Wisps of Freedom
Wisps of Freedom ©2020 Eric Platt

On Beyond Depression

I was diagnosed with “clinical depression” 30 years ago or so, and told I’d be on Prozac (a popular SSRI antidepressant at the time) for the rest of my life, akin to how a diabetic needs to take insulin.

Over the years I learned how what the doctors said was a lie, and the society we live in promotes the lie, and I eventually saw how to be free of the lie. Today I am 100% free of any “anti-depressants” (other than a cup of English Breakfast tea 😉 ), and have been for decades.

The lie is that we are separate entities, and that core un-truth spawns countless others — such as that we are basically just meat robots, deficient in chemicals or whatever — and places an enormous chip on our shoulders, a burden, telling us we are unloved and unworthy, without the infinite esteem of God as it were. The “God” is really our self (or “the Self”), our real existence, Nature, the real perceiver behind all perception, universal intelligence, the Totality, non-objective Reality, whatever you want to call “It”,  despite appearances to the contrary… despite what we think we need from the drugstore to be happy, or need from a lover or a bank account or some other object, condition, accomplishment, activity, or state of affairs. (To be clear I’m not anti-drug at all, and take aspirin and ibuprofen for example to help with the occasional headache or toothache, and trying various mind-altering substances such as psychedelics or anti-depressants, for some is a worthy experiment to see their effects and limitations).

Choosing Freedom or Choosing Misery

If what what we are is pure or absolute freedom, and we have ultimate choice, then it follows that anxiety and depression, at some “level” is a choice. Just as some people love to complain, some people secretly love to be miserable, and share that misery!

See clearly that it’s not a person getting what they want, it’s recognition (direct) that one is already experiencing exactly everything and only what they want, whether seen or not, and making that whole “dynamic” as it were, conscious, and seeing where “giving the order” to get what supposedly doesn’t want (according to the mind), is also getting what one wants. Therefore why not make it what one wants.

It’s so simple it’s difficult to express.

True and lasting self-love and self-esteem have nothing to do with what we’ve been told they are about. There is so much love and esteem available already, you wouldn’t believe it. Yes you can build up certain skills and abilities in the body-mind over time, and this is all well and good for doing things in the world, but what you are doesn’t need anything to be purely what it is, and always is, already. The heart knows what the mind is barely catching up to.

These comments, or observations, applies to anxiety as well, since they have the same root in misguidance. We take a simple misguidance and blow it up into a huge deal, a drama worthy of a novel and a movie. We use a microscope when we should be opening the aperture of the camera lens full scope.

What you are is infinite openness, infinite love, pure happiness, complete peace. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t able to feel it all, experience it now totally. What matters is that in your journey you are taking steps upward, overall, over time. You can look back and see (honestly) that it’s been an upward path, and have gratitude, Now, for life. Anything else is the aberrant, wayward mind – like a child that needs to be reigned in a little. Or a lot. 🙂 

Behind the noise of the mind is a Great Silence. A beautiful, wonder-full, incomprehensible, infinite Presence, that is indescribable. It’s what you Are, before anything else (like a human being). 

It’s remarkable how utterly insignificant we are, and so magnificent at the same time. What an extraordinary life.

(You can also reference an article about an experience of minor depression from a few years ago Dialogue With A Sage: Don’t Hold On – you can skip the long preamble in it and go directly to the dialogue if you want…).

The following recent dialogues are worthy of conveying here – how a seemingly tiny switch in outlook, if you will, has enormous power to change one’s view of life and how it’s feeling, is experienced. It switches us from some unnatural learned tendencies, to seeing life as it is, more and more, naturally, the effortless giving-ness of the totality:

 

Dialogue 1: A Depressed Friend In Western Europe


T:

Am in a bit of a hole currently

E:

Hole?
– break up with the girlfriend?

T:
Kind of unhappy
No breakup

E:
Break up with yourSelf then

T:
Just a bit depressed

E:
Well, enjoy…

T:
I’m not enjoying

E:
while it lasts…
Seems like it will go on forever doesn’t it.

T:
I know it won’t last but… It keeps on returning apparently.

