Meditation and Mental Health

Statue

∞ ∞ ∞

This morning I was led to a new blog The Existential Buddhist and Seth’s post Does All This Sitting Get Us Somewhere?  It reminded me that although I’ve been meditating for a couple decades, and teaching meditation for half that time, I forget how much it helps my mental health.  Even as I put together a presentation for the staff at my mental health clinic on Friday about the benefits of meditation, I forget to sit when my own illness is raging.  In part, Seth says:

We marinate in life and are cooked by it. It’s a process that happens, not something we accomplish. We didn’t build that. Things shift. We tire of hanging onto things. We cease repeating old mistakes. We laugh at ourselves. We open and soften. We come alive.

It’s not the sitting alone that does this. It’s every step we take on our path. It’s our understanding of impermanence, suffering, non-self, and emptiness. It’s our practice of compassion and generosity. It’s our letting go of past insults and injuries. It’s our growing respect for our bodies, our selves, our neighbors, our planet. All of this is reflected in each moment of sitting.

Does all this sitting get us somewhere?  No.  Sitting always gets us here.

For me, managing this illness is the same process.  Staying open and aware, allowing the powerful and dangerous feelings space, breathing into that space, brings me back to me and now.  Today I will sit.  Right now.  And I will remember me.

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Victoria Treder
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 08:41:59

    Nobody ever did any harm by sitting for a bit.

    Reply

  2. docrob50
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 10:18:51

    Three days ago I was with my depressive friend having pizza. Since starting back into treatment, I’ve watched his moods and his behavior start to lift. Today though all those voices and stories – fear and worry and anxiety filled – are back and when they start talking very loudly – he forgets where he was a day or even 3 days ago – in his mind and his mood. Awakening is simply remembering, so I’ve been told and if memory serves……we forget we have a noble heart, we forget moments and acts of unselfish generosity, we forget all the kindnesses felt and kindnesses given.
    We forget our essential nature………..as we forget to set the timer…….. Thanks for pointing the existential buddhist out.

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Oct 10, 2012 @ 10:35:48

      It is incredible to me how the illness wipes out memory. I have to be reminded of these things every time I plummet. Every. Time. It’s like the illness is the eraser on my blackboard mind. There’s chalk dust, but I have no idea what from.
      Your friend just needs the reminders. He’s lucky to have you.

      Reply

      • docrob50
        Oct 10, 2012 @ 22:54:02

        well thanks Sandy Sue but I also have you….and you continue to surprise and inspire. I think he will understand the blackboard mind and the illness as the eraser. Damn you are good with words creating visual images!

      • Sandy Sue
        Oct 11, 2012 @ 02:59:19

        Thanks, buddy.

  3. Kathryn McCullough
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 18:11:38

    I need to meditate more. Great point, Sandy. Didn’t you love that FP post today. Saw you had liked it.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Reply

  4. Penny
    Oct 10, 2012 @ 19:16:43

    What a timely post for me! I connect with this on so many levels! Thank you, Sandy Sue!

    Reply

  5. dearsuburbia
    Oct 11, 2012 @ 12:31:09

    Thank you so much! Oh, how I needed this reminder just now. Thank you. Peace.

    Reply

  6. littlesundog
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 21:37:27

    This is a post I’ll be reading again and again. You know I find your work inspiring… and sometimes it’s those little nudges and reminders are what we need to hear the most. Thank you for these refreshing tidbits!

    Reply

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