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Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/11/14 9:27 AM
I've been meditating for nearly 6 years. I have never had a teacher and followed various guides in a haphazard way. Mainly I was just muddling through it myself. The only time I came across and looked at a proper structure for my practice and the path was Daniel's book, MCTB, which I'm halfway through now.

Anyway, I'll describe an experience and want to see where it fits with all this. I had bipolar symptoms for about 10 years -- particularly depressions which would cycle about once a month and last for a week or two. Some sad thought or other would trigger some process which would declare that the whole thing was fucking pointless and I'd basically withdraw for a week.

About 4 months ago, I entered a depressive phase. I began doing something which, at the time, felt like a "last resort". I was astounded to find what I'd done written practically word-for-word when I read MCTB a few days ago:
Try this little exercise the next time some kind of strong and
seemingly useless or unskillful emotion arises. First, stabilize precisely
on the sensations that make it up and perhaps even allow these to
become stronger if this helps you to examine them more clearly. Find
where these are in the body, and see as clearly as possible what sorts of
images and story lines are associated with these physical sensations. Be
absolutely clear about the full magnitude of the suffering in these, how
long each lasts, that these sensations are observed and not particularly in
one’s control.
Lying down, I stayed with these "sadness" emotions for a long time, say 30 minutes, and would fall asleep "into" them each time which would give strange dreams connected to the themes.

I have decent concentration. The book showed me that I had already mastered first jhana, I just didn't know what it was called. So I could stay on these emotions solidly, and would get a combined visual and feeling of them. I mainly experienced them as movement. I just ignored any storylines that arose as I could stay solidly with the emotions.

After about three of these sessions, I remember sitting at my computer and something triggered one of those "sad thoughts". I closed my eyes, found the emotions doing the exact same thing as they had done in the session, and they no longer bothered me at all.

That was 4 months ago, and I have not had a single "depression" ever since. A lot of stuff in my life got lighter. I started waking up happy. I also found I could make plans for the future without the cloud of depression looming in the distance. It felt like my entire life turned around for the better that week. In MCTB Daniel talks about the Augean Stables, about how sometimes you divert the river to wash out a section of the stable and it stays clean thereafter, even if you don't clean the entire stable. Well it felt like that.

I have a couple of questions about all of this.

1) I didn't particularly experience the Three Characteristics in any overt way. E.g. the world did not turn into vibrations. I felt I had acquired some great insight after this event, but I can't really make it explicit. My point is I'm having trouble matching it up to the experience of the Three Characteristics described in the book. So, therefore, if it wasn't strictly "insight" in terms of the Three Characteristics, what was this experience?

2) I'm now applying the exact same sequence to my other emotions, especially fear, shock and disgust (it just happens to be a time when I'm experience all that, so I'm repeating my previous "cure" on them). I tried to integrate MCTB's guidelines on trying to see the Three Characteristics, but found that this created many distracting thoughts which actually took my attention away from the experience of the emotions. I also felt I was possibly making up some signs that I was seeing the Three Characteristics to make my experience "fit" the book. After 30 mins of trying this, I switched to 30 mins of my old way, of direct experience of the emotions without trying to "find" anything there, and I began to get that feeling of deep insight I got the first time round again. My question is, should I try to match the book, or stick with my own method?

Thanks!

Edd

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/11/14 9:35 AM as a reply to Illuminatus.
P.S. I still get "sadness" when something saddening happens. The point is it doesn't drag me down into that black hole any more.

And because of this, I can look into the sadness more equanimously and find out what's happened, and figure out what to do better next time (if there is anything) and generally find appreciation in the sadness.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/11/14 10:41 AM as a reply to Illuminatus.
I'm very happy for you.  I don't know if this is the end of depression for you and in this practice it's good to be cautious and just continue to be present.  Measuring progress can have a form of stress in it if you hold to it too much.  There are people who have ended depression with years of meditation so it is possible.

If you continue your concentration practice you'll get better than 1st jhana and it should be easier to see vibrations but you'll notice them much more when you train the brain to look at impermanence.  At first it's gross impermanence that are easier to see and as the brain gets better with practice you should notice a "granular" kind of experience in your vision and vibrations in sounds.

To psychologists, depression is a problem but not sadness.

