when I request him, that unwanted things do not happen and that everything I want happens. But this is not possible. There is no one in the world whose desires are always fulfilled, in whose life everything happens according to his wishes, without anything unwanted happening. Things keep on occurring that are contrary to our desires and wishes. So the question arises, how am I not to react blindly in the face of these things which I don't like? How not to create tension? How to remain peaceful and harmonious?
In India as well as in other countries, wise saintly persons of the past studied this problem--the problem of human suffering--and found a solution: if something unwanted happens and one starts to react by generating anger, fear or any negativity, then as soon as possible one should divert one's attention to something else. For example, get up, take a glass of water, start drinking--your anger will not multiply and you'll be coming out of anger. Or start counting: one, two, three, four. Or start repeating a word, or a phrase, or some mantra, perhaps the name of a deity or saintly person in whom you have devotion; the mind is diverted, and to some extent, you'll be out of the negativity, out of anger.
This solution was helpful: it worked. It still works. Practicing this, the mind feels free from agitation. In fact, however, the solution works only at the conscious level. Actually, by diverting the attention, one pushes the negativity deep into the unconscious, and on this level one continues to generate and multiply the same defilements. At the surface level there is a layer of peace and harmony, but in the depths of the mind there is a sleeping volcano of suppressed negativity which sooner or later will explode in violent eruption.
Other explorers of inner truth went still further in their search; and by experiencing the reality of mind and matter within themselves they recognized that diverting the attention is only running away from the problem. Escape is no solution: one must face the problem. Whenever a negativity arises in the mind, just observe it, face it. As soon as one starts observing any mental defilement, it begins to lose strength. Slowly it withers away and is uprooted.
A good solution: it avoids both extremes--suppression and free license. Keeping the negativity in the unconscious will not eradicate it; and allowing it to manifest in physical or vocal action will only create more problems. But if one just observes, then the defilement passes away, and one has eradicated that negativity, one is freed from the defilement.
This sounds wonderful, but is it really practical? For an average person, is it easy to face the defilement? When anger arises, it overpowers us so quickly that we don't even notice. Then overpowered by anger, we commit certain actions physically or vocally which are harmful to us and to others. Later, when the anger has passed, we start crying and repenting, begging pardon from this or that person or from God: 'Oh, I made a mistake, please excuse me!' But the next time we are in a similar situation, we again react in the same way. All that repenting does not help at all.
The difficulty is that I am not aware when a defilement starts. It begins deep in the unconscious level of the mind, and by the time it reaches the conscious level, it has gained so much strength that it overwhelms me, and I cannot observe it.
Then I must keep a private secretary with me, so that whenever anger starts, he says, 'Look master, anger is starting!' Since I cannot know when this anger will start, I must have three private secretaries for three shifts, around the clock! Suppose I can afford that, and the anger starts to arise. At once my secretary tells me, 'Oh, master, look--anger has started!' The first thing I will do is slap and abuse him: 'You fool! Do you think you are paid to teach me?' I am so overpowered by anger that no good advise will help.
Even supposing wisdom prevails and I do not slap him. Instead I say, 'Thank you very much. Now I must sit down and observe my anger.' Yet it is possible? As soon as I close my eyes and try to observe the anger, immediately the object of anger come into my mind--the person or incident because of which I become angry. Then I am not observing the anger itself. I am merely observing the external stimulus of the emotion. This will only serve to multiply the anger; this is no solution. It is very difficult to observe any abstract negativity, abstract emotion, divorced from the external object which aroused it.
However, one who reached the ultimate truth found a real solution. He discovered that whenever any defilement arises in the mind, simultaneously two things start happening at the physical level. One is that the breath loses its normal rhythm. We start breathing hard whenever a negativity comes into the mind. This is easy to observe. At subtler level, some kind of biochemical reaction starts within the body--some sensation. Every defilement will generate one sensation or another inside, in one part of the body or another.
This is a practical solution. An ordinary person cannot observe abstract defilements of the mind--abstract fear, anger, or passion. But with proper training and practice, it is very easy to observe respiration and bodily sensations--both of which are directly related to the mental defilements.
