Meditation: Pleasure, Part IV

Pleasure is something we all seem to want, or at least, it is something that you would think, you should want. But somehow, over the years, the word pleasure, or the seeking of pleasure, has taken on this negative viewpoint. The most obvious example of this feeling, is the articles you can read about guilty pleasures. These articles will list about 10 to 12 things, that you should feel guilty about, when pursuing these endeavors . These lists can range from bubble baths, to binge watching TV, and playing hooky from work. Then, there is Freud’s Pleasure Principle. This is the theory, that as babies, we want immediate gratification, and will do anything to get it. This will gradually subside when we get older, as REALITY sets in. The reality is, that sometimes we must wait, a proper amount of time, to receive our pleasurable experience. In some cases, there is this feeling of sophistication when it comes to pleasure. This is when art and museums, are the things that gives one pleasure. Pleasure is one of the few words that is directly associated with sex. That can creative negative thoughts for many. There is this atmosphere of distain, for people that are constantly seeking pleasure. Shouldn’t all of us be seeking pleasure. Maybe, it’s the reason we seek pleasure, that is creating the problem.

You should seek to make every experience a pleasurable one. Some people may say that is just about impossible, but I think it is something to strive for. However, the major reason I think people seek pleasure, is to avoid pain. It is this avoidance of pain, through the use of drugs and alcohol, that can lead to physical addiction. The other detrimental behaviors I wrote about in previous blogs, such as being on social media, the internet, your phone, and video games, may also be due to the avoidance of pain, or painful experiences. Pleasure is confused with avoidance or dulling of pain in everyday life. That good old alcohol buzz may feel pleasurable, but it is nothing more than a blocking device, for what is causing your discomfort. The same thing could be said for products, that claim to create pleasure. It is a tough road sometimes, just to find pleasures, in the simple things of life. This is simply finding pleasure, for the sake of pleasure. Some philosophies believe, that the only way to know you are alive, is to suffer. This may seem to be a little extreme, but it could be true. Trying to avoid pain and suffering, is a fruitless endeavor. It has been shown that avoiding loss, is a very high human priority. People seem to want to avoid losing money at all costs, rather than taking a moderate risk, to make money. Avoidance is giving pleasure a bad name.

You must embrace life for what it is. It is a series of ups and downs. Seeking pleasurable things to make you happy, is never a bad thing. There is so much of life, that can not be controlled. When something gives you joy, appreciate it, and be happy. Remember, there are no guilty pleasures in life, just the wrong reason for seeking them. Look for pleasure when things are going great. When something bad happens feel the pain, embrace it the best you can, and hope for a better tomorrow. Great losses in your life can be the hardest to overcome. Remember the ones we have lost would want us to move on and continue to get the most out of life we have. Pleasure is always worth seeking as it will improve the body and the mind. What pleasure can not do, is minimize or suppress the pain and suffering found in life.

Meditation: Pleasure, Part III

In the first two parts of discussing pleasure, I wrote about how pleasure seems to create problems in our lives, and the chemicals in the body, that seem to be the agents, in allowing us to feel pleasure. In this blog, I am going to look at ways health experts have tried to control these chemicals, in order to treat psychological problems, and improve our lives. They have tried to do this through medications, and a process that is termed dopamine fasting. Both are an ever evolving processes, which you could say is true of anything involving the brain. These techniques and medications, some of which have been used for years, have meant with various degrees of success. Unfortunately, there is a long way to go, before we are really going to know what is going on, in that thing between our ears.