Even though I can see that all is well, I am unchanged etc.

There is no energy, not much I feel I have to give right now.

And negligence.

E:
And if it doesn’t, see if when you are in the mood to see if you could be with it forever.
Like really see it, as a thing… like a dark warm blanket, really feel it, comfort it.

Deeeeep reeeest

T:
I’ve already overslept within this blanket the past days.

E:
See then that it’s appearing in you instead of seemingly in it.

T:
Today at least I’m cleaning up and doing chores again.

E:
Not sleep but meditate.

Yeah activity, getting out of yourself, doing shit for others is good too.

It’s a very self-involved pattern.

T:
Yeah

E:
Wrapped around the head

T:
Stupid.
It is stupid I mean

E:
Yeah
I know

Be gentle, loving, see the harshness of thinking.
Release the grip
if you want

T:
Yes it’s harsh.

E:
If and when you want

T:
Why on earth did I ever fall for this?

E:
I know it feels like it grips you.

T:
And then over again

E:
Game we play with ourselves

until we’re over it

a little indulgence
of self-importance

T:
Thank you Eric

E:
Anytime

Stressed and depressed are related in that they are both a form of stress except that depression has more negativity in it and more a feeling sorry for oneself, and critical thinking about oneself or others or the world or whatever, whereas stress is more fear-based; but they both have fear since they are predicated on the separate self sense.
From what I’ve seen…
But yeah, both ultimately lies or based therein, the body obediently marching to the tune of the mind, and releasing chemicals or doing whatever.
So you can approach it from the mind or the body. But of course ultimately as you know you have to transcend both.

[Later]

T:
I was writing a little and after we talked, as well as talking to mom, somehow rediscovered the truth behind all of this.
And it was a beautiful moment and a shift back to this neutrality.

E:
Beautiful.

Have been chipping away at a book or article about depression for years. Made some progress today, thanks to our dialogue.
Wanted to make sure I was on solid ground would actually be helpful rather than describing it (even if it’s from my experience) and getting the reader more involved in that thinking, or talking about it theoretically…

T:
Oh that’s great to hear!

E:
Yes, depression is very widespread, and misunderstood, and so many cultural assumptions about it (and behind it of course) and what to do about it.

T:
Agreed.
It’s a phantom I’ve known since early childhood.
Or rather never really known.

E:
Had lots of first hand experience when I was younger – “clinical” depression they called it – and many explorations of pathways to “cure”…

T:
Yeah. My mom was depressed when I was very young and I didn’t know what it even meant.
She was just acting incredibly odd
And later they said I have it too. Great. Now I’m odd too? 🙂

E:
I didn’t know what it was until a therapists told me in college it was “depression”. This was a little while after I’d had broken up with a girlfriend, and felt horrible, empty, confused, like navigating through black molasses… all I knew how to do was problem-solve and analyze lol.
Tried so many things – psychotherapists, drugs, lifestyle things, so many ideas out there… over the years…Zen was a good start, and my own deep intuitions, and a dream about innate peace and false imagination, and then finding spiritual psychology was the first handle I started to get on it… many years to get to non-duality. But “depression” is just label for one mood level pattern, and the happiness and root of unhappiness is totally universal.

Anxiety is closely related.

Yes I realized my father was depressed, and he didn’t know it. Escaped through work and other addictions. And my mother had extreme anxiety when she got older.

I remember a spiritual teacher, after I was talking about something to do with happiness and society, saying “most people are depressed” haha.

The medical model looks for causes like genes and chemicals and family and circumstances, and places people “at effect”. Then the only thing one can do is “manage” or “cope”. Not a real solution in the long run.

T:
Yes that’s it.
The root is deeper of course.
It’s a mistake in the thinking structure, that has invented a complete false idea of a self.
Well we know that now.

E:
Yup, it’s just another surface spinoff of thinking and feeling to be separate, at root. Not being established or “knowing” the Self takes many forms. Some beings seem to pick depression…

T:
Being as you are which is pre-verbal, pre-concept… just is, free, manifesting all that is, flowing. And few talk about that.
I had a glimpse and a deep understanding of this as a young child and talked to teachers, therapists etc. hinting at this.

