Depressive Rumination: Stopping Negative Thinking

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“You’re going to worry yourself sick”, was my mother’s ring tone. Those seemingly meaningless words crashed softly to the ground in my youth and young adulthood. Unfortunately, in 2005 with my life completely unmanageable did the phrase make its way home.  After suffering from major depression and depressive rumination for over twenty years, I learned “you’re going to worry yourself sick” was an understatement.

The Stuck Mind

Depressive rumination is repetitive thinking; the disruptive behavior is associated with affective disorders like depression. I was a slave to this horrible affliction. The ability to chew on negative thoughts for days was a common occurrence. These judgments originated from numerous mental queries, judgments, and suggestions (i.e., a perceived wrong from others, external forces, or future expectations).

Whatever the reason, thoughts or opinions would stew in my mind until mental exhaustion was achieved. Without question, I could not let go of repetitive negative thoughts; they were a normal element of my depressive life.

Major depression is a dark alley of hopelessness and its strangling mist slowly chokes rational thinking to death. The experience of depression is indefinable, and it becomes more horrifying; when we cannot articulate our mood, it’s scary as hell. But we can recover from both depression and depressive rumination.  We can find a way out.

Thus when the decision to face my darkness was sprouted, rumination or obsessive thinking was also in my crosshairs. I wanted freedom from depression, substance abuse, and repetitive thinking in that order.

Byron Katie

Dismantling depressive rumination became possible after reading Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is. Her book helped me learn more about Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of psychotherapy where thoughts are challenges for validity. In other words, is it true what we’re thinking or is it a false perception? Unchallenged negative thoughts have a direct impact on our behaviors and our depressive disorders.

Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is”, coupled with psychotherapy, anti-depressive medicine, and Taoism provided the strength to challenge my depressive rumination. Taoism is my philosophy and my path. I practiced five years reading, studying, and receiving therapy to not only conquer depression, but to manage circular thinking. In addition, the art of mindfulness helped challenge old habits as well.

Depressive rumination increases depressive symptoms in patients. This maladaptive behavior is detrimental to the mind, body, and spirit.  We ponder relentlessly about memories we cannot affect and likewise wait with heightened anxiety for future expectation.

However, major depression and depressive rumination are curable.  Please consider seeking medical diagnosis for your depressive symptoms or rumination.   By the way, only when we are present in the here-and-now do depressive ruminations begin to dissolve.

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The Invisible Dragon

Book Review: Greatest Salesman in the World

Note:  I have more Christian friends than a mega church could shake a stick at.  My friends and I share and read books.  We share books not as an attempt of conversion to either faith or philosophy but spiritual growth. Hence some books receive a succinct written appraisal because of their indelible impression on the Dragon.  Such a book is below.

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Overview

Og Mandino, (1968) “The Greatest Salesman on Earth.” Overview: Jay Redmond dutifully sworn to inform me of Christian genres did so with best-selling author Og Mandino’s book “Greatest Salesman in the World”. Why, the forewarning? Because we do not trade books so heavily slanted that any message of worth is drowned out by ideology or mythology.  This is not to say religious books make me scurry but some attempt to covert by text. I’m not a big fan of these books and pleasingly Jay takes this heed.

In fact, before Jay dropped it on my desk, I could honestly say, never heard of it. Jay’s an avid reader as well as philological gent, a light-skinned African-American fellow drenched in thought. He informed me of the mission, “read this book, I think you’ll enjoy it”.  This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds, damn that Jay.  Spoiler Alert!!!   Greatest Salesman on Earth (1968) is not about last month’s quarterly reports.

Hafld:  Teach Me

The date did not bother me (1968) concerning contextual relevance. The Tao and Bible are much older; the Buddha, a tired elder, long should have retired. What the book has in common with these books and philosophical thinking patterns is the art of the parable. The story sets in Jerusalem in about the time before Christ’s birth, when the young man Hafld wishes and learns the secrets of success.

