Tonight the moon is full, Orion is rising large in the east, Jupiter is straight overhead and Venus is shining brightly as the Evening Star – it’s a beautiful night on planet Earth…
The Secret Waits For Eyes Unclouded
“Can a Buddhist also be Taoist?” one of us had asked.
It was late last night, during a great conversation with Tania, and the question made me reach into the book* we were discussing and rip out a random page – it was just the mood of the conversation…
I looked at the words on the page:
“The secret waits for eyes unclouded by longing”
– Tao Ti Ching: The Way And It’s Power
Wow, that was pretty surreal, answers at my fingertips.
“Tao Buddha Baby” I thought.
As we kept talking I started to draw on the page, in that distracted way, like doodling, which tends to bring the subconscious to the surface and give it a voice.
While the conversation drifted through a number of subjects, mostly we talked about the depression I was going through and writing about…
Sleep, Wake, Sleep…
For the last week, since Tuesday, I’ve been caught in the undertow of depression – just part of the regular cycle of things. This routine is so familiar, yet it’s also a dark cloud of mystery every time it settles in on me.
This time it came in like a fog. My inner vision changed to opaque, shades of grey and black. My body took on all the effects of having something like the flu – chills, exhaustion and fatigue, uncomfortableness throughout my body, heavy sadness and repeating loops of negative thoughts…
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the repeating loops of really stupid Jon-hating crap mounted their full assault. I made my counter-move and went to sleep.
Sometimes that’s all you can do. Sleep, wake and try to sleep again. It makes for a very long week.
By Friday I felt bruised and battered from the assault and it was hard to remember any of the good stuff that happened before Tuesday. That seemed so long ago, weeks ago, so many times of sleeping, waking, sleeping and waking had blurred all sense of time…
Because depression really likes to kick you when you’re down, on Friday and Saturday endless streams of false guilt and recriminating thoughts rained down on me.
Meanwhile my inner vision remained darkly opaque – my inner vision that I rely on constantly for my creative work.
Without Vision The People Perish – Proverbs 29:18
The full quote of that verse is “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (King James Version)
To me this says – when faith is lost, people lose their way, but the one who keeps his faith against the odds will find their way and survive.
Faith is the thing that keeps my feet from stumbling even when my inner vision is opaque as cataracts and horribly dark in it’s shadowed thinking.
Faith is something which has been built during my lucid moments and during the day-in-day-out reality, something that’s proven itself over and over, something more solid than stone and larger than my imagination.
Sometime faith is like a talisman I hold onto, because it’s something so familiar it anchors me to this reality through the strongest storms of depression.
Because, quite frankly, this storm will pass, but another one will hit again in a week or two, and then again, and again. Sometimes in new and creative ways to drive me towards despair, and other times in relentlessly familiar ways.
During that time I might get an upswing – a period of extra energy that will eventually run out, often when I’m in mid-stride on an idea.
It’s like my system shoots me up with some amazing drug and then one day decides to make me quit cold-turkey, with days of withdrawal-like symptoms, until one day the drug returns, and then withdrawal, over and over.
This has been happening to me my whole life, and unless some miracle happens, will continue through the rest of my days.
Ever since I was diagnosed in 1998** I’ve been watched this repeating cycle happen over and over – I’ve been studying it like a cellmate, I know it’s moves, but it’s been a very puzzling experience.
Clouds Hunger For Your Very Puzzling Experience, For Example.
Do randomly selected words on a page mean anything? Can seemingly chance events be telling anything? Is it possible to reach your hand into a book and rip the answer from it?
Some things you would never choose for yourself, or anyone else. Bi-polar spectrum disorder is one of those things, but this is the path I find myself on, the story I’ve been given in this life. It’s kind of random but I’m looking to find meaning in it.
The secret waits for eyes unclouded.
So, tonight I’ll sleep under the full moon, as Orion watches over us and Jupiter hangs majestically in the heavens.
Tomorrow Venus will again shine brightly as the Evening Star and it’ll be another beautiful night on planet Earth.
*The book we were discussing was called Awakening The Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das which Tania read this last year.
**Currently, the name they use for my situation is “Bi-polar Spectrum Disorder.” It’s still a mystery to the doctors and drug-makers.