buddhism and low energy levels/depression

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buddhism and low energy levels/depression

Postby a_human_being » Sun May 11, 2014 2:56 pm

I have an ADD diagnosis among others, and depressive symptoms. Most days I struggle to keep the motivation and energy to do the basic house hold chores.

I find that when I read dhamma or try to meditate, sometimes it feels like all the talk about "cessation" and "dispassion" contributes to my low energy levels. I know there is skillful and unskillful desire and energy but that's how it is. It sometimes makes me avoid reading dhamma when I feel tired or depressed. Can someone identify or have any other input?

I hope I sometime find out how to "generate" positive energy. I have been on stimulants (add meds) before and consider asking the pdoc for starting again. I guess that and exercise will have to do until then.
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Re: buddhism and low energy levels/depression

Postby Sam Vara » Sun May 11, 2014 3:32 pm

You might want to start with the Aggi Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn46/sn46.053.wlsh.html
"At such times, monks, as the mind is sluggish, that is the wrong time to cultivate the enlightenment-factor[1] of tranquillity, the enlightenment-factor of concentration, the enlightenment-factor of equanimity. What is the reason? A sluggish mind is hard to arouse by these factors.

"Suppose a man wants to make a small fire blaze. If he heaps wet grass, wet cow-dung and wet sticks on it, if he exposes it to wind and rain and sprinkles it with dust, can he make that small fire blaze?"

"No indeed, Lord."

"Just so, when the mind is sluggish it is the wrong time to cultivate the enlightenment-factors of tranquillity, concentration and equanimity, because a sluggish mind is hard to arouse through these factors.

"But, monks, when the mind is sluggish, that is the right time to cultivate the enlightenment-factor of investigation-of-states, the enlightenment-factor of energy, the enlightenment-factor of rapture.[2] What is the reason? A sluggish mind is easy to arouse by these factors.

"Suppose a man wants to make a small fire blaze. If he heaps dry grass, dry cow-dung and dry sticks on it, blows on it with his mouth, and does not sprinkle it with dust, can he make that fire blaze?"

"Yes indeed, Lord."

"... a sluggish mind is easy to arouse through these factors.


From there, explore what these energising "enlightenment factors" are; and learn how best to cultivate them to your advantage. They feature in lots of suttas and there are several good modern commentaries that feature them on Access to Insight and elsewhere. e.g. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el001.html

Give it a try, anyway. Look for sayings and ideas that are arousing and inspirational, and try them out. Lots of people who come to the Dhamma for help are stressed and over-stimulated, and they seek out and popularise all that "dispassion" and "cessation" stuff. That's great for them, but you need something a bit different.
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Re: buddhism and low energy levels/depression

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun May 11, 2014 3:55 pm

On an entirely practical note, you can play appropriate Dhamma talks and listen to them through headphones while going to sleep. Subliminal learning is extremely effective in affecting our mood and temperament. It helps enormously to listen to positive affirmations and instructive encouragement this way.

:namaste:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: buddhism and low energy levels/depression

Postby Coyote » Sun May 11, 2014 4:25 pm

I recommend dhamma talks, as they can be quite inspirational. Find a teacher you like and stick with their instructions.

http://www.dhammatalks.org/

^These always get me in a good mood for practice.

You could also try devotional reading or meditation, the brahmaviharas, or walking meditation. There's plenty out there for both sides of the coin in terms of the enlightenment factors.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: buddhism and low energy levels/depression

Postby Mkoll » Sun May 11, 2014 5:34 pm

a_human_being wrote:I have an ADD diagnosis among others, and depressive symptoms. Most days I struggle to keep the motivation and energy to do the basic house hold chores.

I find that when I read dhamma or try to meditate, sometimes it feels like all the talk about "cessation" and "dispassion" contributes to my low energy levels. I know there is skillful and unskillful desire and energy but that's how it is. It sometimes makes me avoid reading dhamma when I feel tired or depressed. Can someone identify or have any other input?

I hope I sometime find out how to "generate" positive energy. I have been on stimulants (add meds) before and consider asking the pdoc for starting again. I guess that and exercise will have to do until then.


Hi Human Being,

A daily or near-daily exercise routine helps a lot, as you've mentioned. Sticking to a regular sleeping and eating schedule is helpful as well. There's also the possibility that there's something in your diet that is contributing to your symptoms. Try cutting out certain foods, eating healthy, etc. I've been amazed in my own experience and of seeing the experience of others at what a change in diet can do.

Cessation and dispassion are very advanced stages of the path, in my understanding. I don't know how you're trying to implement them or what your view is on them, but I don't think they're something to pursue in your case right now. There are plenty of other teachings to dwell upon: I'd suggest being careful about the ones you do. Perhaps your views surrounding cessation, dispassion, fading away, and other similar concepts are not helpful right now. You can always try coming back to them later.

You might also try just dealing with your symptoms on the mundane level. That is, take a break from trying to solve your problems with Dhamma. Finding some mundane motivation in life might be helpful, such as taking up a hobby, working for a degree, a new job, etc. It sounds like there's an issue with your body but it could also be psychophysical. It sounds like you're not using any drugs now, and I suggest you stay that way unless you absolutely must.

I hope some of that is helpful.

:anjali:
Peace,
James
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