Respiration and sensation will help me in two ways. Firstly, they will be like my private secretaries. As soon as a defilement starts in my mind, my breath will lose its normality; it will start shouting, 'Look, something has gone wrong!' I cannot slap my breath; I have to accept the warning. Similarly the sensations tell me that something has gone wrong. Then having been warned, I start observing my respiration, my sensation, and I find very quickly that the defilement passes away.
This mental-physical phenomenon is like a coin with two sides. On the one side are whatever thoughts or emotions are arising in the mind. One the other side are the respiration and sensations in the body. Any thought or emotion, any mental defilement, manifests itself in the breath and the sensation of that moment. Thus, by observing the respiration or the sensation, I am in fact observing the mental defilement. Instead of running away from the problem, I am facing reality as it is. Then I shall find that the defilement loses its strength: it can no longer overpower me as it did in the past. If I persist, the defilement eventually disappears altogether, and I remain peaceful and happy.
In this way, the techniques of self-observation shows us reality in its two aspects, inner and outer. Previously, one always looked with open eyes, missing the inner truth. I always looked outside for the cause of my unhappiness; I always blamed and tried to change the reality outside. Being ignorant of the inner reality, I never understood that the cause of suffering lies within, in my own blind reactions toward pleasant and unpleasant sensations.
Now, with training, I can see the other side of the coin. I can be aware of my breathing and also of what is happening inside me. Whatever it is, breath or sensation, I learn just to observe it, without losing the balance of the mind. I stop reacting, stop multiplying my misery. Instead, I allow the defilement to manifest and pass away.
The more one practices this technique, the more quickly one will find one will come out of negativity. Gradually the mind becomes freed of the defilements; it becomes pure. A pure mind is always full of love--selfless love for all others; full of compassion for the failings and sufferings of others; full of joy at their success and happiness; full of equanimity in the face of any situation.
When one reaches this stage, the entire pattern of one's life starts changing. It is no longer possible to do anything vocally or physically which will disturb the peace and happiness of others. Instead, the balanced mind not only becomes peaceful in itself, but it helps others also to become peaceful. The atmosphere surrounding such a person will become permeated with peace and harmony, and this will start affecting others too.
By learning to remain balanced in the face of everything one experiences inside, one develops detachment towards all that one encounters in external situations as well. However, this detachment is not escapism or indifference to the problems of the world. A Vipassana meditator becomes more sensitive to the sufferings of others, and does his utmost to relieve their suffering in whatever way he can--not with any agitation but with a mind full of love, compassion and equanimity. He learns holy indifference--how to be fully committed, fully involved in helping others, while at the same time maintaining the balance of his mind. In this way he remains peaceful and happy, while working for the peace and happiness of others.
This is what the Buddha taught; an art of living. He never established or taught any religion, any 'ism'. He never instructed his followers to practice any rites or rituals, any blind or empty formalities. Instead, he taught just to observe nature as it is, by observing reality inside. Out of ignorance, one keeps reacting in a way which is harmful to oneself and to others. But when wisdom arises--the wisdom of observing the reality as it is--one come out of this habit of reaction. When one ceases to react blindly, then one is capable of real action--action proceeding from a balanced mind, a mind which sees and understands the truth. Such action can only be positive, creative, helpful to oneself and to others.
What is necessary, then, is to 'know thyself'--advice which every wise person has given. One must know oneself not just at the intellectual level, the level of ideas and theories. Nor does this mean to know just at the emotional or devotional level, simply accepting blindly what one has heard or read. Such knowledge is not enough. Rather one must know reality at the actual level. One must experience directly the reality of this mental-physical phenomenon. This alone is what will help us to come out of defilements, out of suffering.