People hated it.
It seems to threaten this sense of security in society.
Threatens the jobs, the whole thing…

I had these huge pre-verbal experiences, some shattering in a way, and it didn’t fit into any models – took so long to get a handle on what was going on, real. But art-making and writing were, are, really great ways, for some of us.

Yes. All great art communicates this actually… and when we don’t understand we actually completely miss it.
And today’s society, I think at large is oblivious to it
At least it appears that way.

E:
Yes, the philosophy department I studied at was absolutely against anything intuitive or spiritual or admitting to Consciousness, except a couple of European philosophy profs that hinted at it occasionally.

T:
Yes same here.
I had one cool teacher! He hinted at it. And he was in high school and really actually an actor, but couldn’t make a living with that.

E:
I had an art teacher at the university that was into yoga and Zen, had that organic sense of artistic expression…. That was very refreshing. She really let me do my thing art-wise.

T:
It’s pretty cool what a big difference that one teacher can make no?
In an ocean of dimwits, haha, pardon me.

E:
An ocean of yeah, stupidity – “ignorance” and jerks (egos). We get experiences and hints of freedom in art-making or from art.
Or yes from special teachers – that there’s something of value above the ordinary, in the transcendent.

Don’t want to be dependent on one thing like art-making or teaching for it. Thus the Art of Living.

T:
Yes. It resonates within us because somehow we recognize this joy… it’s so amazing really. It’s as if it rings an inner bell that pierces through time.

E:
Yes exactly

T:
Because we know ourselves more deeply than we think.
Yeah I’m like that too. I don’t focus it on one thing. Who knows where it will lead but at least I feel somehow it has grown.
Suddenly there are teachers like Rupert [Spira] and Francis [Lucille], other people entering my life who are on similar paths, and more of those too!

E:
“Because we know ourselves more deeply than we think” – the game of pretending to be a human-being.

T:
Haha! Yes.

E:
Cool. Nice when those connections happen.
When you get to trust that “aspect” of life more and more, until it becomes the main thing, or the “new normal”.

Oneness is not part time 🙂

Well I am going to go finish some work I was doing, then watch the sunset…
Good talking to you

T:
You too Eric. Enjoy the sunset. I’m off to sleep. 3AM here!

 

Dialogue 2:

“Dear Eric,

I have been reading your writings in the last few weeks. I am experiencing a deep and painful period of anxiety and depression and wanted to reach out to you. I have been on a ‘spiritual path’ for a while and although I felt like I had glimpses beyond the suffering in my mind and body I seem to continually revert back to a state of fear. It seems I am very identified with my thoughts and the sensations in my body. I don’t know what I am asking you to do but your writings seem to cut through some of the chaos. I’m afraid that I will always be this way and I want to try to find a way out do that I can be here for my daughter.

Love,
A”

Dear A –

Thanks for the note. I’m glad you reached out.

I battled with depression and anxiety for many years when I was younger. Little wisps of it try to seduce me into its embrace now and then, but it just reminds me to think and feel gratitude for Life now.
I would recommend, to just notice some things (in no particular order):

The thoughts are about a “me” or an “I”. They are also often negative, and about the past or future.

Just listen in on the thinking – it’s just sounds, blah blah, blah – like to a conversation, and be as neutral as you can.

Thoughts are felt, and feelings trigger thoughts – a loop. It’s only energy, movement. No big deal.

The tight grip the thinking seems to have is the self-aggrandizement you are doing. Don’t judge it, just see it, and laugh.

See about opening out, letting go… and, it’s not worth keeping, so why smell the garbage as it’s thrown out?

Trying to change or fight thinking is a losing battle.

With Love,
Eric

Hi Eric,

I just have a question about thought…. I notice that all the thoughts that cause suffering are about me and are negative. These thoughts feel true and are backed up (like you say) with a feeling of terror and the loop goes round and round. Because the thoughts involve ‘me’ they feel personal rather than impersonal (as I’ve heard from certain teachings) and each thought e.g. you are wasting your life appears to be backed up with evidence e.g. I’m struggling to engage in activities such as work or social engagements. All of this seems to arise simultaneously. When I look for this ‘me’ I cannot find it BUT I still have a strong felt sense of a me that is there but not there. I think this is the self-aggrandisement you mention.