Your description of "curing" might hide some aversion in it so I would look into welcoming sensations and perceptions (including the negative ones).  Welcoming reduces the stress of holding preferences.  It's good to have preferences but to hold them is where stress begins.

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/9813/
http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_player/210/11957.html
http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_player/210/9553.html

The three characteristics is simply to look at ANY change in your experience and to notice how clinging/ruminating about having the world work in the way you want it to will breed stress when reality does something else and since your body and mind are also impermanent there is no permanent self to rely on (including your consciousness/knowing faculty).  The best thing is to focus mainly in impermanence because the disenchantment that relieves stress happens when you see experience come and go over and over again.  Do this with your intentions and actions as well.  Intentions are there just before you make an action and they are there when you sustain an action.

As time goes on you get more freedom from holding to preferences and you start renouncing with a sense of relief.

http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/210/talk/12860/

Keep practicing!

Richard

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/11/14 11:11 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
I'm very happy for you.  I don't know if this is the end of depression for you and in this practice it's good to be cautious and just continue to be present.  Measuring progress can have a form of stress in it if you hold to it too much.  There are people who have ended depression with years of meditation so it is possible.


Yeah I'm cautious. This ended 10 years of cycling in less than 1 week, though, so I'm hopeful.


If you continue your concentration practice you'll get better than 1st jhana and it should be easier to see vibrations but you'll notice them much more when you train the brain to look at impermanence.  At first it's gross impermanence that are easier to see and as the brain gets better with practice you should notice a "granular" kind of experience in your vision and vibrations in sounds.


I saw emotions moving around, bursting, spreading, then reforming somewhere else, kind of like looking at a lava lamp. Is this gross impermanence, do you think?

My take on why it "worked" at the time was that I simply divorced emotional response from concepts -- so the concepts could no longer hold me hostage.


To psychologists, depression is a problem but not sadness.

Your description of "curing" might hide some aversion in it so I would look into welcoming sensations and perceptions (including the negative ones).  Welcoming reduces the stress of holding preferences.  It's good to have preferences but to hold them is where stress begins.


Yeah. That's why I put "cure" in quotes.

I actually spent some time "re-welcoming" a LOT of old emotional patterns I had been repressing -- since now I felt I could deal with them, I no longer needed to repress them. In my current "Big Issue" (and these issues really do not seem very big at all, any more, whereas before they would be enormous monoliths), I'm welcoming all sensations to be experienced by the same method I used the first time around. The line between what is "positive" and "negative" is getting blurred and sometimes non-existent when I'm taking this approach.

For example it became plainly obvious to me that I should be treating "positive" emotions in the same way. I just had an insight that I should be doing that. I started, and found suffering in those emotions, too. E.g. romantic "love", while seemingly pleasant at first glance, can contain a lot of longing which is distinctly unpleasant (until I get into it with my method at which point it gets treated the same as any other set of emotional sensations).

I think it's possible I'm experiencing insight but on a more unconscious, implicit level. Maybe the realizations are forming but as more of a background thing. I'm not sure.

Thanks for the reply.

Edd

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/11/14 12:11 PM as a reply to Illuminatus.
Yes that would be gross impermanence.  The real progress is how consistent you are in daily life.  Keep doing it while being essentially normal. The habit of mindfulness will do it's trick the more practice you put into it. Again I mean something more subtle than forcing things.

Another trick is noticing any aversion to a wandering mind.  When you notice the mind is wandering you are already back so no extra nudging, judging or pushing is necessary.  Any aversion to thoughts will make the mind think that thoughts are something for the "self" to control.  It's okay to move the mind towards metta practice or concentration or just focusing on tasks, but letting go of aversion to a wandering mind made the self-discipline part so much easier.  Self-judgment is draining to the willpower because of cortisol.  Yet this self-judgment is just a habit that is optional and with trial and error working with it, you can see how useless it is 90% of the time.

Try looking at how perceptions of objects have some reactivity straight-away.  Keep relaxing the muscles in the body and face when this happens because tension in the mind spreads to the muscles and vice-versa.  Relaxing body tension throughout the day and noticing how the body is ready for a fight simply out of habit can bring a great deal of relief.

