The Lessons of Depression

My girlfriend Eleanor Tara wrote an awesome article on the Lessons of Depression:

Here are her top 3 habit changing recommendations to Overcome Depression:

Habit Change #1: Putting things into our bodies that make us depressed → Putting things into our bodies that help us heal

Habit Change #2: Staying in misaligned relationships and careers → Letting go of what no longer serves us

Habit Change #3: Not paying attention to our surroundings → Consciously choosing our environment

What I love most about her article is how she frames the experience of depression not as an illness to be medicated away, but rather as an experience that is trying to teach us something very important about ourselves.

And how learning these lessons is essential for us to align our lives with our highest purpose and our soul’s deepest calling.

I have experienced extended episodes of depression multiple times in my life, have supported numerous friends through depression myself, and consider it a very important topic that I plan to continue to write about. This is a beautiful and wise article that is deeply aligned with my own experience, perspective and recommendations.

Why Time Actually Flies

Lots of people are posting this article:http://maximiliankiener.com/digitalprojects/time/

However I think it’s Bullshit.

The creator of this project is relying on a theory of perception that Time Flies because we experience life as a fraction of total life experience.

Or Perception of Time flying by = Amount of Life Experience / Total Life Experience.

However, I would argue the experience of time flying is more likely a function of novelty or lack thereof.

Interestingly, these are correlated. Everything is novel when you’re born and most adults fall into patterns of stasis and experience little novelty. So this theory would seem to be correct for most boring adults, which are most adults.

But if you are continually challenging yourself and growing, time will not speed up.

Your adulthood will not flash before your eyes and be over in an instant.

And even that is just from the perspective of what Daniel Kahneman would call the Remembering Self.

Every moment can be experienced afresh and anew as the Experiencing self.

That is what emptiness practice in meditative traditions train you to do: Recognize that Self, Emotions, Thoughts, Time, are all a construction of mind that you can deconstruct and experience each moment anew as Fresh and Simple.

They call this the “Child in a Temple” or “Child’s Gaze”.

After the look of wonderment on a child’s face after they see the temple for the first time.

Or kind of like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GA9gEh1fLs

Anyway, growth begets novelty which begets a full life.

Don’t let your life flash before eyes because you’re comfortable.

That’s just your ego’s desire for survival winning over your soul’s desire for meaning and purpose

Life’s Oscillations

Life oscillates from ecstasy to mundaneness. From exhilaration to serenity. From pain to love. From death to aliveness.

Strive to be one with all the waves.

For You are all of them.

Rumi was pointing to something similar when he wrote:

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”

Reflections on a Recent Meditation Retreat & Spirituality in the Age of the Internet

Thank you for all the Birthday wishes while I was gone. I very much appreciated the feeling of connectedness.

I returned home last night from a week long Tibetan Mahamudra Retreat in Boston with Dan Brown, one of the foremost masters in the West of this powerful ancient school of wisdom and spirituality.

( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003XF1LM0?btkr=1 //http://pointingoutway.org/)

I am very careful when I select any new form of information to absorb, especially new teachers. My intention is to select the most powerful, cutting edge knowledge with the highest signal to noise ratio I can while taking on as few outdated beliefs, blind spots and pathologies as possible.

Up until now in my spiritual path, I have been fortunate to live in a day and age where the teachings of so many incredibly developed humans is readily accessible in the emerging omni-present global brain that engulfs the globe — albeit in towns tucked away in oft-overlooked exits off the information super highway — enabling me to forge a unique multidisciplinary and multi-perspectival path unencumbered by the inevitable historical limitations of having to submit to a single teacher or philosophy to have access to a stream of wisdom.

With regard to meditation in particular, I was not willing to absorb, what I recognized and had confirmed to be the impurities and diluted practices of much of the meditation practice that made it to the West, most prominently Theravadan, Vipassana style Buddhist meditation.

