Summer 2001 Archive
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An anonymous healing. Posted by John on August 13, 2001 at 19:28:29:
In Reply to: How to say it without naming names~ posted by Depression is selfishness! on August 13, 2001 at 00:51:59:
With my much-publicized committment to the freedom of choices of you students here, I'm not going to second-guess your obscuring who you are,
and say that shouldn't be done around here. I have to take it for granted that it "felt right" to you, to do it that way.
As that gesture of intentional anonymity stood out in high relief for me, as I read onward I really couldn't figure out why you had done that.
Everything you are saying here is caring and loving. It is a gesture of anonymous kindness. Why the anonymity, I wondered. Perhaps, in some way
that I don't understand, that, too, as you understand it, is being a healing warrior.
I can think back to a couple of other times in Classroom Talk when a couple of you engaged anonymously with other students in the class, and on
those occasions it happened to be diatribes that were happening, and I supposed it seemed reasonable that the authors would not want to be known
by their classmates on those occasions, heh-heh, times of wounding stingers and vicious judgments. But we're all human around here. And that can
happen to any of us around here from time to time, as we see Rakesh and Jeff studying the anatomy of that very kind of phenomenology right now.
In our sleep, we conflict with others. And we don't realize that the nature of those conflicts lies in the conditioned patterns that we have been
unconsciously acting out, year after year. We don't see our own part in what we're doing. And we justify whatever happens by deciding that the
others are always to blame for it.
I'll get to that fascinating converation of Rakesh and Jeff in another post. (It seems the Fourth Grade is off to a flying start!) For now, I merely wish
to point up the interesting phenomenon that some of us in this class sometimes feel moved, or compelled to post anonymously, and keep their identity
secret from the rest of us.
So I pose *that finite behaviorism*, "acting-out anonymity," as one tiny integer of human behavior that can be studied by all of us here in the future, if
we care to do so. What is it that has certain human beings acting anonymously when they do? Are there different motives behind it? Of course,
every one of us always thinks we are justified and doing the best we can when we are acting-out stingers on other people.
So this class is here to ask the question: Is that true? Is that the best you can do?
And, as for this posting, you have done a simply marvelous job of it, Depression is selfishness! . . . . . if I may call you that. ;-) This is yet another land-
mark paper, a very can-do pioneering expression in its field.
What is the person doing here? There are no stingers at all. I would say he or she is making a gesture of highly educated healing kindness. And
whomever of us it may be directed to anonymously, it has found a real healing home here with me.
That's an interesting thing to note in our class. Any teaching or coaching that is being shared in this class at any given time is going to be especially
familiar and relevant—not just to one of us—to several of us at the same time! Just as the tips on narcissism "found a home" in the experiences of Rob,
who just showed up, so they have relevance to several others of you in this classroom (if the regulars show up). There are several Can-Do/Dictators
among us, several Teacher/Con Artists, several Player/Judges, a bunch of Artist/Rebels, several Hard Worker/Doormats, a bunch of Student/
Believers, a few Lover/Martyrs, and a couple, at least, of Healer/Kind Helpers in our group, that I've seen so far.
Indeed, if we have a shortage of examples of any one of the eight types among us now, it is in the Kind Helpers. And, lo and behold, along comes
Depression is selfishness!, coming out of Healer/Kind Helper, and shows us a beautiful burst of that kind of energy in this truly terrific posting. But
there's no ego-driven personality here. This is all essence, coming from his or her true Being, naturally, as a Healer.
Now you might think that the Coach is just blowing off a lot of hot air and flattery and compliments. But I'm here to tell you I know this fine piece of
teaching is healing, *in my own experience*, because it is obviously healing to me.
As one who has experienced episodic depression over the span of much of my life—sometimes severe and long-lasting—I can *really empathize* with
all that you say in this paper. I remember realizing that people on the outside, when I was being severely depressed, even though they knew I was
depressed, didn't really understand the distressfulness of what the experience of depression was like on the inside to me.