The way you are looking at positive emotions is the right way.  Positive emotions are good and should be cultivated but you need to see the trap the amygdala brings.  You'll understand what bi-polar is because the amygdala is an older part of the brain and it's very simple.  It's a carrot and a stick.  Cortisol is released as a stick to spur on fight or flight responses and the carrot is all the pleasant neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin etc.  As soon as you want something the brain is thinking about how it may not get it and then it goes into stress thinking.  Some of this is okay but the squeezing and obsessing in the mind isn't necessary to have and act on preferences.  You're slowly training the brain to let go of the stress while still seeing unpleasant perceptions.  Over time the brain learns to accept reality and then you can focus more on taking action with reality.

Another thing that might help you is Right Energy/Effort.  Each time you interrupt the negative habits you are deconditioning them just slightly and when you exert effort towards wholesome intentions and actions you are reprogramming the brain for better habits.
(a)  The effort to prevent un arisen unwholesome states from arising
At a time when the mind is calm, something may happen which will spark off a defilement. eg. attachment to a pleasant object, aversion to an unpleasant object. By maintaining watchfulness over the senses, we are able to prevent the unarisen defilement from arising. We are able to simply take note of the object without reacting to the object by way of greed or aversion.
(b)   The effort to abandon the arisen unwholesome states
That is to eliminate the defilements that have arisen. When we see that a defilement has arisen we have to apply energy to eliminate it.This can be done by a variety of methods.
(c)  Develop the undeveloped wholesome states
We have many beautiful, potential qualities stored up in the mind. We have to bring these up to the surface of the mind, eg. loving kindness, compassion etc.
(d)  Strengthen and cultivate the existing wholesome states.
We must avoid falling into complacency and have to make effort to sustain the wholesome states and to develop them to full growth and completion.

It's easy to get bogged down in detail but it's good to keep adding knowledge, but always keep it simple by letting go of the unskillful and cultivating the skillful.  Use concentration to drop the current conditioning and then create new conditioning with better intentions and you're doing it.  Enjoy peacefulness and use reading about Buddhism more as a way to sharpening your understanding.  It's easy to read and forget to keep practicing.  

For more detail study the 4 foundations of mindfulness and dependent arising.  I would also include a lot of Nagarjuna.  The intellectual understandings really do increase depth in your meditation when you add them in.

Keep going and enjoy the equanimity you're developing.

Richard

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/11/14 12:36 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
It's easy to get bogged down in detail but it's good to keep adding knowledge, but always keep it simple by letting go of the unskillful and cultivating the skillful.


Thanks Richard, you are reinforcing that I am on the right track -- summed up in the above, which describes how I've been behaving for the last 4 months.

I also had never heard of the the Brahma Viharas before coming across Daniel's stuff but it turns out I'd been cultivating them with my own techniques very similar to those recommend for about the last 4 months.

Basically, it feels like my mind finally went through puberty. Things have changed VERY fast, and VERY consistently.

Thanks for your replies; much appreciated always.

Edd

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/11/14 1:34 PM as a reply to Illuminatus.
Edd:
I've been meditating for nearly 6 years. I have never had a teacher and followed various guides in a haphazard way. Mainly I was just muddling through it myself. The only time I came across and looked at a proper structure for my practice and the path was Daniel's book, MCTB, which I'm halfway through now.

I have a couple of questions about all of this.

1) I didn't particularly experience the Three Characteristics in any overt way. E.g. the world did not turn into vibrations. I felt I had acquired some great insight after this event, but I can't really make it explicit. My point is I'm having trouble matching it up to the experience of the Three Characteristics described in the book. So, therefore, if it wasn't strictly "insight" in terms of the Three Characteristics, what was this experience?

2) I'm now applying the exact same sequence to my other emotions, especially fear, shock and disgust (it just happens to be a time when I'm experience all that, so I'm repeating my previous "cure" on them). I tried to integrate MCTB's guidelines on trying to see the Three Characteristics, but found that this created many distracting thoughts which actually took my attention away from the experience of the emotions. I also felt I was possibly making up some signs that I was seeing the Three Characteristics to make my experience "fit" the book. After 30 mins of trying this, I switched to 30 mins of my old way, of direct experience of the emotions without trying to "find" anything there, and I began to get that feeling of deep insight I got the first time round again. My question is, should I try to match the book, or stick with my own method?

###

I think it's possible I'm experiencing insight but on a more unconscious, implicit level. Maybe the realizations are forming but as more of a background thing. I'm not sure.


Thanks!