My question is this….can we see thinking as not personal if we still have a strong felt sense or belief in a me (even if it can’t actually be located or pinned down)

Thanks again,
A x

Hi A –

You said “My question is this….can we see thinking as not personal if we still have a strong felt sense or belief in a me (even if it can’t actually be located or pinned down) ”

A belief is a thought: one held to be untrue even though true, thus voluntarily held (I’ll deal with the feeling level later). So what you are asking about belief is, to rephrase your question:
“Can we see thinking as not personal if we see it as personal?”

The answer is no. You cannot simultaneously think those two thoughts.
You cannot simultaneously think 2 + 2 = 4 and 2 + 2 = 5.

You may want to look at all the beliefs regarding awareness being limited, dependent on the body, separate. Go ahead and think of every reason you think it’s true, and we will debunk all of them, together if you like. This is the process of using reason and logic to deconstruct the edifice of lies and beliefs we’ve adopted from the culture, from family, friends, media, schooling, and so on.

In general, I get the impression you’ve glimpsed some truth, but there is resistance.
We want to hang on for dear life to the idea of being a body, a person, the personal thinking and feeling. So totally Welcome the resistance. Don’t resist resistance.

And of course you are free to hang on to whatever you aren’t ready to let go of. It is a choice to go along with a thought or a feeling. No one can force you to, or force you not to. We are free, ultimately, as the Being we are. If we want to feel controlled by thoughts and feelings, or to try and control them or control (seeming) others, we are free to do that too.

We will hang onto the thoughts and feelings we so artfully created, our special treasured creation, our sexy toys, the children of the mind, for as long as we want, until we are tired of them. You will become tired of your toys.

In the meantime the mind will come up with all kinds of clever justifications and confusions. That’s OK. Welcome that too. Being confused is another thought and a feeling: “I am confused”.

You created all this, so you can uncreate it.

Keep it very simple. The Reality you are is so simple the mind cannot grasp it. The mind loves complexity, drama.

In what does all this thinking and feeling appear? It appears in You, the you that never changes.

What are you – are you that which appears, or that in which it all appears?

How could you know it unless it appears in awareness, now?

What is reading these words right now, is it a body or is it awareness?
Is it real: does it change or is it a constant, permanent? Can you locate awareness itself? Does it have a location, is it in space and time?

What changes is what you are not, the motion.
Motion, and time and space go together.
What is real never goes away, never disappears: the “stillness” as it were.
But that is just a word. What is the experience?

There is only one thought at a time. It’s only another thought that says there are many. This one unitary awareness-being.

Don’t struggle with thoughts or feelings, or add any thoughts to what’s there.

Finally, you can also work on the feeling level, the body appearance level, as a kind of yoga of feelings, or a science of feeling if you will. With some presence of mind and without distractions, see, observe clearly the feelings in their reality, in the Now. They arise as sensations only, when there are no concepts about them, nothing from the past. No story. Look at them freshly. Just notice their behavior. They are in constant flux. That is all they are: sensations. See how they come and go, arise and dissipate, like vaporous clouds in the sky.
No one owns the pain or fear. No need to turn it onto a story.

Warmly,
Eric

 

Dear Eric,
Thank you so much for replying, I’m very grateful that you would take the time to do so.

I really get what you are saying about the total paradox of trying to see thoughts as not personal while believing they are personal!

I am reading and re reading your reply and finding it so useful.

Could you clarify for me what you mean by this:

You may want to look at all the beliefs regarding awareness being limited, dependent on the body, separate.

I have to admit that I often struggle with the language around awareness and consciousness and have never really asked (probably for fear of looking stupid). I don’t really know what this means. I guess I feel like awareness is somehow being created by my brain, that it is localised in my head and is a bit like ‘seeing’ but I have brief moments where I see that I am aware OF my body and brain. When I close my eyes I am still aware and that awareness is no longer limited/confused with my visual field and on occasions my body kind of disappears (although it’s still there). I’m not sure if that makes sense? I think I’m definitely stuck on awareness being dependent on the body.

