Saturday, July 23, 2016

Śūnyatā

"There is no reality in a dream but nevertheless we believe in the reality of the things seen in a dream. After waking up, we recognize the falsity of the dream and we smile at ourselves. In the same way, the person deep in the sleep of the fetters clings to the things that do not exist. 

..but when he has found the Path, at the moment of enlightenment, he understands that there is no reality and laughs at himself. This is why it is said: like in a dream."
~Nagarjuna - Mahaprajñaparamitopadesa - Chapter XI

When my mood is good, I can look on my experiences and feel good about them.  I did the best I could, with the hand I was dealt.  I have things to look forward to.  When my mood is bad, those same experiences seem like a lot of misfortune, floundering, and futility.  Those same things no longer seem worth looking forward to.  In cognitive behavioral therapy, we're taught that we can choose which way we go.  I've found that to be naive.  Some things help improve the neurochemistry behind it, such as eating well, getting exercise - but these things work, because they alter the way the brain works, just as exercise alters the way muscles work.  Ultimately, brain function is everything.

We all have good and bad experiences.  Some are fortunate enough to have a life of more pleasant experiences, while others subsist in abject misery.  In Buddhism, these are different realms of existence, and it's taught that we are best positioned to understand the truth, when we're somewhere in between, not at either end of the spectrum.  Although not to dwell on it too much, as we are never well positioned to judge where we are on that spectrum exactly.  It matters, but if you're positioned well enough to even think about it, that's a good sign, and it's best to move on.

In theory, state of mind is everything, for everyone, but in practice, circumstances can make that much more difficult to realize for some than others.  Circumstances also matter.. but they are not the be all, end all, that the mind is.  Deep in the machinations of neural pathways and and the chaotic interactions of biochemistry, our understanding of our environment forms, our circumstances, our world.  What matters, and what doesn't.

Nothing matters, without the mind assigning its interpretations, comparisons, and values.  This is why I say that mind is everything, and that I think the key to finding contentment in this world must lie somewhere therein.  Not in what I accomplish, what I do, or what my past experiences have been.  We need to do what we can, for the mind to be as healthy as it can be, as any effort we make can be undermined, if the brain isn't functioning as well as it could be.  What we do in our external lives matters to that end.. but it is that end that we are most concerned with.

It is neurophysiology which governs everything else that we think matters.  When we have mindblowing experiences, this is an alteration of neurochemistry.  How that experience is derived is incidental.  It's all about the neurophysiological changes that yield what we call experience, what we learn from it, what neurophysiological changes are ultimately achieved by it.

This must seem completely alien to those who spend their entire lives assuming what happens in the world around us is everything.  In a sense, it is, and we are a part of that everything - but none of it means anything, without a human mind arbitrarily assigning meaning to it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

any day now.. any.. day.. now..

So, I've been patient for a while, but sometimes even more patient than I realize I'm being.  It's been nine days since I had that blood work done, and still not a peep from my doctor.  She almost certainly has the results.  She's just not doing anything with them.  Will she make me wait indefinitely, until I call and ask what the hell's going on?

Why?  I think it's because she's a lousy doctor who just doesn't really give a damn.  I should be able to just go find another doctor, but the way medical insurance is set up, it's difficult.  I don't even know if it's possible, but I do know it limits my choices, might not help at all, and could even delay getting treated even more.  I could look into it, because maybe I'm wrong about all of that, but I hate dealing with things.

I celebrate what an ambitious and responsible person I am, every time I pay my electric bill.  I set the bar pretty low these days, but, relatively speaking, I'm doing pretty well, and I think that has something to do with it.  Sometimes it feels like I hardly even have depression anymore.  Sure, I have these secondary symptoms that look a whole lot like depression.. but I'm not actually depressed.  Not even remotely suicidal, anymore.

I'm just happy that survival isn't such a challenge these days, and I've had it with aiming any higher than that.  If I feel like doing more than this, great.  I've started running again.  I've been regular about it, and that's a good thing.. but I'm not going to push myself to do things I don't feel like doing.  Berating myself just makes me miserable, and I don't feel like being miserable anymore.  Sure, life will pass me by and all that, but ah, fuck it.  That's what life does.

Guess I'll give my doctor another few days.  Two weeks is the most it could possibly take to get those results.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

two out of three, maybe?

Spoke too soon on those mycelium pins.  It's not looking good.  It's been a few years since my last foray into amateur mycology, and I felt like I was winging it a little too loosely, trying to remember everything.  I was impatient, I was lazy, I was cheap, I think I need to start over.  Take another two months, maybe get it right next time.

Trying to stay positive about it, but you know.  Fuck.  Now, I'm thinking of trying to grow psychotria viridis, too.  Have to research how realistic that would be.  Tropical plant, might need a whole terrarium setup and a crazy amount of patience to get the conditions for it to work out.. but I just spent two months watching mold grow, for nothing.  We all need hobbies, right?

I've spent the past few days with my family, trying to be social, doing stuff.  Outside my apartment and everything.  It's fucking exhausting.  I feel like writing, but I don't really know what else to say.  My mom is going back to Florida tomorrow morning, but I had to bail on the socializing early (yes, even socializing with my mom is difficult for me)

We'll have breakfast tomorrow before her flight, but in the meantime, I think I'm just going to drink myself into a stupor.

I am so looking forward to having something other than alcohol to play with.

Friday, July 8, 2016

almost there

Just three more days, and I can finally get that labwork that will hopefully show my doc that I need a more serious dosage, and things will finally start looking up, here.  Not only that, but my plants are about to start flowering, and the mycelium caked rye should start showing pins, any day now.

Sometimes it seems like everything converges at once, as if it was all just meant to be - and then various things go wrong, none of it works out, and I end up waiting another few months for something else.  Eventually years go by.  I think I've spent most of my life waiting for things.

My mom is coming to visit too, although she isn't coming to visit me.  She's coming to see my cousin's newborn for the first time.  My cousin, who literally lives just around the corner, who I never see.  I've only seen her newborn once myself.  It's frustrating, but I'm terrible at initiating contact.  With anyone at all, ever.

I was hoping to have more interaction with her and her new family, but it hasn't worked out that way.  I can only assume they find it off-putting that I'm so reclusive.  I'm just guessing though.  Maybe they think I'm weird and creepy.  I don't know.  My cousin is pretty shy herself, which means she's not great at taking initiative either, but it also means she could hate me for all I know.  I have no idea.

Now, granted, it's not like we have much of anything in common.  Part of the problem is that I do have very different interests and don't even know what to talk about with them.  Spending time with most people does tend to be awkward and boring, and makes me just want to get back home to do my own thing.. and yet, I miss my family.  I hate losing touch with people entirely.  I want to endure that awkwardness now and then.. just not right now.  Maybe some other time.  Always some other time.

Her kid will be heading off to college before I know it.