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Managing difficult moods

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 21 Feb 2023, 15:25

I woke up today and the 'dark night' had returned. So strange, because I was sure it had gone away yesterday. But I was in a really difficult mood this morning. Once again my attempts at right effort were mocked and overridden by unpleasant and distracting thoughts.

 When there is a difficult mood present in the mind, the thoughts are coloured by this mood, and thinking actually makes things worse. There are moods that one cannot intellectually think their way out of.

Thought in itself is not evil, it can be a useful tool, and the ability to reflect and contemplate is important in studying and development. But when it is always going on constantly, it can be tiring and become a source of suffering. The thoughts are closely tied to whatever mood you are in, they are shaped by it, and there are some moods that are not helped by thinking.

There might be a little voice that says: 'you must think about this, this needs to be looked at, this is important.' And it makes you feel restless and agitated. It's almost like thoughts are tyrants made out of word formations. They don't stop making demands, and they never give you a moment to rest and be still; but that is exactly what one needs to be doing when the mood is like this. 

For me personally, I have to give myself permission to withdraw from the thought processes, and from the world also, and not feel guilty for doing this. Give myself the permission to not have to think about anything at all and just become still. Nothing bad happens when we stop thinking about stuff. If anything it is a relief. We do it every night when we go to sleep.

But just sitting somewhere quietly may not bring stillness straight away, especially if the mind is agitated and restless, so one also has to be patient with the difficult mood. This is where a bit of endurance is needed. It can sometimes take a while for one to drop into serenity and composure. And the mood might not go away fully after just one sitting. When this happens, one can at least notice if the negativity is reduced somewhat after the sitting, and if it is, then one knows they are going in the right direction, and it is working. The mood may have to be calmed down in stages, gradually, and it may take more than one sitting to get there.

Find somewhere quiet, away from the world and others, sit as still as you can with an upright dignified posture. And be in the body as it is, experiencing the sensations as they arise and cease in the here and now, let the thoughts continue, but don't pay attention to them, let them be like background noise, and just stay with the peace and quiet of the body and breath. If the attention goes back to the thoughts, try not to get stressed, it happens to us all, just gently bring the attention back to the body and breath, to the here and now. In time, the thoughts start to become less sticky, and the attention is not easily distracted by them, and then the energies start to calm down, the mind settles and composure returns.

One can find stillness in walking meditation too, especially if one has been sitting down for a long while, such as a livelihood that involves sitting at a desk. Practising walking or standing meditation can bring relief from that. Being present with the feeling of the feet on the ground, the feeling of the legs, the arms, the hands, the body as a whole standing, walking. The feeling of air currents on the skin, in the nostrils, feeling the breath energy go deep down into the belly. Notice the different parts of the body, the sensations happening in the here and now. Go somewhere private away from the energies of other humans, so you can spend some time alone, by yourself away from the hustle and bustle of the world and digital devices, someplace where you don't have to do any talking, and you can just be still. 

Sometimes others may make demands on our time, and the world can be stressful and there are things that need to be attended to. But when you are in a difficult mood, it is better to withdraw from whatever you are doing, withdraw from the world, withdraw from the thinking, and seek stillness instead.

Sometimes you may have to tell others that you are unable to deal with their request just now. That you need some solitude to look after your mental health; it does feel rude, like one is being selfish, and some people do take it personally and they can get resentful, and this is unpleasant; but, if one doesn't, one can end up saying and doing things they regret, because when one's mood is off, one is not in the best state of mind to deal with things. So one should give oneself permission to be assertive about the need for stillness and quiet, and not feel guilty about it. It is essential.

In Ajahn Sona’s YouTube Q&A livestream on Sunday evening, he answered a question about the “dark night” and advice on how to manage difficult moods.

Here is the link, for anyone who is interested:

 https://www.youtube.com/live/BPZzPm-cxbo?feature=share&t=380  (it is about 6:20 into the broadcast,link opens in new window/tab).

 There may be others out there who find his answer helpful. 

Peace and metta to everyone.





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Asoka

Cannabis is medicine

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 22:13


The research that says cannabis causes psychosis and schizophrenia is weak. It is just a modern day slant on the 'reefer madness' propaganda from the 1930s. The truth is cannabis can be helpful for people with schizophrenia and other mental health problems, the reason being it contains cannabinoids that are natural anti-psychotics (not just CBD, the whole plant is needed, as the cannabinoids work together synergistically). Which is why people with schizophrenia use cannabis a lot, and why there is a statistical correlation between cannabis and schizophrenia. It isn't because the cannabis is causing schizophreia, it is because many people with schizophrenia and other mental health problems are self-medicating with it as it brings relief from their symptoms. There was a tutor on a college course who had schizophrenia and he would have a spliff and it would make him feel much better and calmer afterwards.

Anyone who has done basic maths, knows that in statistics correlation does not mean causation. For example there is a correlation between high shoe sizes and intelligence, but it is not because people with big feet are more intelligent than those with small feet. It is because adults have bigger feet than children. Politicians and the media often misuse statistics to push forward bad policy. And one should always use critical thinking when it comes to statistics, especially now in this age of big data and data science.

 Cannabis is a damn site less harmful and unpleasant than the nasty pharmaceutical anti-psychotics that are pushed on patients. There's a good reason why people come off their meds and don't want to take them anymore, it's because they are fricking horrible, many decide they would rather have the psychosis than the horrible side-effects and locked-in depression that comes with prescription anti-psychotics. Rather than a treatment, these meds feel like a punishment. Not to mention how much harm these prescription meds can cause the body, something cannabis does not do, it is harmless on the body, in fact it is impossible to overdose and die from consuming too much cannabis. The only way cannabis can kill you is if a block the size of a piano was dropped on your head from a great height. 

