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Our Mental Health Blogs

Anxiety: No Kidding, Me Too! The Lighter Side of Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Illness: It’s Not Just You

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and some of  Hollywood’s brightest stars have created a charity, and coming out campaign. Watch the PSA with the ever-sexy Harrison Ford: No Kidding, Me too!

Let’s change the conversation about mental health, and treat anxiety. Here’s a Friday fun one to help lighten your week:

The Obsessive-Compulsive Buddhist

Meditation Session

Zebras of a not so different stripe: "No kidding, me too!"
Zebras of a not so different stripe: "No Kidding, me too!"

Master:

Sit down in a comfortable position, legs uncrossed with a straight back.

Student:

My back is never straight. I think I have scoliosis or something. Do my shoulders look level to you?

Master:

Your shoulders are level.

Now, close your eyes.

Student:

I forgot to turn off the stove.

Master:

The stove is not important right now. Focus only on the moment.

Student:

No, really. I’m pretty sure I completely forgot. I need to go and check.

Master:

OK, go check but just this once and then you’re coming back to sit down, right…?

…Is it off?

Student:

It’s off. I’m just waiting for the clock to hit the 60 second mark before I turn off the lights…

Master:

There now. Good. Sit back down and close your eyes.

Student:

I can’t. I need to check the stove. I’m not sure I did it right.

Master:

The stove might be on but equally it might also be off. The stove is like Schrödinger’s cat. It is a fleeting thing. Everything is in continuous flux.

Student:

Even me?

Master:

Even you.

Student:

Flux! I’m in flux??? What about the stove??

Master:

Yes, it is the nature of the universe. Your attachment to the stove is but one momentary aspect of that nature.

Student:

But it might burn the house down if I leave it on, especially if it’s in flux. That can’t be good. And I always leave it on, you know? I should really check it again. Seriously.

Master:

You’re attached to the house too, and your Self. That’s the self-cherishing mind that we need to let go of.

Student:

But the house could explode, or we could die of gas poisoning or the curtains could catch fire and we’d be trapped. And I haven’t checked the fire extinguishers today.

Master:

Yes, death is certain. But knowing is a mind state. It is synthetic: a sensation and desire, and does not fulfill our potential. Happiness isn’t in the fire extinguisher. It isn’t anywhere outside the Self.

Happiness is a path, not a point or a thing or a person.

Student:

We’re going to die?? I’m going to check. It can’t hurt to check, right?

Master:

The act itself is not the cause of your pain, that is true. Your pain is of the mind, created from passion where there might better be detachment, calm and disregard of Self.

Student:

That reminds me. I forgot to unplug the toaster. Be right back…

Master:

Fear is a mind state we must ward against. Your thoughts are a rushing river and what you become is determined by this moment of thought.

Student:

I’m becoming dirty, that’s what. There’s a spot on my chair. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s from my pants? Is it from my pants? I’ll have to change my pants.

Master:

There is no spot. It’s all right. You’re fine. We are all things and nothing, only energy passing through time. Your worry is your suffering, not the spot or the toaster, the world or any other.

These things are sensed, held in our perceptions.

In meditation we try to focus on remaining still and closing our eyes. Try to shut your mind to external and then internal perceptions.

That’s good. Eyes closed? Just breathe. Place your focus on the breath.

…Erm, you’re tapping your foot?

Student:

Well, you said to close my eyes. I count to 13, 973 when I shut my eyes. It’s a Perfect number discovered in a prime year, you know?

Master:

That too is attachment. Release all thought except the breath.

Student:

OK, just give me a minute.

I lost count.

Busting the stigma of mental illness

Joe Pantoliano also made a stunning documentary to change the conversation about mental illness. Watch it. You’ll see.

Disclaimer: I take obsessive compulsive disorder, indeed all mental health issues seriously, but it’s hard to panic when you’re laughing. So stop stigma and beat anxiety!

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