Monday, April 30, 2012

The Koan of My Life

I may have just realized the koan of my life - at least, my life just now:
Can you be depressed without blaming yourself? 
I know, this is not the major conundrum of the average life, though severe depression can hit anyone.  But it is for those of us who are bipolar or chronically depressed, or subject to the lows of illness, such as migraines or chronic pain- so as I think about it, a lot of us have this problem.

There could be other approaches for me, such as really thinking about the classic koan, "What was your original face before your mother and father were born?"  That points me to the highly hereditary nature of the kind of brain I have, which is called an illness or disorder.  Dis-order seems to fit pretty well.

If you start thinking how your parents were made by their culture and the events of their lives, you get insight into how they made you.  If I really sink into all that, and understand that this is how I was made before I had anything to say about it, that can solve the riddle above.  It is not my fault that I experience long periodic depressions.  I don't choose to feel like that.

And actually, that kind of penetration into the issue suggests to me that my habit of self-blame was also conditioned into me.  Therefore -
It doesn't make sense to blame yourself for your self-blame. 
But it is perfectly logical that you do that.  Of course you do.  You were conditioned to blame yourself.  So don't blame yourself for blaming yourself.  But obviously you have to blame yourself, because it is perfectly logical that, given your heredity and conditioning, you will do that. 
You have to love it.

There is something profound here that I won't attempt to explain any further.  But on a lighter note, it reminds me of the value of lightening up.  Though I don't know if you can do that by force of will . . . 

[image: tree peonies as van Gogh might have seen them in his worst mood]


  1. I can't explain why...but I deeply connect with this post...
    I came across your blog while "surfing" the net. Sounds say Big hugs to you from Japan- I have read a few of your posts and really enjoy them. This was my first comment-sorry for lurking so long.

  2. Can you watch your thoughts or your depression without going into story( cause, blame, etc)? What feeling that you can pinpoint and where that makes you believe you are in a cycle? Does a 'happy' cycle manifest itself in a different place? What seems to be your clue that the wave of life is pointing upward? Do you feel that you can lessen the down cycle, or that is more story? I am trying to pull back and not expect to regulate anything, and watch myself in the film of life. Do we really have any control or maybe that is where the problem begins?

  3. I really like and appreciate your blog. You speak to my often sad but often happy Buddhist heart.
    Much love and hugs from New Zealand