You also say in your message that it is a choice to go along with a thought or feeling.

I get very stuck here because it doesn’t feel this way. I don’t have a direct experience of feeling anxious or having anxious thoughts and choosing not to go along with them.

Kindest regards,
A

 

Hi A – Apologies for the delay  – was getting set up on a new computer, and also getting ready for a trip, among other things.  

 
Regarding the experiences of the body you mentioned: 
Think of the analogy of TV monitors and a camera somewhere monitoring a scene. The fact that the video images appear on the TV monitors does not at all imply that the images are local to the monitor. We could say the camera is perceiving, and the location of the monitors “perceiving” the images says nothing at all about the location of the camera. In that sense, the camera is “non-local” and is the Perceiver-in-Chief. 
This analogy is simply pointing to the fact that just because there seems to be local perception, in no way implies that which perceives is also local. This is just an assumption. 
 
This is easier to see with respect to time: we don’t have much of a problem seeing that it’s the same awareness which perceived us eating breakfast yesterday as the awareness eating dinner tonight. But when it comes to space, it seems quite far-fetched to say that it’s the same awareness perceiving me eating dinner here as it is perceiving a man at exactly the same time in Madagascar eating dinner. But in fact it is the case. 
 
The origin of this confusion is the fact that we usually see Consciousness as mind-like: we mistake the contents of consciousness for consciousness. So the content of consciousness would be all the sensations, perceptions and thoughts that are me “having dinner” in contrast to all the sensations, perceptions and thoughts of the man in Madagascar “having dinner”. Those are indeed different. But Consciousness, the ultimate perceiver, is the same for all contents, all minds. The minds, bodies and worlds are multifarious, but reality is one Consciousness. 
 
You could experiment with your sensations and perceptions in order to loosen up the erroneous ways of perceiving. If you really look at the raw facts of sensations, without any interpretation from mind activity, you will see what you see: that they are in flux, come and go, never the same, and therefore unreal (like objects in a dream) and vanish forever once gone. They were mere movements, or what we call “energy”. This is true of feelings and emotions too. Feelings are just sensations that we associate with thought. 
This is the point of the yoga of non-duality in Kashmir Shaivism, the tantric path as it were. 
 
That will give you something to chew on, and practice with… 
 
As regards to the experience of feeling like you are not able to *not* have anxious thoughts and feelings. This also relates to the belief that awareness arises from the brain. 
I could go at length debunking the ideas that it’s the brain and that you have no choice (using logic and intuition), but I don’t want to write that article right now (I spent years investigating these ideas and it would be a very long tract indeed). 
The mind can manufacture thoughts and feelings endlessly, including objections and questions, as long as you feel and think to be separate, and subconscious desires and fears are driving thinking. 
A more direct way is to suggest you do a meditation. Here are a couple:
 
 
 
                        ~0~
 
1. 
 
Sit comfortably so there are no distractions. 
 
Allow the totality of sensations, perceptions and thoughts to arise and go, like clouds and birds in the sky.  
 
 
Now, just for this moment, and only the best you can:
 
Could you let go of wanting to stay stuck, or invested, in whatever the mind might be suggesting.
 
You can go into them later if you want, but only for this moment, 
allow yourself to be as truthful as you can, 
as real as you Are.
 
And you’re letting it be so, when you Open your attention
and allow yourself not to be interested
in anything the mind might be suggesting.
 
The sweetness when one allows oneself to just be.
And allow the silence to be as it is, naturally present,
the natural self-cleaning happens… 
 
Self-cleaning means the tendency to not hold on to sensations called feelings or emotions
as they are allowed to naturally become what they’re made out of: just energy. The energy of life.
 
So instead of what’s happening when you feel this movement within you
is that you’re honoring Life, 
instead of honoring what is not real:
an imagined object
like thoughts or feelings.
 
So just for this moment, welcome wanting to maintain imagined objects… 
and allow the reality of silence to just Be.
 