Edd
The path or a path?

Why wasn't it "strictly insight"? What does that even mean?! Insight is a funny word. I don't think you can really understand what it means unless you find a meaning in your own experience. And I thinking about whether x is an "insight" or not, or how insight is manifested, shouldn't be forced. I think it can just happen organically, and confidence in the nature of insight grows. 

As for impermance, and the Three Characterstics - you could consider them as intrinsic properties of the universe and "Ultimate Reality", or you could consider them conceptual tools to make sense of your experience and help progress you along a/the path...But either way, I don't think there isn't a right or wrong way to see them in your experience. If you want to call it
impermanence, call it impermanence!

Daniel has his experiences of the world. You have yours. Daniel is an authority on his experiences. You are an authority on yours. The experience of the three characteristics described in the book is his experience. You might experience them entirely differently. So it sounds like have made great progress on your own, with your own method. So why should you feel the need to match the book? You do sometimes read people here saying that they spent ages trying to recreate the experiences described in MCTB - but I think people eventually realise that this is probably a mistake. These are Daniel's experiences, and he is own unique way of producing them and writing them about them. You have your own, and if they differ, it doesn't make yours invalid in way, or your "insights" any less valuable.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/11/14 1:35 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thank you Richard, lots of good advice!  "As soon as you want something the brain is thinking about how it may not get it and then it goes into stress thinking."  I have been thinking lately this is a big problem with wanting things, not only do you want them but there tends to be angst about not getting or not having them that comes along with the wanting.  In Daniel's book, there was something about trying without trying  or something like that.  I don't now if we ever get to where we don't want anything.  WOuld you even get our of bed if you had zero preferences for anything?  But if it was more like you had preferences but were not super attached to outcome..

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/12/14 1:23 AM as a reply to Illuminatus.
If "your way" works, I would go with that. Sounds like it works. Good work. If, at some point, the finer details and subleties become more interesting and useful, try that then.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/12/14 5:07 AM as a reply to Illuminatus.
Thanks all!

I'm going to continue doing it "my way" and see what happens. I'm also going to cultivate higher jhanas to see if that brings a higher resolution to my experience of impermanence.

A couple of things I could add to my original post:

1) My experience of "mania" also dramatically decreased in response to the elimination of depression. It seems that without a strong "despair" to contrast to, feelings of "hope" are no longer perceived as a dramatic jump to positive affect (=mania).

2) In the "lava lamp" effect, often when I get into one of those "bubbles" of emotion and it bursts, I get an immediate image flash with other sense data -- usually an ancient memory, and sometimes like remembering a piece of a recurring dream. Once burst, these memory/dream segments never bother me again.

Since beginning this process, my recurring dreams are now able to be remembered. Previously, when I woke up, I "knew" I'd had the same dream, but couldn't remember it. Now all of those dreams are progressively becoming accessible to me. I believe this has to do with the mindbody releasing repressed stuff now it knows it can be handled.

By the way, I am not particularly interested in the "content" of any of these memories/dreams (although sometimes it can be interesting). I am far more interested in the process by which the mindbody catalogues events and condenses them into mythical themes and stories in order to construct character. The main reason I made this post is to ascertain where all this fits in with Daniel's model -- is it "morality", "concentration", or "insight"? It doesn't seem to fit particularly well into the model, but this is something I seem to be good at and which helps me a lot, so I'm going to continue with it.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/12/14 8:37 AM as a reply to Illuminatus.
Edd:

Since beginning this process, my recurring dreams are now able to be remembered. Previously, when I woke up, I "knew" I'd had the same dream, but couldn't remember it. Now all of those dreams are progressively becoming accessible to me. I believe this has to do with the mindbody releasing repressed stuff now it knows it can be handled.

By the way, I am not particularly interested in the "content" of any of these memories/dreams (although sometimes it can be interesting). I am far more interested in the process by which the mindbody catalogues events and condenses them into mythical themes and stories in order to construct character. The main reason I made this post is to ascertain where all this fits in with Daniel's model -- is it "morality", "concentration", or "insight"? It doesn't seem to fit particularly well into the model, but this is something I seem to be good at and which helps me a lot, so I'm going to continue with it.