The educational tutelage came from one of the wealthiest men at that time. The well-off elder was repeating the gesture he himself requested and received long ago, “the secret of success”. The story reveals ten scrolls handed down to Hafld, these lessons of principles necessary to build one to self-actualization.  Without giving much if anything away, the scrolls provide lessons to change one’s circumstances through a change of consciousness.

The story inside the story is a powerful plug for Christians; as such reading the book in its entirety will be a great revelation. Greatest Salesman on Earth is a nice story of self-identity building and remaining faithful to one’s beliefs.

My Take:

Og Mandino’s “Greatest Salesman in the World” has sold over 14 million copies. There are some helpful, empowering tools in the classic. However, my reaction to the book was lukewarm mainly because the anecdotes were familiar to my schema. This book would be more advantageous to a person just beginning their journey, such as the main character Hifld.

In addition, the book offers great insights and then produces thoughts that baffled me, as such, “Experience is comparable to fashion; an action that provoked successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow, only principles endure (pp42).”

Principles become experience when applied in real life situations. It is similar to hope, it only becomes hope when actions are secured, or “when the rubber hits the road”.
This book favors individuals who desire external guidance in the beginning of their journey.

Three Dragons… Recommended for purchase…
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Next Book Review
Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success

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The Invisible Dragon

365 Tao, entry 28 Accountability

 

问责制

images2“Parent’s responsibilities are to guide us, educate us, and even make judgment on our behalf when circumstances are uncertain…eventually bring us to a point where we make our own decisions based on the wisdom they help us develop…But the potential for abuse and mistakes is very great.

What person can be right all the time? A simple lapse at the wrong time can cause confusion, psychological scars and even disaster…that is why we need a parent for the parent, a master for the master, and leaders for the leader…let us invoke not deities but pragmatism…It is experience that is the ultimate teacher…it is this way that they can truly confirm their thoughts and compensate for their shortcomings.” by ming-dao deng

(Personal Development)

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
-Buddha (536 B.C.-483 B.C.)

I would graciously add ‘experience’ to the Buddha’ passage if so pleasantly allowed. However, the implications appear to vacate age-old deities and mystic’s instructions for life development. In my opinion, experience trumps the recital of antiquated phrases in a distant social context. As such, our experiences refresh our consciousness more often than ancient writings in a far off time. In fact, we must live the words in which we claim true and virtuous. In other words, live the Tao, so one learns the mistakes that require corrections. The Tao spoken is not the Tao.

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The Invisible Dragon

Miles Davis

The Art and Science of Mindfulness

“Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”~ Jon Kabat-Zinn .

mindfulness The definition of spiritual mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn is the best description one could rehearse. Although the clarification appears simple, if one has attempted the process, one would attest its difficulty. As a matter fact, remaining mindful is possible one of the great wonders on earth. For example, one reason we cannot remain current is that it goes against what we were trained about life. Unfortunately, achievement and accomplishment is bred before we utter our first sound. We were unaware of the excitement parents exhibited when we uttered the phrase, “I want to be a doctor or teacher” at the age of seven.

They blushed with anticipation of their child’s self-worth increasing when that would become a reality. Sadly, however, some drove their children not to live in a state of happiness but to acquire it through recognition and material possessions. Make no mistake; the ‘rat race’ begins early in Western civilization. Even today, we are running faster than ever to get somewhere.

The Chase

The prepackaged meaning of life and happiness is reinforced through adolescence eventually surrounding us with stress and anxiety as young adults. We must receive the best grades, we must be the best athletes, and by all means the best students. Above all, we must acquire the traits to multitask several objectives at once. Hence, the pressure to think ahead and to study our past mistakes becomes an obsession.

Not surprisingly, one who possesses these mannerism is proudly selected as being ‘most valuable.’ Expectably, the more one can manage they mistakenly are labeled as being ‘Mindful.” Sadly, this is a misnomer; mindfulness is not the ability to juggle several tasks at once. Mindfulness is about appreciating every moment, multitasking or not. When we are mindful, we smell the roses and appreciate what the present moment offers.breathe

Be Still and Listen

Mindlessness, however leads one to duplicate an act without noticing the process (Autopilot). For instance, one may pages in a book and cannot recall the content, the mindless day is filled with habitual activities. Sadly, often it leaves us exhausted and unaware of the surrounding of our environment. This mindless cycle is conducted by thousands of anxiety-ridden, stressed-out adults each day.

