Day 13 AM Entry – My Climb Out of Depression

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a corrupted mind,
And suffering follows
As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.

All experience is preceded by mind,
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
And happiness follows
Like a never-departing shadow.

Dhammapada

I choose my actions and thoughts.

I need to own my choices.  I KNOW unskillful choices lead to unhappiness and skillful choices lead to happiness.  I know this!  Yet I persist day after day in making the same bad choices.  Why?  Why must I be so lazy?  So committed to my unhappiness? 

The actions I make, I choose to make.  There is no one standing over me, coercing me to play endlessly with my iPhone, check my emails, sit for hours doing nothing, preventing me from looking for a job or stopping me from going the gym on a regular basis.  Yet day after day those are indeed my actions. 

The thoughts I think, I choose to think.  There is no one forcing me to constantly ruminate, fantasize, daydream, or feel sorry for myself.  Yet day after day those are indeed my thoughts.

But the fact that I choose my thoughts might be less obvious to me since I’ve grown so accustomed to their eternal presence and niggling ways.  I’m usually so identified with and absorbed by my thoughts that I long ago began thinking my thoughts are ‘me!’  And perhaps this is the real key, the real beauty behind the mindfulness practices.  Through mindfulness I’m thrilled to learn that my thoughts are just thoughts.  That I am not my thoughts, nor or my thoughts ‘real.’  The problem is I’m being unmindful most of the time and as a consequence I no longer own my thoughts, my thoughts own me.  (I think this complex of overly identifying with our thoughts is what Eckhart Tolle means when he speaks of the “pain body.”)

I used to think words like ‘wholesome’ and ‘sin’ were corny.  I no longer think so.  I see how ‘sins’ aren’t just ‘bad’ (whatever that means) because some ‘God’ (who may or may not even exist) doesn’t want us to do them.  They are bad because they lead to suffering.  And this suffering (or ‘karma’ if you prefer) isn’t postponed to some future hell or purgatory, it happens immediately.  Our karma is the net effect of all our intentions.  When I foolishly engage in the three poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion, I create suffering, both for myself as well as others.

So I should endeavor to own all my choices, good or bad.  If I choose wisely, I will say “yes” to the things which elevate my consciousness and that create no suffering.  If I choose poorly, I will continue to keep my consciousness submerged in a deluded sea of suffering where I believe I am my thoughts and that I have no choice but to think them.

 I’ve titled my blog “Thoughts from the Cushion” yet so far, that is exactly what has been curiously absent.  I need to post about my choices, about my practice and about my freeing myself from this awful depression.

 

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