Though there is no such thing as a magic bullet that can ward off Depression/Addiction, I try my best to live by five (5) rules that go a really long way in maintaining and improving my emotional health:
- Do not harbor sinister designs
- Cultivate a wide range of interest in the arts
- Be knowledgeable in a variety if occupations
- Do not be negligent, even in trifling matters
- Understand that you can’t always get what you want, when you want it
I borrowed the first four (4) from Miyamato Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, while the fifth rule is a derivation from the Rolling Stones. In this article, I’ll explain the first two (2) and I’ll explain the remaining three in a subsequent article.
1. Do not harbor sinister designs: Seeking, and/or holding onto, bad juju for either oneself or for another not only develops bad juju, but it also attracts bad juju. In my experience with my own Depression, holding onto bad juju was one of the main sources of fuel for my self-hate. It was like I planned to fail in everything I did. Once I knew that anything I attempted was going to end in failure, I was already defeated. As my emotional health improved, I started to recognize how much negative energy I carried, both for myself and for others. It was like I was creating a magnet for bad juju. In harboring sinister designs, I was creating a field through which everything was bad and destined for failure. This field ensured that I wouldn’t be healthy. Now, every day, I seek to create instead of destroy, even in the smallest things. That doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen; it just means that I let go of bad juju and its destructive force. It’s simple: I try to seek and harbor health, both in myself and in others.
2. Cultivate a wide range of interest in the arts: Developing an interest in a wide variety of art, whether visual, musical, literary, or movement allows us to participate in another’s experience, as well as, allows us to express those ethereal things inside of us. In that participation and expression, the two (2) things that I consider the most important components of emotional health are found: understanding and meaning. For example, when I read poetry written during the Civil Rights era, I instantly become part of the experience of fighting for equality. Or when I view a pot from San Ildefonso potter Maria Martinez, I gain a glimpse of her experience as a Native American through her choice of colors (shades of black), symbols and shapes. And when I listen to music, it’s almost as if my soul has found its very source of fuel. Really, the beauty of art is the icing; accessing another’s expression show me that we are all connected and that we all have a need to find meaning in what can be a chaotic and unsympathetic world. If Depression/Addiction is a black hole that consumes all energy, then art is a white star that creates and expresses that same energy. Art is the antidote to Depression and Addiction’s poison.
Therefore, I think that if people do these two (2) things (plus the other three (3) I’ll cover later), they will find emotional health. Don’t believe me? Try:
- Searching yourself in an attempt to uncover and redirect any bad juju you’re holding onto, either for yourself or for another.
- Finding a piece of art and meditating on its meaning for you. Try to understand its composition and see if there’s any info about its creator.
Once you’ve done both, evaluate for yourself if it’s possible that you can feel even a bit better about life by living by the rules i presented…