This direct experience of one's own reality, this techniques of self-observation, is what is called 'Vipassana' meditation. In the language of India in the time of the Buddha, passana meant seeing with open eyes, in the ordinary way; but Vipassana is observing things as they really are, not just as they seem to be. Apparent truth has to be penetrated, until one reaches the ultimate truth of the entire mental and physical structure. When one experiences this truth, then one learns to stop reacting blindly, to stop creating defilements--and naturally the old defilements gradually are eradicated. One come out of all the misery and experiences happiness.
There are three steps to the training which is given in a Vipassana meditation course Firstly, one must abstain from any action, physical or vocal, which disturbs the peace and harmony of others. One cannot work to liberate oneself from defilements in the mind while at the same time one continues to perform deeds of body and speech which only multiply those defilements. Therefore, a code of morality is the essential first step of the practice. One undertakes not to kill, not to steal, not to commit sexual misconduct, not to tell lies, and not to use intoxicants. By abstaining from such action, one allows the mind to quiet down sufficiently so that it can proceed with the task at hand.
The next step is to develop some mastery over this wild mind, by training it to remain fixed on a single object: the breath. One tries to keep one's attention for as long as possible on the respiration. This is not a breathing exercise: one does not regulate the breath. Instead one observes natural respiration as it is, as it comes in, as it goes out. In this way one further calms the mind so that it is no longer overpowered by violent negativities. At the same time, one is concentrating the mind, making it sharp and penetrating, capable of the work of insight.
These first two steps of living a moral life and controlling the mind are very necessary and beneficial in themselves; but they will lead to self-repression, unless one takes the third step - purifying the mind of defilements by developing insight into one's own nature. This is Vipassana: experiencing one's own reality, by the systematic and dispassionate observation of the ever-changing mind-matter phenomenon manifesting itself as sensation within oneself. This is the culmination of the teaching of the Buddha: self-purification by self-observation.
This can be practiced by one and all. Everyone faces the problem of suffering. it is a universal disease which requires a universal remedy--not a sectarian one. When one suffers from anger, it is not a Buddhist anger, Hindu anger, or Christian anger. Anger is anger. When one become agitated as a result of this anger, this agitation is not Christian, or Hindu, or Buddhist. The malady is universal. The remedy must also be universal.
Vipassana is such a remedy. No one will object to a code of living which respects the peace and harmony of others. No one will object to developing control over the mind. No one will object to developing insight into one's own reality, by which it is possible to free the mind of negativities. Vipassana is a universal path.
Observing reality as it is by observing the truth inside--this is knowing oneself at the actual, experiential level. As one practices, one keeps coming out of the misery of defilements. From the gross, external, apparent truth, one penetrates to the ultimate truth of mind and matter. Then one transcends that, and experiences a truth which is beyond mind and matter, beyond time and space, beyond the conditioned field of relativity: the truth of total liberation from all defilements, all impurities, all suffering. Whatever name one gives this ultimate truth, is irrelevant; it is the final goal of everyone.
May you all experience this ultimate truth. May all people come out of their defilements, their misery. May they enjoy real happiness, real peace, real harmony.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY
The above text is based upon a talk given by Mr. S.N. Goenka in Berne, Switzerland.
Oct 11, '05Thrashej
Listen to the Wolf!! Thunderwolf is giving you excellent professional advise. Get into therapy. Get on antidepressents. Keep active. To which I will add: Maintain your routine. This can be life-saving. Don't let the bed go unmade or the dirty dishes sit in the sink. If you have a job go to work every day especially if you don't want to. Routine things you must do are the stuff normal lives are made of.
Oct 11, '05Wolfie is right. I am worried about you. I want you to know you are not alone. Many of us have felt as you do. You have to remember you are not alone. Depression makes you feel that way but you are not alone. Please seek help and stick to the meds. Keep trying them until one works. They can help but it takes time. Please stick with the professional help.
Oct 11, '05Thank you for all your kind thoughts.
It is true that I have been feeling worse lately. I became allergic to my AD and had to stop taking it. I had only been on it's max dose for a week though so didn't expect to have any adverse effects, but I think stopping may have made me a bit whacko. My dr told me to though, but I haven't been able to get a hold of her yet to see what I should do from here. I feel like I am in limbo land. All I want to do is sleep.....hide under the covers.