Yes, allow the intelligence of Silence to take charge
and bring you to the highest that you’re meant to experience, and Be, 
 
and Be 
and Be
.
 
 
 
2. 

Could you just be here.

Could you just be free from any agenda.

Can you welcome wanting to be pushed and pulled by thoughts and feelings.

Can you welcome wanting to avoid or not to avoid thoughts and feelings.

Can you welcome wanting to be attracted, or reject them.

In other words, can you welcome wanting to be fascinated by thoughts or feelings.

Yes, so Welcome the idea that there is such a thing as a problem. Just for this moment. 

A problem is something that wants to be resolved, understood, wanting to find a solution. Because as you want to find a solution, then you want to hold onto the problem.
 
You are always welcoming. Whether you like it or not, you were welcoming all that suffering.
But now you are conscious. 
Right Now you are now consciously noticing the dynamics of mind, of thoughts and feelings.
Before, it was always there, but you were not conscious of it;
you were not conscious of the fact that the reason they were there was that you were welcoming them. 
 
The thing is, if you welcome them, you don’t have to own them;
so can you welcome wanting to own thoughts or feelings. 
They are very expensive – 
they cost pounds and pounds and pounds of unhappiness.
 
So what you are is naturally welcoming, yes, welcomes everything, but doesn’t need to hold onto anything. 
Particularly when you see it for what it is – only
imagined thoughts, imagined limitations, imagined feelings. 
 
Don’t put the spotlight into the mind. 
Stop focusing into the mind offerings.
 
Be the light that you are. 

meestereric

6 Comments

  1. don salmon on November 16, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    excellent in every way.

    Just a note for any readers who harbor doubts such as, “but it’s REALLY a physiological problem, a “chemical imbalance.’

    David Burns (one of the leaders in cognitive behavioral therapy, and a relatively recent convert to mindfulness – thought he’s a bit wiser than pop mindfulness fashions would have it) was one of the main researchers studying the “chemical imbalance” theory back in the 1970s. By the late 1970s, the team had concluded – conclusively, without a shred of doubt – that there was not a single shred of evidence – not one scin-f’ing-tilla’ – for the chemical imbalance theory..

    What happened?

    (1) Drug companies had a LOT of money to make selling chemicals (Marcia Angell and MANY others have solid evidence for this; this is not some wacko conspiracy theory)

    (2) A lot of people REALLY liked that idea of shedding all responsibility for depression and anxiety – “Hey, what can I do? I’ve got a serotonin problem.”

    Burns has a wonderful illustration of how this works in his book, “When Panic Attacks.” He is frequently countered by people saying, “But Prozac (Zoloft, whatever) WORKED for me!”

    So here’s what Burns tells them:

    All research to date – the past 40+ years – shows that anti-depressants have a cure rate of about 41-42%. Therapy has a cure rate for depression about 41-42% (that is, talk therapy; if you include somatic/mindfulness and non dual therapies, it would be far higher, but researchers don’t seem to want to look at that – wonder why (s;/). Ok so far – but placebos have a cure rate of about 40%.

    That means, Burns tell us, if we haven’t gotten the point yet, if you give a million people a placebo, 400,000 of them will be “cured.”

    He calls this imaginary placebo “placebin.” And they’ll be going on Oprah and telling the world how Placebin cured them> And the really funny thing is – I’ve met people like this – they will INSIST, I tell you, INSIST – that a mistake was made. They were utterly miserable for years, and nothing worked, no therapy, no other pill until placebin came along. no no no, they didn’t get the placebo.

    But they did and it cured them.

    So skeptics and debunkers and doubters, free yourself from your chains, let go of your blinders, you ARE happiness, how can you not be happy?!

  2. don salmon on November 16, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Oh, and I especially love this – Zoloft (an “anti depressant” if you haven’t heard of it) did WORSE than the placebo. One study I saw said it had a 27% cure rate.

    27%.

    And I’ve met people on Zoloft and told them this and told them if they’re feeling better it’s THEM – it’s YOU.

    And they still want to believe it’s the pill that did it.