Usually when the habit of concentration is improved the brain can develop consciousness while in the dream state. It makes you access the unconscious. Some people get good at this like a skill and play with lucid dreaming.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/12/14 9:23 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
Edd:

Since beginning this process, my recurring dreams are now able to be remembered. Previously, when I woke up, I "knew" I'd had the same dream, but couldn't remember it. Now all of those dreams are progressively becoming accessible to me. I believe this has to do with the mindbody releasing repressed stuff now it knows it can be handled.

By the way, I am not particularly interested in the "content" of any of these memories/dreams (although sometimes it can be interesting). I am far more interested in the process by which the mindbody catalogues events and condenses them into mythical themes and stories in order to construct character. The main reason I made this post is to ascertain where all this fits in with Daniel's model -- is it "morality", "concentration", or "insight"? It doesn't seem to fit particularly well into the model, but this is something I seem to be good at and which helps me a lot, so I'm going to continue with it.

Usually when the habit of concentration is improved the brain can develop consciousness while in the dream state. It makes you access the unconscious. Some people get good at this like a skill and play with lucid dreaming.

I know about lucid dreaming, I used to be able to do it whenever I liked, starting around age 17, without any training. It just "turned on" one day and I had the highest level of control. Then it turned off one day. Maybe my unconscious decided I was spending too much time in there and letting life pass me by (which I was). It turned back on about a year ago but I still have nowhere near the level of control I used to have.

But these recurring dreams I speak of appear to be in a "restricted zone". I can't get memory access to them afterwards, and have never achieved lucidity in them. I know they exist because I get flash images of them the day after. I believe they are part of the "master story" -- how the mindbody condenses down one's whole life into a simplified narrative to produce character. Getting access to that master story -- who knows what we could achieve. It would no doubt be highly dangerous, hence why it's probably protected.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/13/14 6:15 AM as a reply to Illuminatus.
Paweł K:
Could you give more details about event which made depression go away?
...

Do you know what you did and what happened? Care to share it?


I'm trying to piece it together based on my memories and my notes from that time (I journal everything, but in a kind of fragmented way).

The depression going away seems to be based on a set of realizations I made. So there were "click" moments. I'll try to summarize these realizations now:

1) Whatever the emotion, however strong it is, if you "find" it and "enter" it in your mindbody field of awareness, it will not hurt any more.

So let's say it's excruciating sadness. What I did was turn my "vision" down into my body. So, I actually imagined I was "looking" into my body, from my head downwards, kind of like shining a searchlight into the body cavity, sweeping it around, looking for the emotion. At this point, the experience of the emotion becomes a combined visual and feeling -- in other words I can literally see it as well as feel it. So it is in two modalities, "visuo-kinaesthetic", instead of just one, "kinaesthetic" (= movement = feeling). In this split modality, "looking into" my body, I can find the exact location of the source of the emotion -- it's like a pocket, or a bubble, inside the "whole" of the mindbody. Picture it like an air bubble in syrup or similar. I enter that "pocket". Pain stops. I am now one with the emotion. I suppose in dharma terms, the emotion is now the "object" of my jhana, but understand that I knew none of these terms back then.

When you are "in" the emotional pocket, it doesn't hurt. I consider it like being in the eye of the storm. If I am in my normal head space, the storm (the emotion) is battering me, demanding my attention. By entering the emotion, it is like standing in the eye of the storm. It's completely calm. It takes a LOT of concentration to stay here, but you can learn that -- most likely standard first jhana stuff. When in the emotion, it doesn't hurt. Now, I just STAY here. For how long? For how long it takes. Inevitably, SOMETHING happens. Typically it was after around 30 minutes. I would get a "pop" and a flood of images/other sense data, then relief. Sometimes I would fall asleep and enter a dream/vision revolving around, what I believe, to be the kind of "mythical" constructs concerning the source of the emotion -- followed by awakening and relief. So you can get some very early memories arising and dissolving as a result of this. But, sometimes, none of that happens -- you come out and something's changed but you're not sure what.

One of the major points of this realization is that I can be free of the suffering of an emotion if I enter it fully in this way. So that realization kind of filtered down into the rest of me, and it meant that I no longer feared emotions. That fear has never returned. I believe a lot of depression is actually a feedback loop that starts with one sad thought or concept which then self-references and amplifies into despair -- the amplification is something like fear of depression which makes you depressed, and so forth. Take away the fear of any emotion and it no longer extrapolates itself into the future endlessly. Depression is, in my opinion, basically just a painful state logically extrapolated into the future infinitely by the frontal lobes. I am sure this is why lower-IQ people (less frontal lobe capacity) are less inclined towards depression.

