Thursday, July 28

Jai's Buddhist Journey (more still)

So, after that period of convergence I began to struggle with depression (or so I found out later), although I was convincing myself that I was being zen-like. I had allowed myself to get in a rut of non-active living. I was flowing from day to day with few cares or plans or concerns. I was allowing myself to settle, I had lost drive to accomplish or make changes. This job got supplanted by another but I maintained this lack of interest or energy.

At this same time I started to read about Feng Shui, I didn't practice it I just read about it. It interested me but the thing that was difficult for me to grasp was the fact that you had to do things with deliberate action. You couldn't just follow the Ba Gua and be done with it (although that is what my dearly beloved Tara tends to do), you had to believe that when you placed something in a position or you painted something a certain color you were do that to affect a change or to balance the energy of an area. I couldn't do anything with deliberate action so Feng Shui was interesting but not useful.

As the years melted into another and nothing was happening for me, life wasn't getting better nor was it getting worse (or so I thought) but slowly my depression was deepening. I was getting very frustrated at work but because it was a good company and an easy job I thought I had no right to complain. Finally, something broke, but once again it wasn't initiated by my own volition.

Once upon a time I met with a counselor (after trying Zoloft and some other prescription drug) but we could never meet a 2nd time. We played a lot of phone tag and I stopped trying. Then, out of the blue, one of the doctor's associates calls me. Over the next 2 months (weekly sessions) this Ph.D. student helped me realize exactly what was going on with me and that the problems I had were workable. Basically, she told me that everybody approaches things differently and that my ways weren't necessarily bad. What surprised me was how much better that made me feel, even though I hadn't thought I had a problem with self-esteem type things.

Two other things happened during the time I was seeing the therapist. First, I went to yoga weekly and yoga was teaching me how to regain lost focus. When I was in a pose and my mind started to wander I could always and would usually return focus on "getting deeper" into the pose. This has been one of the most useful tools I have gotten in years. When I find myself getting into the dumps or being less motivated or more frustrated than I should be I can almost always pull myself away from that and into a more productive frame of mind. Second, I picked up "How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This book gives pretty simple instructions on how to become a better person via "The Way", with an emphasis on peace and kindness.

And that's pretty much where I am in my personal growth and spiritual path and how I got here.

Oh, did I tell you that when I was a kid I wanted to be a Priest? That's a story for another day.
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