    Sigh.

    • meestereric on November 17, 2020 at 11:42 am

      Hi Don – Good to hear from you again (hope I don’t start another distraction from your work haha).

      I tried a few times to write an article or book about depression, starting off with debunking myths about it. But it’s quite a chore to debunk them them all and do the job justice. And there are already articles covering the fact that, for example, the “serotonin hypothesis” has no actual, logical basis of evidence to support it, other than the drug companies, doctors, media and public constantly repeating the faith (can you say “propaganda”? haha). Not only is it one of “correlation is not causation” but as you pointed out, the numbers relative to a placebo are, well, revealing to say the least. And yes, there are huge profits to be made in the anti-depressant (and anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, ANTI-whatever drug business). So instead of fighting that war, I focused on being Happy. Then what follows, follows.

      It’s a fascinatingly persistent illusion and belief: that it’s the brain and the body that cause feelings. The truth is, a feeling when seen, is a sensation. It kind of loses all the big story, the front page news when seen as it is. A dragon without the flame thrower for breath.

      There seems to be evidence, on the surface for the brain-mind causal story: if you drink a liter of vodka, there is definitely a change in the mind. Same with whacking the head with a 2 x 4. And if you thoroughly believe that mental state and the perceptions and sensations and thoughts and feelings and concept of a body and self image are *you*, then it seems to be altering who you are, who we feel to be via perception and sensation, and the feelings and thoughts are whacked down for a brief period of relief. If you don’t, and more and more identify with Reality, with omnipresent “Consciousness” or whatever you want to call the unseen seer, then life unfolds a very different way. It’s so simple that it’s nearly impossible to explain, unless someone already understands.

      That very simplicity is why it’s so hard to grasp by the mind. It’s not even seen: the open secret. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t life extraordinary? The hyper-involved toy that universal Consciousness has created with the mind, that is the mind-body-world, is quite a seductive toy hahaha. An exquisite piece of art.

      In any case, it follows from the model of reality that is the religion of our culture – materialism and neuroscience, and that consciousness arises from matter and is mind-like (that last part is very important to understand) – that:
      #1: We will get depressed and/or anxious thinking and feeling ourselves to be material objects, with a limited span of time to get in all the toy playing, traveling, fucking, a good story, whatever, and needing other material objects, people, places, to be happy, and competing and fighting and hating and stressing and fearing etc… all seems rather pointless, stupid, crazy, mean, awful… what’s the point? The losses and pains and fears…
      #2: Reaching for drugs or other objects as a cure, or at least *relief*, and
      #3: Going for temporary solutions, given the assumption what is real is presumed to be all that is changing, temporary phenomena of mind, body, world.

      But as I am seeing it more and more, it’s really about Celebration, not seeking. It’s about giving, not getting. The dance, in the present. About enjoying and being at peace, naturally. Future? What future… ever been there? Purpose? According to who?

      I once talked to a doctor, a general physician, in Southern California (I lived in San Diego at the time), who admitted that most people that came to him—something like 70 to 80 percent, I don’t remember the exact number he gave—came because of psychological issues. They may not have recognized that they were depressed or anxious, but the vague symptoms they reported, and their general physical health being good, made it clear to him that there was nothing actually physically wrong with them. So, most of his prescriptions were for antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Now that is a very depressed and anxious society! And the fact is, antidepressants only address symptoms, and not what is at the root of suffering.

      In continental Europe and the USA, the ground water and drinking water contain trace amounts of antidepressants, benzodiazepines (for example Valium), and anticonvulsants. Most of the pills we pop go right through our bodies: that is, 80% of the chemicals are excreted. And, unwanted drugs are also flushed down toilets. A study a few years ago showed that something like 1/6 to 1/5 or more of Americans took antidepressants from 2011 to 2014, and the rate has only increased since then (imagine what it is now, during the “pandemic” fears! The psychotherapists I know have a booming business at present). For women it’s more, and for women over 60, it was almost one quarter (25%) of them were taking these nasty pills.