2) "Invalid attribution". This is my name for a process whereby some body pain or discomfort you would have had ANYWAY is linked to the "depressive" thoughts and starts to build that chain or feedback loop which quickly becomes a depressive episode.

So you have two modes of thought/feeling going on at any one time: 1) Your body and its inputs, 2) Your "checklist" of thoughts you are working through all the time, e.g. "Got to get up and do work" (and the more emotionally-weighted a concept is, the higher up on the checklist it moves in terms of priority and therefore the amount of attention you give it).

Invalid attribution is when a random feeling in the body gets "invalidly attributed" to a thought cycling on the checklist. E.g. you wake up feeling dehydrated, but you think about going to work. You link the body pain of the dehyrdration to the concept of going to work. This can EASILY become a feedback loop and depressive episode if you then ruminate on all the problems associated with going to work -- which also become unconsciously attached to the dehydrated feeling and, by now, the cortisol/stress response caused by all the fear of the future you have projected. A feedback loop started from something silly and which quickly got out of hand.

Realizing this by seeing it happen directly (perhaps this is "Cause and Effect" ñana?) allowed me to break these loops before they even started. It became automatic very quickly. This also led to an automatic improving of general lifestyle, e.g. I'll get up and immediately drink a pint of water these days and start feeling good within about 20 minutes. Obvious to some, maybe, but I was not drinking enough water on waking prior to this.

Another example is effect of food on body/emotions. If I ate a curry I would get bowel irritation. I would then unconciously link this irritation to various concepts on my "thought checklist", so I would link that irritation to general things going on in my life. Again, this can very quickly become a depressive episode via the feedback loops which can be invoked. Via the method in point #1 above, I can now simply "enter" pain from bowel irritation and will find that quickly moves it along = bowel movement = relief. (I found I could alter many of my body's functions in this way.) So instead of getting all these ideas tangled up, I now have them more automatically split, perceptively, and this came from the insight of being with emotions, and the insights occurred quite by themselves, really.

Another hugely important "invalid attribution" that takes place within a depressed person is the confusion of tiredness with depression; the two states are physiologically identical, except depression has unpleasant additional cortisol/stress effects coming purely from the projected pain-futures. Other than lingering cortisol, depression = tiredness. This is important to understand because energy levels ebb and flow naturally throughout the day. After a heavy meal, for example, energy dips. The depressive person will sense that dip and invalidly attribute it to their life in a very general way, and say things to themselves like "I'm so fucking depressed" or "It's all pointless". This came purely from eating a meal though! Similarly, genuine tiredness towards the end of the day can result in internal dialogue such as "I want to die" when it should in fact have said "I want to rest." The depressive thought habit becomes a lens through which perfectly normal bodily events are seen as negative, which creates far more unpleasant bodily sensations and thus feedback loops. The body has no concept of wanting to die; it is always to rest, if anything. Concepts of death are purely learned things.

So I broke into all these things via insight, and they weren't really planned; they just happened.

3) Divorcing emotional response from concept/story.

Being able to do the stuff in #1, and also recognizing the inclination towards fallacy where emotions are involved as described in #2, one can deal with the emotions directly and mostly ignore all the concepts/storylines that get written about them. This represents a significant gain in freedom. I think of it like digging underneath enemy lines and planting explosives underneath the whole lot, rather than fighting them in the field (which just becomes a war of attrition, concepts vs. concepts, which basically cannot be won on the same level which created them).

It meant instead of trying to "figure things out", if I caught myself in those kinds of thought loops I would just go and lie down and enter the emotion as per #1 and it would resolve itself and I'd get some sort of insight about it seemingly "for free".

I think really realizing that 99% of my thoughts were completely pointless and based in fallacy, and were reactive to various emotions and body sensations, meant I could, for the first time, seriously let them go.


SUMMARY

I'm going to wrap this up now. I think depression is really just 1 or 2 things which interplay then get projected unto infinity by the frontal lobes.