I have made even more life changes since becoming depressed, changes I THOUGHT were for the best but have turned out to only make things worse. I hope I can get help from here soon, I don't know how much further down I can go before I won't be able to see any light at the end of the tunnel..
I promise though I will talk to my psych. These medications can cause an anxiety all their own as some of you I am sure know. I know I am not alone and I will try to get help in a more appropriate place. Thank you all, and Thank you Thunderwolf!!
Oct 11, '05Thrashej.........I know you've spoken of your depression before, and it sounds to me as though there could possibly be a seasonal component to it that you may not have explored. I myself have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in addition to 'regular' depression, for which I've taken Paxil for years now. In researching the causes, effects, and treatment of SAD, I've learned that light and warmth are as vital to my well-being as air; perhaps the coming of the dark and the cold have something to do with your feelings as well. It might be worthwhile to explore this with your healthcare provider; there are a number of different things that can be done to help you get through these upcoming months.
In the meantime, please know that you are indeed NOT alone, and that the right treatment is out there somewhere. (No single medicine or therapy is right for everyone; for me, the Paxil and twice-weekly sessions in a tanning booth are what get me through the winter, and I'm considering light therapy as well.) It's easier when you have family and/or friends to help keep you going, but in the end, you must learn to draw from your own inner resources in order to be happy. The job of therapy is to help you develop those resources; the job of medication is to restore the brain chemistry to normal function. The rest is up to you.
Oct 11, '05Mjlrn......
:chuckle Well, I live in Arizona, so SAD shouldn't be affecting me.:chuckle
Worth a try though, eh? Nah, more likely I am just one of those people that stays chronically depressed or, more possibly, I have yet to get adequate treatment.
I saw a therapist for a bit but really ended up wondering what in the heck she was doing for me. I would just meet with her and talk small talk really, but it was nothing like psychology (done that when I was a kid). I told my husband I may as well pay him 80 bucks to sit there and listen to me whine and say, "Ahhh, yes, and how did THAT make you feel?". Then, when I would respond, she didn't really have much to say. Either that or I already KNEW what she was saying. Seemed kinda dumb.
Any other support groups I can join in person to get some interaction with others that I feel are on the same plane?? Any ideas anyone???:uhoh21:
Oct 11, '05I can relate to what you're feeling. I was on medication for a while after my sister died a few years ago.
What gets me going? Well, it may sound cheesy, but it's music. Listening to Bach, I sense something greater than myself. It may be like praying for other people...for me it's how I connect with a higher power, or something larger than myself. I feel humbled and enlightened at the same time. I don't know what I'd do without music. And also I sing in a large choral group that's well known in this area and even in the country (as far as choral groups go). Even the rehearsals are enough to energize me.
Oct 11, '05Quote from thrashejIf you can't find another group...try another therapist. There could be one out there that you will like better.
Any other support groups I can join in person to get some interaction with others that I feel are on the same plane?? Any ideas anyone???:uhoh21:
Oh yeah, to answer your question. When I was deeply depressed, I lived for the moment I would not feel so sad and depressed. I didn't know how I would get there at the time but believed I would somehow someday not feel so sad. That is what kept me going when I didn't know what I was living for.
Hope this helps.Last edit by TLC RN on Oct 11, '05
Oct 11, '05I am no professional, but I have often felt like you do. Crawling under the covers sounded like a great way to spend a day.
What I needed to do was actually find a goal for myself. If I didn't have something that I was working toward, I didn't feel like I had much to offer. I alienated myself from friends because I thought that I didn't have much to say to them. I had lost all self confidence.
I wish you the best of luck. I think it is good that you are at least reaching out to try to find some answers. Keep looking for the right one for you! You know you have a lot of support here at allnurses!
I look forward to hearing what you have found that works for you. You will find it!