      When I experimented with SSRIs (like Prozac) in the late 80’s, I noticed the entire body system was affected – and not in good ways: felt out of balance at basic levels like sex drive and ability to have an orgasm or feel it at all, sleep whacked out, felt disassociated, like a zombie, very *numb* overall. The “medications” work by numbing the feelings so one can “function” and be “productive” according to the status quo (what psychiatry and much of psychiatry is about: conformity to society). It’s not surprising since the serotonin system is so fundamental to the animal body.

      Some notes I wrote 3 years ago:

      “For Your Consideration

      Depression is NOT (ultimately):

      circumstantial (externally caused)
      endogenous (biologically caused)
      chemically caused condition
      genetic defect
      weakness
      moral failing
      disease
      flaw
      complicated
      medical problem
      needing to be controlled, manipulated, stamped out, fought, destroyed, killed, forced out

      It is in fact:

      innocent spiritual “error”
      ignorance (ignoring what is, awareness of awareness)
      simple
      funny
      divine
      beautiful
      all part of the whole
      Truth, Beauty, Love

      Because who you thought you were
      does not in fact exist
      is not real.”

  3. don salmon on November 17, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Perfect distraction – setting up a Business Facebook Groups page. After one hour of complete failure (none of the settings for editing were available), deleted the group I had started and formed another one there. All settings for editing appeared. Magic.

    All great stuff. To me, despite the skepticism of my philosopher friends, I still find Bernardo Kastrup’s takedown of materialism the simplest. Here a dialog between Questioner A and Questioner B

    A. What is my direct experience?

    B. One Unified Field of Awareness (“UFA” from now on). But the whole “experience” of awareness is just something created by a purely physical brain, isn’t it? (this is actually the position of “secular Buddhist” Stephen Batchelor, and Yoga Sutras “expert” Chip Hartranft, Patanjali being one of those naive primitive Indians who foolishly mistook phenomenological experience for “Reality”)

    A. Where is this “brain” you speak of?”

    B. Why, it’s right here (points to brain in laboratory)

    A. I am aware of one aspect of this UFA, but I don’t see that calling it “physical” adds anything to our understanding of it.

    B. You mean, when we aren’t looking at it, the brain is not there? It’s “physical” because it continues to be there when we aren’t looking at it.

    A. What do you mean by “we”? And what do you mean by “there” – and what do you mean by “it” and “physical.”

    B. Silence

    ***

    You really can stop with unified field of awareness. Nobody can ever find anything else. Unfortunately, Bernardo has gone beyond that in his philosophizing and created all kinds of silly excess concepts, but maybe you have to do that to get published in Scientific American.

    By the way, you put “pandemic” in quotes, by which I guess I’m assuming you think it’s maybe part of a conspiracy theory?

    • meestereric on November 17, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      >> By the way, you put “pandemic” in quotes, by which I guess I’m assuming you think it’s maybe part of a conspiracy theory?

      No, just wary of concepts (and all the narratives being spun, including “conspiracy theories” – are even worse: a whole story of concepts!). They have a way of promoting themselves in the mind as representing something – in other words catalysts for ignorance as it were – that is, thinking we know more than we know, and also the imagination creating all kinds of scary and inaccurate images, spurred by a sound like the sounds of the word “pandemic”. That’s all.

      I proceed very carefully with respect to worldly knowledge too. Facts of consciousness are immediate and given and self-evident; facts of the world not so easy (that’s why we have the whole process of scientific investigation and discovery, including skepticism, hypothesis, testing, peer review, cross-checking, replication of results, etc.). I do research when it comes to world “stuff.” And use caution, but have no fear with respect to bodily things, like staying healthy and immune. And of course political facts are even more in the realm of pure “spin”, optics, a game of who-has-the-best-lies-to-convince-the-public. Unfortunately science (certain parts of it especially) has gotten more and more polluted with politics and new and old religions (but that’s whole ‘nother story…).

      Not-knowing is knowing, is where it’s at: Openness, not assuming, seeing. That’s true science.

  4. don salmon on November 17, 2020 at 11:57 am

    that opening of the dialog should have been something like “What is your direct experience at this moment?” or “Describe your direct experience….”

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