You don't always have to figure out "where" sad thoughts (or whatever) come from. You just have to realize that they don't control your timeline. This is why talk therapy has its limits. The "why" doesn't matter all that much. In reality, if you are going out and living life, and meditating regularly, you will uncover all those "why"s anyway, and be like "ohhhhhh! emoticon".

What matters is the cause and effect of certain mental processes or "processing styles" which can turn singular thoughts into loops, which then become lenses, and which are all based in fallacy.

I never felt this has been a "fight". It has been a realization that let that old paradigm simply fall away. Since that realization, this all just became "obvious" and the behaviours I do in the betterment of myself feel like common sense as opposed to something I'm "trying" in order to "fight" or "flee" something else. It just became an obvious A -> B thing.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/13/14 11:22 AM as a reply to Illuminatus.
A fascinating and cogent account of your journey, Edd. I find many similar parallels with my own dealings with - and understandings of - my panic and anxiety disorder. I do not yet have your facility with concentration states, but I have acheived similar results through mindfulness and logical sequencing of events/triggers. Your analysis of depressive states as negative feedback loops are spot-on and describe exactly the panic/anxiety mode. My associative trigger was/is the feeling of fullness and pressure from intestinal gas which has a its "invalid attribution" a mild heart attack I suffered five years ago. 

I'm currently attempting to use the panic attacks (now that I understand and have some modicum of control over them) as a mindfulness meditation on dying.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/13/14 11:54 AM as a reply to Lawrence Sheperd.
Lawrence Sheperd:
A fascinating and cogent account of your journey, Edd. I find many similar parallels with my own dealings with - and understandings of - my panic and anxiety disorder. I do not yet have your facility with concentration states, but I have acheived similar results through mindfulness and logical sequencing of events/triggers. Your analysis of depressive states as negative feedback loops are spot-on and describe exactly the panic/anxiety mode.


I have some stuff for breaking into the fear loop, too. Fear is more like a "fuzzy field" of general agitation, and the kind of reptilian default behaviour is to scan around for a "source" of that agitation. So you're actually supposed to get up on your hind legs and scout around for the fear source. Get fully alert and do this. If you don't find one after a few minutes, the state subsides naturally.

But humans tend to direct energy inwards, maybe because they're taught to do so at school, and it becomes ruminating thoughts and feedback loops which amplify the fear state and so on and so forth.

So directing energy outwards is one very, very simple way of avoiding internal loops caused by fear.


My associative trigger was/is the feeling of fullness and pressure from intestinal gas which has a its "invalid attribution" a mild heart attack I suffered five years ago. 

I'm currently attempting to use the panic attacks (now that I understand and have some modicum of control over them) as a mindfulness meditation on dying.


I'm not sure that's possible; I think you'd end up with a mindfulness meditation on panic attacks. I think dying is probably the only object one can use for dying. But that's just my "reflex thought" on the thing -- I'm new to most of this stuff. Where did you get the idea for this?

How I cured my panic attacks, if you or anyone else wants the tech: Just try to make it the best panic attack you can. Really get into it. Once you realize it cannot possibly kill you, the absurdity of the situation kicks in and you end up laughing. I never had one since that.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/13/14 12:26 PM as a reply to Illuminatus.
"I'm not sure that's possible..."

I agree that it's a poor analogue, but since you only physically "die" once, I'm supposing this is the next "best" thing! It certainly seems as if you're dying in the moment.

"Once you realize it cannot possibly kill you, the absurdity of the situration kicks in..."

How true! Unfortunately in my case it takes quite a leap of faith to understand that the experience I am undergoing is a panic attack and not a heart attack, since in my case the two have virtually identical physical feelings and autonomic responses. I have often wondered whether the original heart attack was really a panic attack after which they found artherosclerosis during the angiograph. Evidently certain blood chemistry results (found after several inconclusive tests) rule that hypothesis out. It is funny that this hospital's parent company suffered a class action suit for implanting unnecessary stents...emoticon

Again, thanks for a very interesting and enlightening read.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
8/13/14 6:21 PM as a reply to Illuminatus.
I am personally interested in whether it has disappeared forever, or for now.  I have taught that depression is of the body, and should be observed in meditation like any other physical feeling like pain or pleasure.

It takes lifetimes to suffer enough to cultivate compassion.  If you do not know this, don't believe me.  It is not the important point.  Here is the point: When children are born with the compassion of a bodhisattva, they are tormented children.  Even if they have good lives, they suffer so greatly for everyone else, they must sacrifice their lives in the service of others, seek enlightenment to escape from the suffering, or kill themselves.