Dopamine fasting is a relatively new technique, which came to fame, about 2018. Basically, it is abstaining from “addictive” technologies, like the cell phone, social media, the computer, and internet gaming. The proponents of dopamine fasting, say it can even help in overeating, and gambling. The term dopamine fasting is a misnomer. Even people who advocate this method, know it does not affect dopamine levels. They fessed up to this, when it was brought to their attention, that there is no good reason to reduce dopamine levels. It does too many things to help brain function, so reducing it, is not a good idea. What they are trying to do, is to avoid overstimulation of the brain. Dopamine fasting is nothing more than some behavior modification techniques. When you read articles about dopamine fasting, they make it sound so easy. If this was an easy thing to do, taking away all technical stimulation for a finite period of time, then why would we need dopamine fasting. You would just set aside a particular time not to be on the computer, your phone etc. All the things that dopamine fasting is suppose to help are not physically addicting. It is a an insult to people that are battling the physical addiction to alcohol and drugs, to use the word addiction for the aforementioned behaviors. It is not easy to stop some of these destructive behaviors, but your body is not going to go into a horrible withdrawal. Dopamine fasting is simply another way of saying find a quiet spot and breathe.

The medical profession has tried to help people, by trying to affect the chemicals of pleasure, with medication. The most common way they have done this, is with medications called antidepressants. Right now, there are at least 22 medications, described as antidepressants. There is no question, that these medications have saved thousands of lives, and have helped people make it through some really dark times. Even though the medical profession doesn’t like to hear this, there is a lot of trial and error, when it comes to prescribing these medications. That is why it is imperative to be acutely aware of how these drugs, or any combination of them, is making you feel. You are the blood work, the MRI, and contrast study, all rolled up into one. There are no good tests, that are able to discern, how effective these drugs are. Hopefully some day, there will be ways to tell just what these drugs are doing, and when they are doing it. In the final part of looking at pleasure, I will look at the feeling itself, and try to figure out why, it is perceived to be, at times such a problem.

Meditation: Pleasure, Part II

In order to understand pleasure, we have to look at the logistics of how the mind and the body experiences pleasure. Pleasure is created by neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that are released at the end of a nerve fiber by the arrival of a nerve impulse and, by diffusing across the synapse or junction, causes the transfer of the impulse to another nerve fiber, a muscle fiber, or some other structure. The exact number of neurotransmitters is unknown but more than 200 have been identified. Neurotransmitters are different types of protein substances that are manufactured by the body from the foods we eat. Most of the western diets are high in protein, so the body does not have much trouble in making neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitter that has been related to pleasure is dopamine. Dopamine  has a number of important functions in the brain; this includes regulation of motor behavior, pleasures related to motivation and also emotional arousal. It plays a critical role in the reward system.

Dopamine is made from the amino acid L-Dopa, which can be synthesized indirectly from the essential amino acid phenylalanine or directly from the non-essential amino acid tyrosine. These amino acids  are found in nearly every protein and so are readily available in food, with tyrosine being the most common. Although dopamine is also found in many types of food, it is incapable of crossing the blood-brain barrier that surrounds and protects the brain. It must therefore be synthesized inside the brain to perform its neuronal activity. That is not a problem because both L-dopa and tyrosine can cross the barrier and therefore Dopamine is made by the brain, for the brain. Dopamine can cause health problems if an individual has too little or too much in their system. The most common disease linked to a Dopamine deficiency is Parkinson’s Disease. You can measure Dopamine in the blood. Since Dopamine can not cross the blood brain barrier, this is not going to tell you how much Dopamine is in the brain. Until recently there was no way of knowing how much Dopamine was in the brain. Now MIT has developed MRI sensors, that consist of magnetic proteins that can bind to dopamine. When this binding takes place, researchers can continuously monitor dopamine levels in a specific part of the brain. One of the key discoveries was that dopamine did not make neurons more active, but made neurons active for longer periods of time. Unless your are going to be hooked up to the these sensors, no one is really going to know what is happening in the dopamine brain system.

There are other feel good substances in the body. Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin often referred to as the happy hormones, even though only one is a hormone. They are all connected with each other when it comes to pleasure. Endorphins are stored and produced in the pituitary gland. They can inhibit pain mechanisms. You create endorphins when you do something related to exercise that you really like to do. All of these chemicals are involved in the feelings of pleasure and reward and how to get both. When any of these chemicals get out of whack not matter what the reason, we begin to have problems. This can make pleasure seem so confounding at times. Sometimes, it is what we do to bring all this in balance, that can at times make everything worse.