Incidentally, they struggle to achieve stillness; they feverously race through life from one crisis to the next. Sadly, it must be Black or White for them to comprehend the subject; they become confused with any mention of numerous options. They are stuck on (Auto-Pilot). All situations or people must fit into their preselected categories. In these cases, individuals cannot vision things in alternative manners: possessing limited awareness, they live through their five senses.

Tranquil

To begin to find tranquility, one may want to interview the process of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the characteristic of being present, attentive and non-judgmental. It is the process of living in the present state, with a peaceful mind. A mindfulness person vision the activity, they do not become lost in the illusions of past and futuristic aspirations. As a result, their behaviors do not become mundane or something done to get through the day.

Chiefly, they notice the green grass on both sides of the street. Creativeness often comes through mindfulness individuals. They relinquish the past or future in deciding events. Nevertheless, this as aforementioned is a difficult and this short introduction does not do justice to the process. In the coming days we will explore mindfulness in more detail and extend the knowledge.

The Invisible Dragon

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Are You Stuck? Here’s What to Do About It

2675043373_10460df67f_m We are exhausted, faint from repetitive thoughts and unsuccessful efforts at life’s conquest.  Regardless of numerous attempts, we appear hopelessly deadlocked in the court of ‘not arriving’. As such, our peace resembles a mirage off into the distance. If only we prayed harder or secured a little luck, maybe next time we win. Again however, it ends repeatedly with a ‘girl’s night out or ‘a little me time’ to refurbish our fatigue minds. We are stuck.

Subsequently, attempts escapes like a failing fish from out grip drains our spirit.  All in all, we are trapped and we know it. However, with certainty, the vital reason for our purgatory existence lies with the attachments to our physical life. In other words, our connection to what we can see is stronger than we cannot see that which faith is.

As a result, we seldom give in to the unseen (faith); the mortal world attractions instead consume our mind. We become so concern with what we have than who we really are. In fact, our clothing, automobiles, houses and organizations becomes all-important. We accept this second place result, while wrestling against the pains ensue upon our lives from the associations. Sadly, though, our faith also is not in communion with God’s path, but an altered egotistical path is our master.

Help Me

The first step to unleashing our inner-power is to end the chase of worldly recognitions and acquisitions. Build an earnest to fulfill the destiny of our spiritual path by accepting less and refusing to take credit for things. As a reminder, we do not have to be first or right in all situations. In addition, when we help remain silent, take no thought of our practice; hence, we may expect something back in the future. 9891160_e5ea2493c6_m

Our philosophy should be to strive beyond the superficiality and actualize our inner power. Also, we should work mercifully to change our awareness by realizing it is the only sustainable force we possess. Thus, if we truly recognize ourselves as a fraction of God, we would not yearn for the temporary lures of the ego. In fact, we would resemble the opposite of our worldly nature; we would never become stuck or ‘wanting.’ As a result, of not living through desires, the spirit would be at peace we what is.

Release The Power From Within

Don’t move. Just die over and over. Don’t anticipate. Nothing can save you now because you have only this moment. Not even enlightenment will help you now because there are no other moments. With no future, be true to yourself and express yourself fully. Don’t move.” Shunryu SuzukiGive yourself permission to feel perfect, with where you are with what you have. Furthermore, realize that the present moment is the only moment that exists. We become stuck when we fight the present moment.

In short, unleash yourself from the bondage of constant thoughts and wishes. Instead, settle into a state of mindfulness; by guiding oneself into a deeper realm of consciousness. Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings.” ~ Tao Te Ching…Stay balance, not going to high or venturing to low, find the peace inside one and deliver yourself.

Hence, there is a time to go ahead and a time to stay behind.

There is a time to breathe easy and a time to breathe hard.

There is a time to be vigorous and a time to be gentle.

There is a time to gather and a time to release.

Can you see things as they are

And let them be all on their own?

~ Lao-tzu

The Invisible Dragon

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