Oct 12, '05very good suggestions folks and thanks for the follow up posts thrashej.
counseling...many folks have tried it.i used to be a professional counselor several years ago. i am not now by choice....my time to move on. however, i will share a little something that i noticed about folks who go to counseling. at one extreme, there are the folks who go who really have no intent to work on things and just go to chit chat...sort of seeing the counselor as just another friend. these folks don't improve much because issues were never worked on.the other extreme is where folks go to counseling like their lives depends upon it...but work their sessions to the exclusion of all else in life. the problem is that they do not let other parts of their lives in...fun, people, career, etc...only seeing, breathing and eating counseling. both extremes become professional counselee's...it becomes a career all its own...but little changes in what really matters--->the person's life.
the most successful folks are in between and tend to be those who go to counseling with the expectation that in each session, at least "one thing" will be learned, addressed and/or be resolved. outside and in between the sessions, the person structures in opportunities to put what was learned from that session into everyday life. but, in between sessions, the general expectation also is that folks are engaging in the aspects of their lives...family, friends, work, activities, self nurturing, spiritual pursuits. so, the successful folks are those "who practice living their lives" while interjecting "what was learned" in counseling.
another way of viewing the successful counselee is that the counselee tends to take their counseling seriously (but not obsessively), like a grad student in college (focus of study is "my life"). like any student, the counselee needs to learn new things that was previously not present (counselig session, journaling, internet, reading, self reflection), taking what was learned into the clinical environment (every day life) to practice these new things or skills, and to graduate from school (counseling) after meeting the goals/objectives set down by the program (the counseling plan set down by you and the counselor...objective, realistic, doable, and desirable) with "the personal expectation" that you will be much further (healthier) as an individual. in fact, you expect to become a new and better person as a result. but, in order to make this happen, you need to put yourself there first, expect from yourself and counselor that "genuine work" needs to take place, and to commit yourself to your progress.
even in depression, you can do great work.
i hope this helps.
Last edit by Thunderwolf on Oct 13, '05
Oct 13, '05I have been depressed for the last five years. Not a day goes by that I do not cry. This is what has helped me:
1. trying to go back to nursing -a career I had started a long time ago. I took a refresher course which really helped. Then I taught myself drug calculations with a workbook. I took it everywhere with me, as it really distracted me, and I felt better when I was doing it. I used to sing songs about the medications to remember them when I started thinking about my trauma that caused the depression. That's how desperate I was. Now I am constantly on Allnurses.com reading and learning and getting some positive feedback about my present nursing goals. Sometimes, out of nowhere, someone will respond to something I wrote and encourage me, and although I never hear from or see that person again, the positive encouragement stays with me all day, and I feel better. Like one nurse posted to me the other day that she would love to have me as part of her staff. It made my day! I am in the process of applying to graduate school. My goal is to be a psych.nurse. I am a believer that people who have been through things and get better can help other people, as empathy is so important. I know I can't work right now with the depression and some physical issues I am also recovering from, , but I am able to go to school online, and by the time I finish, maybe I will feel better. Other people have mentioned that having a goal helps, and it does-whatever your personal goal may be.
2. I had a lot of trouble seeing people and talking on the phone, but I found that IMing on AOL instant messaging really helped. I was able to talk to people online and express my feelings while I was not able to with the telephone or in person.
3. Just surfing the internet in general helped.
4. Reading helped me-fiction or biographies of people who had the same problems I had and books about nurses-real life stories
5. Watching Lifetime TV-true life stories and stories about women
6. Of couse I went for therapy and took meds-but like Thunderwolf said you can't be totally deoendent on that-you are not at therapy all day
7. I was in Arizona a few weeks ago, and the sunshine really helped me-you are lucky to live there lol
8. OK here is the most proactive thing I did-I went online to a dating service, met a man and married him-I know that doesn't apply to you-you are married-but it is an example of how being proactive helps.
Many days, I still don't want to get out of bed, but I force myself, and the day gets better. Just writing this to you has helped me today.
I truly hope we have all helped you a little in some way and given you some ideas. Keep posting, and let us know how you are doing. As you can see. we all care and are here for you. Krisssy