Depression and Metaphysics - Session III (Notes)



  • Almost no one enters a personal search unless there’s something that’s profoundly troubling to them (illness, depression, needing answers for deep existential questions).

  • The problem of depression requires a complexity of solutions, not just one, magic solution.

  • Culture of spiritual search… Must not be equated with emotional health/well-being. People can have remarkable experiences within the cultural of spiritual search. These remarkable experiences do not necessarily equate with emotional well-being.

  • What is well being? The ability to… Undertake and sustain satisfying human relationships, ability to work with other people in occupational/domestic settings without hostile/violent or passive aggressive ways. Respond to demands life places on us economically, socially, etc.

  • Many people who do not succeed in those areas… But flock into the culture of spiritual search, because those cultures and institutions are seen as an escape hatch from day to day work.

  • The Achilles heel of New Age movement? Lack of accountability. Embrace of alternative value system that has great benefits… But does not necessarily place a premium on money/material accomplishment/roles, etc. Taken to an extreme, it can become another means of avoidance.

  • Spiritual path as exit ramp from normative demands of emotional maintenance/healthy of day-to-day life.

  • Encountered many people who likely needed a more basic grounding/treatment in skills and emotional requirements of day-to-day life. Wasn’t always offered/encourage in alt. spiritual culture.

  • NSRIs and other pharmaceutical treatments shouldn’t be shunned/demonized… We need to have a truly holistic approach to transformation and well being. This includes mind, body, spirit. Complementary treatments are important. “We all, depending upon our needs, should avail ourselves of everything possible.” (Mitch)

  • Ex: Talk therapy, transcendental meditation, SSRIs - what if we used it all? What if we availed ourselves of all possibility?

  • SSRI is not “un-spiritual.”

  • Emily Grossman ~ Mental healthcare professional. Diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Spent years searching for solutions. Found Nichiren Buddhism (adaptation of Sanskrit of Lotus Sutra: “I align myself with the mystical law of cause and effect”). Practice is at the heart of Nichiren Buddhism. Teaches that if you chant this mantra daily, you will experience greater peace, happiness, self-possession, nobility, and will attract things that you desire in your life.

  • Emily took to this practice. She soon found that the practice stabilized her mood, increased the effectiveness of medications, helped her find stable employment. She received her teaching certificate from Columbia. Was able to achieve gainful significant employment as mental healthcare professional.

  • Her path to recovery involved pharmacology and Buddhist spirituality (Nichiren), New Age spiritual teachers (Sharon Salzberg, Deepak Chopra, Eckart Tolle, etc).

  • Underscores importance of employing complexity of factors in treating severe depression or emotional malady.

  • “One should not stop at psycho-pharmacology.”

  • Maintain steady, health-full habits.

  • Take nothing off the table. It’s important to never overlook established channels.

  • It may be true that children, etc. are overmedicated, but that does not mean we should shun all pharmaceuticals and Western medical channels. “I don’t want anybody to feel stigmatized because they take a take a drug on the spiritual path. There’s no contradiction whatsoever.”

  • Forgo this sense of division. “It’s all one, great whole.”

  • Even if it’s all in one’s head - bravo! - but what does that really mean? What does it mean that “it’s imagination?” It’s a beckoning to a deeper question.

  • Energies in the body that we tap into… These are untapped, but when “we cross that threshold and withhold nothing in pursuit of a solution, something independent of that sought-after solutions starts to occur.” (Mitch)

  • Doctors, etc. say this… “When someone makes that decision, something seems to happen.” Jung makes this observation. We don’t know what precisely what it is, but it’s profoundly important to understand.

  • “Our minds are a channel of extra-physical capacities and energies. We are outlets and participants in greater forces, greater intellect so to speak. Our capacity to be an open channel to that great intellect… can invite/bring solutions and solutions into our lives where none previously existed. Sometimes it is the very acceptance of the form of a mainstream, or alternative, treatment, that triggers these hopeful energies and possibilities in our lives. Which is why I believe that the spiritual path has a great deal to offer the individual. An arousal of hopeful expectancy is the very trigger that seems to be at the heart of the placebo response.”

  • “Everything is potentially complementary.”

Steps to Coping with Anxiety, Depression, Hopelessness, Dread, etc.

  • William James (1842-1910). “Believed in philosophy that had a “cash value” of the life of the individual.” Wrote essay in 1985, “Is Life Worth Living?” Wave of suicides in US.
  • James: We’re happiest when we are engaged in what could be called “fighting evil” (Mitch’s phrase), or struggling for something. Some greater tomorrow. The definition of what that means is personal for each individual.

  • When the struggle beckons, we’re called to something… One way the individual could treat despair is “placing your foot on the tyrant’s throat,” seeking some true mission. Intimately or publicly. You define what that is.

  • Yes, you could take your life, but you also have the option that you can wait 24 hours more: to see what is possible. As much as life visits catastrophes on us, it also can visit absurdly good news.

  • It does happen, and it doesn’t happen as rarely as you might think.

  • Sometimes you should storm the castle walls. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do.

  • Cut out cruel and negative people (talked about in session I).

  • We are not chained to professional, domestic, etc. relationships… We do have the agency to do that.

  • The greatest service that people can find within the spiritual culture is to seek a wide complexity of options. The spiritual component is necessary, but not necessarily stand on its own.

  • There is a magic in human agency that we can’t fully put our hands on. When you “stand fully erect,” and “feel that you have the capacity to pursue solutions and possibilities… and that this capacity is limited and prescribed by nothing and no-one, you will find within you a greatness of potential that you have not felt capable up to this point.”

Mystery Achievement - Session III Posted

When will rhe video be posted? Thanks! David