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Thread: Mental illness in the service of freedom

  1. #1
    disastermouse
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    Mental illness in the service of freedom

    Today while doing fasted cardio on the elliptical, I had an intense feeling of gratitude about my Borderline Personality Disorder. It occurred to me that the only reason that I've been pushed to any sort of realization is because any sense of self I have is so unbelievably tenuous and painful - fragile beyond belief. It takes so little insight to realize how ridiculous any sort of refuge in those things would be. The downside is obviously there - but because of the constant perception of failure, pain, and self-monstrousness; one is naturally motivated to find out what is really true. This dissatisfying state of affairs naturally leads to a sort of 'will to truth'.

    Also, BPD doesn't allow you to claim any of 'your' successes - any strides I take, anything that I build seems to come from some mysterious place to which I can never make a claim. The pain comes from continually trying to seek security in the shifting sands of projected conceptual realities. Being so much less capable of that throughout the years is the only thing that's allowed me to look at just what the nature of these shifting conceptual frameworks is.

    It seems as though this is exactly what was needed for me - and saying 'yes' to it was all I ever needed to do.

    Chet

  2. #2
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Mental illness in the service of freedom

    Perfection is a delusion that many are afflicted with. Realizing your imperfection, and working to fill in the gaps, and being grateful for the process of trying to attain a perfection that is unattainable, because you know perfection is delusion,,, now that's beautiful! That's Zen.

    I firmly believe that people with disabilities (mental and physical) are in a better position for this type of realization, because every day we have opportunity to see through the delusion of perfection that others generally and unquestioningly accept. Life is not about making things (bodies, minds, life) perfect. When you are disabled you inherently know that is beyond your reach. Life is about transcending those standard definitions of perfection. Truly embracing imperfection makes perfection pointless.

    Thanks Chet!

  3. #3
    disastermouse
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    Re: Mental illness in the service of freedom

    Huh...I never thought of it in terms of perfection - mostly because for me - I don't know what perfection even is. It's such a constantly changing ideal that it doesn't even really exist to me.

    Chet

  4. #4
    disastermouse
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    Re: Mental illness in the service of freedom

    I just wanted to add some more thoughts...

    I spent a lot of time in my 20s trying to 'fix' myself. I hadn't yet been diagnosed, but I knew something about me was different and problematic. There was definitely a war between some part of myself and some other part of myself.

    Therapy in 2007 helped....and now suddenly a lot of things with which I struggled - well, I don't anymore.

    Chet

  5. #5
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Mental illness in the service of freedom

    Dear Alan La,

    Truly embracing imperfection makes perfection pointless.
    Thank you for this .


    Taigu

  6. #6
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Mental illness in the service of freedom

    Chet wrote:
    I never thought of it in terms of perfection
    Substitute normal or being like everyone else for perfection, all the same song, just different arrangements. Truly embracing who you are makes who you are not (but want to become) pointless.

  7. #7
    disastermouse
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    Re: Mental illness in the service of freedom

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Chet wrote:
    I never thought of it in terms of perfection
    Substitute normal or being like everyone else for perfection, all the same song, just different arrangements. Truly embracing who you are makes who you are not (but want to become) pointless.
    Gassho (which I now know how to pronounce)!

    I see so many people, even into their 50s and 60s (!), still trying so hard to 'fix' themselves.

    This isn't to say improvements aren't in order, but usually the self-violence of our attempts at cure seem to be so blind to what the actual issues are anyway. Without therapy, I'd have been hard-pressed to see them - and there was then the danger of using Zen to cover everything over.

    It was weird living with Zen and BPD at the same time. One of my first therapists suggested that it was only the meditative practices of Zen that likely brought me to the point where therapy was possible....and yet, without BPD, I wonder if I'd have ever practiced Zen!

    Chet

  8. #8

    Re: Mental illness in the service of freedom

    Without therapy, I'd have been hard-pressed to see them - and there was then the danger of using Zen to cover everything over.
    This is the important part. To study the self as Dogen puts it. Notice what it's like, how it happens, and what it's like when it is dropped.

    Accept the self (also another important point). Accepting things as they come up, noticing them, not attaching to them, and eventually drop them. Usually takes more than week though

    It sounds like something we do, but it's really not like that. It's more of a discovery.