Meditation: Pleasure, Part I

When we think of pleasure, we think of things that make us happy, bring us joy, makes life fun, and results in a feeling of contentment and joy. Pleasure is defined, as a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment. This sounds like a rather simple endeavor. However, not all people agree on what is pleasurable. Pleasure originates in the most complex organ of the body, the brain. There is the disorder known as anhedonia, which is the inability to feel pleasure. Another condition, related to a perceived lack of pleasure, is dysphoria which is a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life. There are many opinions about pleasure. Some groups feel that pleasure is something that should not be sought. There are other opinions, that pleasure and suffering are the only way we know that we are alive. There are ideas, that when pleasure is associated with rewards, that this can lead to destructive behavior. There is a feeling that happiness and pleasure are not synonymous. That seeking out a more productive and meaningful life may not be a pleasurable experience, but your life may be more satisfying, and therefore you are happier. By constantly seeking pleasure, one will not pursue contemplation, which does not reside in orgasmic thrills, or sensations of warmth, but in deep absorption and immersion, a state we now call “flow.” And during this state there is neither thought nor feeling. You are simply “one with the music. In other words pleasure can inhibit meditation. I am not sure that I agree.

With pleasure now becoming more complicated, it was only a matter of time, before neuroscience would have to get involved. Neuroscience, at one time, felt that only objective behavior reactions could be studied, and pleasure was a subjective reaction, depending on what each individual felt was pleasurable. With new technology in brain studies, that viewpoint, while still being argued, is in the vast minority today. Today, a neuroscience of pleasure can be pursued as successfully as the neuroscience of perception, learning, cognition, or other well-studied psychological functions. Neuroscience did show the evolution of hedonic reactions. Hedonism is a family of theories that all have pleasure as a central theme. There is this conflict between hedonism and religion. By constantly seeking pleasure, it could ruin your life. However, most religions follow the principles of hedonism, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Trying to get into heaven, and avoiding hell at all costs is one of the basics of Christianity.

Pleasure, which looked so simple, turns out to be one of the most complex and misunderstood mental experiences. There are many things that can give people pleasure. Sometimes these pleasurable experiences can lead to destructive behavior. Why can’t things that are perceived to be pleasurable always be good for us? Why can’t we perceive, that in the long run, what we find pleasurable is causing us harm? How are we blocking things that would give us pleasure, and help us live better lives? Chemistry seems to be the answer. The number and the amount of these chemicals, seems to be the elusive answer to the previous questions. As this is explored further, you may get the same feeling that I have, that science is not all that close to an answer.

Meditation: Deserve

Deserve is a word that we hear many times, during the course of a day. The word deserve means to have earned or to be given something because of the way you have behaved or the qualities you have. Most of the times the word is used when somebody receives an award, and comments are made, whether he deserved the award, or not. When it comes time for the Oscars, there are movies that people feel deserve or did not deserve a nomination. The word is not always used in positive situations. Sometimes when bad things happen to people, someone might comment they deserved it. We all have had this experience when watching a movie, the villain, or vile person, gets his just due, in the end of the movie. We are all satisfied with that ending, because he deserved it. When a person commits a crime, they deserve to go to jail. This is not the way we are supposed to feel when something bad, or serious happens to another person, but it is still pretty harmless. In fact, it is often fun to debate who deserves what. On the smaller stage of life, we see people have opinions on whether or not someone deserved a promotion, or the new job they are pursuing. People will comment on another person’s new relationship, if it seems to be going well, as something they deserve. As long as a person applies deserve to another person or thing, then this process can be, for the most part, not a major problem, in one’s own psyche. It’s when deserve starts to be a way they describe their own life, that problems can arise.

