Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Getting the Medicine Right

Just as important as getting the right dosage of medicine is getting the correct dosage of thinking. Medicine may be capable of clearing the fog of depression but it cannot take us where we want to go in life. While psychiatry is concerned with obtaining an optimum chemical balance, patients are responsible for maintaining the balance of thought.

There are axes in the bodily equation of chemicals and there are also axes in the mental processes, and they can be interrelated. When thinking about the future, having more positive thoughts and less negative thoughts may influence the axis of ambition.

Think about where you will be in five years, for example. Someone in the depressed state of mind would respond, "more of the same crap" and the his ambitions, too, would follow in the same line, producing desires are as unrealistic as winning the lottery that never develop into anything obtainable. When the fog clears away, however, the possibilities improve. Granted, some of the ambitions now are still "flights of fancy" but the primary difference is that the person regains the capability to adjust these dreams into realizable actions.

Negative thoughts do not simply go away now that the medication is correct, they must be managed. How do we deal with them? Katsuki Sekida in "Zen Training" suggests "acknowledge it honestly, saying "such and such an evil thought has occurred in me," and then drop it.""

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