You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.
Winston Spencer Churchill.
Sir Winston Churchill, the British wartime Prime Minister, used the childhood expression “Black Dog”, to describe periods of altered, gloomy mood, that plagued him throughout his life.
These dips in mood could be so severe as to render him bed bound, yet they usually recovered over a period of weeks. Despite this, he managed to lead the United Kingdom from almost certain defeat to victory.
The expression, Black Dog, has since become almost synonymous with depression.
Your mind is not a cage.
It is a garden.
And it needs cultivating.
The incidence of depression is rising rapidly, at least in the western world. It has been described as the common cold of psychiatry and psychology.
Depression is a common disorder, but this does not make it either inevitable, or an acceptable part of modern life. The lifetime incidence of depression continues to show a steady rise, with each succeeding generation having a greater risk. For people born before the First World War, the lifetime risk was about 3%, for Americans currently in their midtwenties, current estimates put their lifetime risk to be approaching 25%. This rapid increase shows little sign of slowing down.
I’m sure many of us care about how we will look back on our lives on our deathbed, but the value of our lives comes from the experiences of pleasure and purpose over our lifetimes and not from a judgement we might make at an arbitrarily chosen moment in time.
Most of us want to avoid depression and to be happy. Happiness is something that we pursue with varying degrees of intensity. There are even greater variations in the success that we have in pursuing this Holy Grail of the emotional world. Much of the time we do not even seem to be aware of what we mean by happiness, and seem to have even less idea of how we might possess it. Continue reading →
Do you need to convert to Buddhism? Do you need to abandon the tradition in which you were raised or the ideals to which you have a deep commitment? Do you need to cast aside anything that your intellect or understanding of the world tells you is true?
Absolutely not. You can retain your current frame of reference and accept only what you are prepared to accept, a piece at a time, and only what you in fact find helpful.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana. Beyond Mindfulness – in plain English.
When I was a teenager the space race was in full swing.
Neil Armstrong was making a complete hash of his line about one small step, and the world was looking outward into the depths of interstellar space. Continue reading →
The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card of some delay
So this is all I have to say
Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
I can take it or leave it if I please
And you can do the same thing if you please.
The theme from MASH
As a teenager I loved the programme MASH.
The adventures of the staff of a mobile army surgical hospital in the Korean War.
I particularly liked the theme tune and used to hum and sing it to myself.
One day my mother heard me singing the words of the chorus, and became angry with me. It wasn’t for several years afterwards that I fully understood why.
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