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Old 02-13-2013, 12:19 PM   #13
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,184
Re: depression, has practicing Aikido helped in any way?

I've held off from replying to this because I don't have depression, and so don't have your personal experience. I'm also not a clinician. You asked, though, about using anti-depressants, and that made me remember the tail-end of a talk by Pema Chodron (it's on one of her audiobooks). In response to a question where a participant wanted to stop using medication, Ani Pema said, During the Q&A session, one participant said that she had clinical depression and was hopeful that she could stop using antidepressants if she got her meditation practice working right. Ani Pema said, basically, that while practices like meditation can be helpful, and might allow some people to go off their meds, for some people, medication is needed to temper the effects of the condition, and that's just a part of the life that you have. The important point is that for many people, medication mediates the condition enough that they can proceed, can get on with life, and can be in a position where practices such as meditation (or aikido, or walks in the woods, or whatever) can do some good. So, in her view, it's not an either-or thing.

I also found another article in the Shambhala Sun (here) by a woman who attempted to deal with depression purely through meditation and spiritual practices, and was not successful until she added antidepressants into her suite of tools. It's a pretty hard read; she describes the depths of her depression with great honesty. But it's also beautiful and full of wisdom:

"There's a saying in Zen that "inquiry and response come up together." Perhaps that's what prayer is. To make an inquiry is already to get a response, because asking implies that there's something else there. And there's not even a time lag. The moment you're asking for help, you're already getting it, though it may not be the help you thought you wanted. Once, when I called Zen teacher Reb Anderson in despair, he came to Berkeley to see me. We sat on a park bench in a playground, and he told me, "The universe is already taking care of you." I said this mantra to myself over and over: "The universe is already taking care of me.""

Best of luck to you,

Last edited by lbb : 02-13-2013 at 12:33 PM.
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