    It's a constant practice. Delving into what exactly "this" is, or what "we" are. We is actually "no we", but that's kind of hard to know at first.

    Someone said something once that kind of stuck with me "When we start to open up or "wake up" to the moment more, we start to do "what we want to do." More.

    Example: I want to take a walk. I take a walk. No pondering about this or that, just enjoying the walk. Or whatever.

    It's all practice. Look at that word "practice". What should you keep? What should you use? And what can you drop? You know the saying: "It takes practice" right?

    Let's compare it to a pianist, or other musician. First they start out with the basics, learning notes and theory. They start to press the fingers on the keys etc.. As time goes by their repertoire increases, as does their skill. Eventually, playing is second nature. When performing a grand piece, there is the moment where they forget them self in the music, but don't miss a beat. Eventually, they know so much about piano, that some could say they are a "master" pianist.

    It could be seen the same way for those who practice Zen, life, this. But to start out one must learn the basics and expand their repertoire in everyday life.

    Myself. I'm about to give my first recital for Mary had a little lamb

    Gassho

    W

  9. #9
    disastermouse
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    Re: Mental illness in the service of freedom

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Without therapy, I'd have been hard-pressed to see them - and there was then the danger of using Zen to cover everything over.
    This is the important part. To study the self as Dogen puts it. Notice what it's like, how it happens, and what it's like when it is dropped.

    Accept the self (also another important point). Accepting things as they come up, noticing them, not attaching to them, and eventually drop them. Usually takes more than week though

    It sounds like something we do, but it's really not like that. It's more of a discovery.

    It's a constant practice. Delving into what exactly "this" is, or what "we" are. We is actually "no we", but that's kind of hard to know at first.

    Someone said something once that kind of stuck with me "When we start to open up or "wake up" to the moment more, we start to do "what we want to do." More.

    Example: I want to take a walk. I take a walk. No pondering about this or that, just enjoying the walk. Or whatever.

    It's all practice. Look at that word "practice". What should you keep? What should you use? And what can you drop? You know the saying: "It takes practice" right?

    Let's compare it to a pianist, or other musician. First they start out with the basics, learning notes and theory. They start to press the fingers on the keys etc.. As time goes by their repertoire increases, as does their skill. Eventually, playing is second nature. When performing a grand piece, there is the moment where they forget them self in the music, but don't miss a beat. Eventually, they know so much about piano, that some could say they are a "master" pianist.

    It could be seen the same way for those who practice Zen, life, this. But to start out one must learn the basics and expand their repertoire in everyday life.

    Myself. I'm about to give my first recital for Mary had a little lamb

    Gassho

    W
    Lesson taken...

    Still, I think therapy was necessary for me.

    Gassho.

    Chet

  10. #10

    Re: Mental illness in the service of freedom

    Still, I think therapy was necessary for me.
    Absolutely Chet. Don't take my post wrong. Sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do. That might involve some therapy in the beginning. No prob.

    It's hard to talk about on a forum because some people might have certain issues that need therapy, and some might just need to do a lot of practice.

    And... some might think there's something wrong with them . You know, blow things out of proportion.

    I mean, who hasn't, at one time or other, thought they were crazy?

    Gassho

  11. #11
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Mental illness in the service of freedom

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Still, I think therapy was necessary for me.
    Absolutely Chet. Don't take my post wrong. Sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do. That might involve some therapy in the beginning. No prob.

    It's hard to talk about on a forum because some people might have certain issues that need therapy, and some might just need to do a lot of practice.

    And... some might think there's something wrong with them . You know, blow things out of proportion.

    I mean, who hasn't, at one time or other, thought they were crazy?

    Gassho
    I dunno Will - at one time I thought you were crazy...but I'm all cured of that now...LOL!

    I was just amazed at what therapy did in concert with that unbelievably ill-conceived relationship. Some of my close friends say that I don't have as concrete a sense of 'self' as they do. I'm not sure if that's a plus or a minus.

    It'll be interesting to see what my life is like after I'm done doing Travel Nursing - this lifestyle lends itself to non-attachment.

    Chet

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