 The truth is government scientists/researchers aren't really scientists at all, they are just paid 'Yes' men in white lab coats, whose job is to invent research and nonsense to fit a government's agenda and point of view, they use confirmation bias deliberately so they can justify dodgy policy to the public. And any scientist who goes against what the government wants to see in the research is fired by the government. If you don't believe me, research what happend to professor David Nutt for evidence of this. I ask you dear reader, how is this science?

 I know for a fact cannabis helps me. It calms me down, improves my mood, helps me concentrate better, helps my memory, helps me get my work done, helps me sleep, helps me get out of bed, helps me eat, gives me pain relief from chronic physical pain, helps me exercise, stops me feeling stressed and het up about stuff, and perhaps most importantly, helps me feel pleasure and joy again, something I struggle to feel without it. Cannabis greatly improves my quality of life. It is also fast acting, providing almost  instant relief, which is great for agitation. In fact I never feel suicidal on cannabis, it takes those thoughts and feelings away, but when I don't have it and go without, the suicidal thoughts come back. I think it is because life without cannabis is just too unbearable for me. I just feel like life isn't worth it without. I feel too much pain both emotionally and physically and it is frustrating knowing that smoking/vaping a bit of cannabis is all I need to do to fix this, and makes me angry as well knowing it is unfairly prohibited by an ignorant brainwashed society and jobsworths that keep denying me my right to this natural medication. It is cruel and unfair.

One thing I know is the mind does not work well when it is in constant pain both physically and mentally, it is impossible to get enlightened when one is in pain. The Buddha even said that, and he advised folks to take medicine for pain relief as he knew pain does not lead to enlightenment. He tried the path of trauma and pain for years, and it didn't lead to enlightenment, just brought him to the brink of death. It made his mind miserable and in the end he gave up on trying to get enlightened through deprivation and pain. Austerity and austere practises are useless, they just depress the mind and one cannot reach enlightenment that way. Here's a fun fact, cannabis would have grown wild in India at the time of the Buddha, and would have almost certainly been used as medicine, people back then would not have had a problem with it at all; the Buddha himself may well have used it on occasion, especially as he suffered from chronic back pain. It is only in these tyrranical modern times where it has been demonised and suppressed unfairly.

 Cannabis is medicine and I think it should be freely available to all who need it without prescription. And if people want to use it recreationally, so what? Let them, they're adults, we don't need a deluded hypocritical nanny state dictating what people can and cannot do, it is unpleasant living in a nanny state, we are grown-ups, let us choose; besides cannabis is the least harmful of all intoxicants.

 I am angry and fed up with these bad laws that criminalise it. Especially now other countries around the world have woken up to its benefits and legalised it. It is about time the UK did the same in my opinion. We are becoming more and more like a backward country.

 I also suspect the reason it is kept illegal is because of lobbying from the alcohol industry and pharmaceutical companies who don't want the competition. Alcohol is the most destructive drug of all (fact), even more destructive than heroine. Yet it is legal and even pushed and encouraged. When I am online I get  constantly bombarded with advertisements for it. And as someone who has had problems with alcohol addiction in the past this is not helpful. This advertising is an example of how these algorithms governing things can get things catastrophically wrong. Now I am not calling for a ban on alcohol, even though I know first-hand of its harms, I will never tell others what they can or cannot use, and I would never dream of stopping others from enjoying it. It is their life, they're adults, their choice. I just wish all the drinkers out there would also respect my right as an adult to choose to use cannabis, especially as it is much less harmful and medicinal.

 This brainwashed society is hypocritical and I am tired of the stigma, which is based on deliberate lies and ignorance. And is why I am speaking out. It is time things changed.

And change they will, the karma is ripening, and this government and any future government that continues to uphold this bad law will not last, their own karma and the energetic momentum of truth will bring them down. Legalising cannabis is one way for them to bring some good karma for themselves.

Free the herb!

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Asoka

Abandonment

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 15 Dec 2021, 18:05

Abandonment is hard. I have trouble with communication and human relations. I make friends only for them to abandon me because they can't handle my mood swings and delusions. This has happened to me numerous times with people I thought were good friends. I think they have to cut me off for their own sanity, because I can get a bit intense sometimes. I feel regret for that. I don't judge them, although I did judge them at the time, hated them for it in fact, being cut loose and abandoned by others feels cold and painful and just reinforces all the negative beliefs I hold about myself. But I also understand why they did it and there's nothing I can do to change what happened, it sucks, but I have to let it go. I can't force people to like me or be my friend. 

I wish I didn't lose friendships like this, it hurts a lot. So I think for my own sake, I need to practise some self-care and just not bother making anymore connections. I'll stay solitary I think, it is less painful that way, rejection is unpleasant and triggers me, makes me go on a downer, and I get depressed and I start feeling the self-loathing and wishing I wasn't alive, and that isn't a good way to be. I figure if I just keep myself to myself from now on and avoid connecting to others then I will avoid that trigger (I hope). Although loneliness is hard, but one is only lonely if they think they are lonely. And I am making friends with non-human beings, both seen and unseen, so I am not completely alone, just alone in the sense of not having many human friends/companions.

Still there are some good people whom I do still have a strong heart connection to, who haven't abandoned me or misunderstood me, and they have seen me at my worse over the years, and they still want to know me and be my friend. I am grateful for those people, they warm my heart and make me want to carry on living. And although some of them don't live close by, it doesn't matter, the connection I have with them in my heart is strong and cannot be broken. They help me feel fearless and remind me that I at least matter to some people out there.

My inability to connect with others is painful.

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