When the mind suffers, the brain responds with neurotransmitters, as if it was a drug dealer, and attempts to balance the emotion.  This leads to bi-polar episodes.  When the mind suffers too deeply, or too often, this attempt at balance will cause semi-permanent damage.  The flood of neurotransmitters can burn out the gateways they use in individual neurons.  This happens in MDMA overuse.  It is the same.

When you see rightly, no pain will bother you.  After this point, there is depression, but perhaps we shouldn't call it depression?  We can still feel the lack of serotonin when it occurs.  But knowing what is happening allows us to feel it as a type of exhaustion, which is what it is, and in that way depression can be gone forever.  

Neurons do regenerate, but much more slowly than an any part of the body.  Over the last five years of allowing my body to feel however it likes without letting it affect my emotions, already it has lost its intensity and its frequency by half.  It still happens, but it signals for me that it is time for my brain to rest.  We must have compassion for our constituents.

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
9/13/14 7:32 AM as a reply to Illuminatus.
"there is the thing here to consider: the way the sensations are processed that make them appear as depression..."  Yes, you caught that emoticon  The Mind gets tired, but 'depression' can be gone forever by these methods that you have expounded.  I was asking a question without asking and you answered perfectly.  You are Enlightened.  You can escape suffering at any moment you choose, physical or mental.  You have no more grasping to any constituent, but you see clearly that your constituents exist.

"If you are superior to me you may laugh with me from my words, if you are equal to me you might consider my words and learn from them in a sense both as something to do and something not do to and if you are inferior to me then you wouldn't understand it even if I put more effort to write it more nicely"

This is also perfect.  I do laugh with you.  There is no greater joy for me than to see another being pull from their inner knowing.  

"I hope you get what I mean by 'computer' here =)"  Yes I do, and i'd like to talk to you further on this in private messages.  I have said several times in this forum that actualism has no place until Enlightenment is reached.  Otherwise it is masturbation.  But after Enlightenment, Actualism occurs naturally, effortlessly, and with results that will transform every aspect of your life and the lives of everyone you touch.

"BTW. some people insinuate that nothing does anything, that there is no self so that implicate there is no will. Bullhist."  This is also perfect.  No-self only applies until enlightenment.  After enlightenment, it becomes clear that Awareness itself is self, and all levels of mind echo the Nobel Wisdom that Awareness possesses inately.  This is a secret truth that will confuse other seekers, so we speak on such things only to each other.  You have said several secret truths.  I look forward to speaking with you more.  I see you, Pawel K!



RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
10/5/14 1:41 PM as a reply to Illuminatus.
This is an amazingly good post, Edd. I see it was written a couple of months ago. Have you been completely free from depression these last two months?

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
10/6/14 5:04 AM as a reply to Derek.
Derek Cameron:
This is an amazingly good post, Edd. I see it was written a couple of months ago. Have you been completely free from depression these last two months?

The longest period of "depression" I have had since discovering the method (including the last two months since writing this post) has been 2 days.

This has happened twice. And another couple of times lasting 1 day each. So that's a total of 6 days spread out over around 5 months.

However, all these periods followed actual life events. So I consider them natural, probably required, periods of sadness, reflection and change. Each of those periods was followed by a solution being found (an insight, a change in path, an acceptance or what not) and was extremely valuable to me. So I think that's normal, and I would not even necessarily WANT to "get rid" of that type of sadness. I know how to go through it now and learn the lesson of what it's trying to tell me, and that skill really came from when I figured out the method in the original post.

Compare that to "useless depression" which is just cycling with no actual shift occurring. I turned these forum posts into a blog post if you're interested. In the intro I define the distinction between "sadness" and "depression": http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/how-i-beat-depression-forever/

In that sense, I have not been "depressed" since discovering the method.

Edd

RE: Depression disappeared forever
Answer
10/6/14 6:29 AM as a reply to Illuminatus.
Edd:
I turned these forum posts into a blog post if you're interested. In the intro I define the distinction between "sadness" and "depression": http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/how-i-beat-depression-forever/


Thank you. I know someone who says she frequently suffers from depression. Next time she mentions it, I'll refer her to your blog post.