Due to the path I’ve taken this retreat was simultaneously a critical learning experience and a refreshing review. Through my many previous virtual teachers, I had visited and internalized all the major stations we walked on the path this week, and stabilized most in my awareness to some degree, but none of my previous teachers had covered the territory with this degree of precision and with such a comprehensive set of strength building tools.

I return home with a deeper grounding and orientation for the progress and realizations I have autodidactly attained, and the knowledge I needed to. thru diligent practice, enable sprouted seeds to flourish further.

An overview of the week might be described as:

– Walking Asanga’s 9 Stage Elephant path in the quest of taming the Wild Elephant of our minds and stabilizing concentration (automatic samadhi)

– Purifying our minds with awareness meditation by clearing away the obscuring clouds of Self-Representation, Emotions, Thoughts and Time through the recognition of their inherent Emptiness.

– Opening up the true fresh, simple, non-dual nature of mind by opening awakened awareness to itself.

I am looking forward to the adventures that lie further down this path.

I definitely recommend you check out this most potent lineage, which is intimately connected to the Dalai Lama’s tradition and its on going quest to properly transmit Buddhism to the west.

Thoughts On Living & Dying

My uncle passed away a few days ago and I am leaving shortly to go up to Sonoma to be with my family for the Sabbath.

In preparation, my heart has led me to begin reading the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.

A quote from Sogyal Rinpoche for safe keeping:

“To follow the path of wisdom has never been more urgent or more difficult. Our society is dedicated almost entirely tothe celebration of ego, with all its sad fantasies about success and power, and it celebrates those very forces of greed and ignorance that are destroying the planet. It has never been more difficult to hear the unflattering voice of the truth, and never more difficult, once having heard it, to follow it: because there is nothing in the world around us that supports our choice, and the entire society in which we live seems to negate every idea of sacredness or eternal meaning. So at the time of our most acute danger, when our very future is in doubt, we as human beings find ourselves at our most bewildered, and trapped in a nightmare of our own creation.”

And a quote from a reviewer for greater context:

“The subject of death has been most puzzling and perplexing to humankind since the time immemorial. The Eastern way of looking at the death as only a ‘transition’ is explained by the author in a profoundly simple manner. The book certainly helps one to understand the true meaning of the phenomena called death. This understanding helps one to reduce the irrational fear of death. From the lives of the great men and women we know that those who ‘lived’ a life can only meet the ‘death’ with equnimity. Thus the author has first taught the art of ‘living’. It is only through right type of living that we can ‘live’ the death also.
I suggest that this book be read by all the Buddhist as well as by non buddhists also. Every one who reads it will find something for him/her.
I salute Sogyal Rinpoche for giving us a wonderful gift of THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING.”

Finding Yourself to Die to Yourself

I like the intent of this infographic but ultimately is a little misleading.

Amber Rae's photo.

Really, all you have to do is take regret One to heart, live it, and the rest will follow.

If you have the courage to live a life that is true to yourself, you will be compelled to work so diligently and passionately that you will feel like you never worked a day in your life (2).

When you live a life that is true to yourself, and are in touch with your purpose, the fear to express yourself will melt away. Nobody can’t reject what you know deep within yourself. You know what your hero’s journey is, others can leave you or join you (3). (See my post on The Polarization Promise: https://www.facebook.com/maxmarmer/posts/4896250838177)

You cannot complete your journey alone. A deep part of you knows that and will attract your true comrades and compatriots to you. They give you strength to carry on, as you do to them (4).

Happiness is fleeting. And more a feedback mechanism than a destination. Gratitude is long lasting.
(http://maxmarmer.com/…/why-you-cant-get-more-happiness-mon…/ ///http://blogs.psychcentral.com/…/how-gratification-and-plea…/)
When you’re connected to purpose and making progress on your journey, even in the darkest times you will be enveloped by an inexhaustible warm glow, radiating from deep within your soul. There is no wishing for an optimistic, aligned state of mind. It just happens (5).

But beware, the title of this infographic is more aptly named than you may know.

For while finding your purpose and living a life that is true to yourself may solve the 5 regrets of the dying…

…before you can find yourSelf you must have the courage to die to yourself.