They seemed to minimalize it, and seemed to think it was virtually a "non-happening," so to speak, rather than active and intensely aggravating from
my perspective. I've felt isolated from people because of this lack of understanding of what it was being like in there for me. Others of you here
know what I mean. Because I was quiet and not very active from their perspective on the outside, they couldn't seem to understand what a powerful
agonizing process could get started going on in my thinking mind. To call this phenomenon a "dungeon of despair" is fair-languaging.
I've copied some notes from your paper onto a large card, and pinned it up on the wall as reminders to help me in my next go-round with this common
condition. About one out of three people have intermittant severe depression in most groups of people, anywhere you go.
I know it seems just as terrible and dark as you describe it to be from my own experience of it. Yet over the years, I've also learned that it's . . . only
It's just a condition that happens, one of the patterns of reactions that I habitually have in reacting to the weight and the impact of life as I am seeing it.
I don't suffer much with it any more, since realizing that. I mean I don't get into a lot of head trips and melodrama about it when I'm being depressed.
I recognize all that thinking and head-tripping is just a fiction that I make up. "I'm not worthy." "I can't do it." "I'm no good for anything any more."
"There's nothing I can do that matters." . . . that kind of typical depressed thinking. I don't do hardly any of that, any more. I've watched it awarely
in the past enough, and it's lost its plausibility with me, if you get what I mean. So when I'm being depressed, the focus of my healing efforts is
directed to the *immobilizing* effect of depression, the way depression gets a person sitting around or lying around and not doing anything.
Most therapists recognize that the first line of healing depression is getting the person up and moving, *doing things* like taking walks. My teacher
Mits used to say "This body loves to move." And it's true! My ordering that exercise machine (still not here yet) is like my getting a giant vitamin pill
for the prevention of depression in my life. When I get into depression, I *know* by this point in my life, that if I wish to get over it, I have to get up
and get moving. Having something neat to do is very healing. But even doing all the household chores will help me out of it for awhile. It is the
moving of the body that is the healing agency here. As the body gets moving again, the forgotten pleasure and natural enjoyment of moving arises
again in one's inward feelings.
And if you don't have anything to do at such a time, what I coach is that you make up any game that is worth playing, and actually play it. But,
whether it is silly or practical, you have to make up that game on your own. I can't do that part of it for you.
What your paper adds to this, Depression is selfishness!, is the idea that one can make the game that one makes up to heal depression be *for
somebody else's benefit*! Dynamite! I've never heard that idea in this context before. You are breaking new ground here. It makes perfect sense to
me. I get it! That's a better exercise than I would have thought of! And that's a great exercise for me to try out and practice on my own from here
on out. Thank you for posting that.
>selfishness causes depression . . . because it prevents us from doing the one thing that is guaranteed to bring happiness - cherishing others. Self-obsession smothers consideration for the needs of others and we stop giving love.
>The joy of making others happy is pure because we do not crave it again and again, unlike the joy of self-indulgence which is impure because it never brings satisfaction.
Fascinating! I'd never looked at it like that! Beautiful! I see!
>If we can see that the cause is in our own mind, we will understand that the cure is also in our own mind.
Yes, that is exactly what I've seen with my own episodic depressions. I don't "take them seriously" as emotional melodrama any more. I don't believe
the "Oh woe is me, I can't do it!" part any more. And I realize that what I need, obviously, in order to step out of what is a depressed state after all, is
to just get up, awarely, even very slowly, and practice just moving along. I've learned to walk my body out of my depressions that way, you could
>Buddha's prescription for happiness is to forget yourself and love others. . . . . our purpose in life should be to protect every living being from suffering. . . . . . Begin with small actions to help others.
Bravo, Depression is selfishness!, for a mindful warrior's job well done. That's a new exercise that's a part of my own healing practice from now on.
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