Thursday, 6 March 2014

The three difficulties; and self-esteem

I went out with friends tonight, mid-conference, to a pub I like here.

About three beers down, the conversation turned to mental health, and coping strategies, and related subjects. I started talking about my issues in the past, and present, and how I am now in the habit of consciously reminding myself that whatever my internal commentary track is telling me might not be the ground truth.

At this point, a (buddhist) good friend of mine interrupted me and told me about the Slogans of Lojong, and specifically about this one:

Train in the three difficulties
The first difficulty is to even see a neurosis for what it is. The second is to be able to deal with the neurosis, and the third is to deal permanently with the neurosis
(paraphrased from my friend's explanation)
He pointed out that my even being able to recognize my mood spirals for what they were, and able to try to tell myself to temper my trust in my intuitions based on my impression of my depression talking over my more sensible thoughts was already achieving the first of the Three Difficulties, and for him an ability well worth respect.

It is very helpful, at times, to be reminded that as far as I may feel I have yet to travel to some sort of sensible, workable, harmonious end-state in my relationship to my depression; where I am now is significantly further along than where I started.
 

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