I, or more accurately, my consciousness has re-arrived at a personally purposeful state of spacious awareness.
It has been a gruesome winter for me. With little respite, I’ve been depressed and attempting to cope with this strongly conditioned state of being by both beer drinking and late night movie watching. These activities take my mind off of the process of depressing, though they don’t help me much beyond such temporary alleviation and actually have other detrimental effects. It’s so easy to remain shortsighted in depression, and it seems that is the function of depressing: to limit the difficult and psychologically unacceptable parts of one’s context(s). Depressed people, like all people, can actually function well in particularly amenable contexts, yet falter in other contexts. Understanding that depressed people are all people, the likely reason for this type of psychological depression is a natural mechanism, even if it is an inhibiting and limiting contraction.
Bringing this back to my situation, having looked through my handwritten journal, loneliness and lack of life direction appear to be the main triggering aspects of my life that confuse me into the reactive conditioned processes of criticism, dissatisfaction, self-pity, boredom, restlessness, desire, etc. I can see this more clearly now because I am not currently in the reactive state of existence. This leads me to what I want to describe and expound on, which I think has more use—for me and others—than continuing on with reframing depression. Of course, it is also helpful to destroy the personal and social stigma of depression; though when we get the breath of fresh natural air as we are emerging out of emotional and mental suffering, we need to continue on with learning to breathe freely.
Breathing freely, feeling good, clarity of mind, and healthiness are all experiences of spaciousness. This is merely one way to understand our living vibrance of our existential nature. As existence may be fundamentally described as impermanent, non-separate, and empty, when we, or again more accurately, our consciousness is able to open flexibly to & with the vast natural emptiness of existence, what we experience is the presencing of peace. Understanding that our true nature is no different than all of existence, it is in ‘the mindful awareness of the spaciousness of existence’ that we find both the total acceptance and functional non-attachment which allows our being (mind, body, energy) to be flexible. Hence, the breathing analogy in the preceding paragraph is apt if we think of our mind as lungs. (Please take a breath break.) Non-acceptance and attachment will severely limit our ability to think, and breathe, such that we may become depressed in order to attempt to manage our personally maligned projections and perceptions of our life context(s). Of course, we need to remember that all things are truly processes, as everything is always changing.
How do we, humans, facilitate ‘the mindful awareness of the spaciousness of existence?’
There are innumerable gates (techniques), because there are innumerable conditioned situations. I meditate daily. Admittedly, I do so because I already know from experience that, a) not doing meditation is detrimental for me, and b) meditation is the best way for me to calm into the stillness of spacious presence beyond thinking or acting. For the record, I typically do zazen meditation practice. I also continue to write about important realizations, deep understandings, and notes about my practice journey in a handwritten journal. While my formal practices undoubtedly contribute to my experiences, there is also the undeniable effect of all of existence which is beyond mere me. Beyond the notion of self, I am existence and existence is me, for there is no separation. We are original nature; and in order to re-arrive consciously with original nature, we really do need to leave our conditioned minds aside. (This is why involving one’s self completely in an engrossing activity can be a similar experience.) The process of depression is a coping mechanism of psychological separation. In the depressing state of being, we’re living conditioned responses in fear. In great contrast, facilitating spacious awareness is a process of calmly allowing/accepting everything to be as it is and figuratively applying mental space (a visualization of actual emptiness). In my current experience, this practice is working, and I notice how imperative silent meditation is for preparing me for this experience as well as consciously recognizing it and being able to write about it here and now.