Sunday, June 24, 2007

Music Is All Around Us

Do you ever wonder about life and where it came from? The other day I was cycling home through the park just looking around me was struck by just how incredible life is. I mean it's everywhere. I think that's what I enjoy most about getting hiking or climbing at the weekends is that it's a chance to leave behind the business of town and to get out and connect with nature again.

When I was manic after the course I had many different crazy thoughts. While they are crazy some of them are beautiful enough in their own way. One of which was about music. I felt like life was infused with the music of creation and that we form part of that music which is changing and being written all the time. I found myself walking down the street and feeling like the clack of my flip flops where like a drum beat.

If it's true that there's a spark of creation in each of us, and if we form part of the music of the universe - then surely we should try to make the most beautiful music and hence become a part of Gods tune for us all?

I'm not sure if there is a heaven or a hell and I don't know what happens to us when we die, but perhaps making the best music we can means that we're given the chance for an encore.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Potential Downside To Vipassana

What a long time since last I blogged.. this certainly hasn't turned out the way I wanted it to. I had meant this blog to be a really positive blog on the virtues of the Vipassana course.

I still believe it has positive elements to it - but I think it is worth saying that Vipassana is a serious undertaking and it would be, in my opinion, a really good idea to have done some meditation courses prior to going on the course.

The reason I say this is because after I had been on the course for 10 days I had a manic psychotic episode. Being manic feels like the most wonderful thing in the world... you think you can do anything and that everything is going to work out and that just generally all is going to be well. Of course unfortunately it's not reality. After a manic episode there is often (and is in my case) a period of depression.

Depression sucks. It's the most sucky thing I have ever ever experienced, and I hope it never happens again (though I'm still not clear I think). You're tired all the time, you have no wish to get out of bed, making decisions is really hard and you have no confidence in yourself. It's crap. Medication can help - and therapy (psychologist) - but it is not a fun time. I really have so much more empathy for people who have gone through these things.

I have been fortunate in that I have an extremely understanding boss who has helped me through this difficult time and has let me go to reduced duties.. if I didn't have that I dread to think what this time would have been like for me.

So - coming back to Vipassana - the subject of this blog. I do think it has positive values. But I think it would be wrong of me - especially after what I have gone through - not to warn that Bad Things can happen. Being manic was a really weird experience - one that felt positive at the time. You can see the results here in this blog - as these writings came out of me being manic. Now however, after 2 months of minor depression I can definitely say that it's not worth being manic for the flip side of depression.

By the way - there was no history of depression / mania before going on this course - so it was completely out of the blue for me..