It’s when you start thinking, that you deserve a better job, a new promotion, a better relationship, or just a better way of life in general, that can have a negative impact on your life. This thinking can spiral into a worse situation if you start perceiving that you deserve any of the bad things, that may be happening. We all feel there are times when we can do better, in dealing with other people, and ourselves, but this does not mean, that we are a bad person and deserve the results, when things go wrong. When you look up synonyms for the word deserve, you will find entitled. When people say they are entitled, this can bring quite a negative response. Maybe the word deserve should have more of a negative connotation. Is there anything that is good or bad, that we actually deserve. Just because you work hard, and do all the right things, is not going to guarantee success, or a monetary reward. Luck is always going to be a factor in life. Do we all deserve to be lucky? I think the answer lies at the end of movie The Unforgiven. The sheriff is about to get his head blown off by Clint Eastwood and says that he does not deserve to die like this. Eastwood’s characters reply is “Deserves got nothing to do with it”. That statement can be applied to every action and result in life, deserve has nothing to do with it. We need to get into that mode when dealing with deserve. It is just an opinion and it needs to be vanquished, from our own lives, if we want to have contentment. The reason for doing anything is for our own self satisfaction and peace. To do this, we need to remove deserve from the middle of our minds.

Meditation: Beliefs

Everyone has beliefs. My favorite saying about beliefs, is you do not want to have too many strong beliefs, because they will limit your thinking. Beliefs, defined in the dictionary states that it is an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists. It can be further defined as something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction, like my belief that the Rays would upset the Dodgers. Then there are religious convictions, which are the hardest beliefs to prove or disprove. Reincarnation is a belief that is widespread, that is believed by anywhere from 40 to 50% of the world population. This belief can not be proved or disproved. Then there are Nihilist, who believe in nothing. Nihilism  is a philosophy, or family of views within philosophy, expressing some form of negation towards life or towards fundamental concepts such as knowledge, existence, and the meaning of life. Different nihilist positions hold variously that human values are baseless, that life is meaningless, that knowledge is impossible, or that some set of entities does not exist. Some beliefs are easier to disprove than others. If someone believes that the sun is not going to come up tomorrow, or the world is going to end on a certain date in the near future, time will take care of disproving that belief. Time disproved my belief in the Rays. These beliefs are pretty harmless but some can be serious. We, as a people, seem to have to believe in something. It just makes us feel better. It is the basis of organized religion. Religion, no matter which one, has a set of beliefs, that in most cases are impossible to prove or disprove. Back in the early years of mankind, these religious beliefs caused many wars, which led to much suffering for mankind. Even to this day beliefs can stir up strong emotions and lead to violence between many groups of people. The world has progressed enough to realized that there are many kinds of beliefs and we should be able to respect these beliefs, and live in some kind of harmony. Or has it? Is having beliefs a good thing? Is believing in nothing really a belief and should we all be like this.

The first thing that beliefs lead to is rules. Now, that is not always a bad thing. Rules and laws help society function and keeps things in some sense of order. However some of these rules lead to infringement of one’s personal space. It goes back to trying to legislate morality. What one does in their home, should not be determined by someone else’s beliefs. I guess you could say I have stated one of my beliefs. The law of the land is basically made my the government and, is made by a body of people to help regulate society. Laws can change. Beliefs can change, but this is less likely. We are always talking and discussing how a person seems to grow and evolve. If fact, it seems to be one of the big problems of most relationships. One person seems to grow and evolve and the other person does not. How much do beliefs have to do with this? When do beliefs form? Certainly your parents will have some influence on your beliefs. That influence could cause you to have the same or different beliefs as them. One of my beliefs is that meditation is the key to life. My parents never even thought of meditation in their entire lives. How should we live with our beliefs? I think we should examine them on a regular basis, at least once a month. Check to see if your beliefs are working for you. Are you having any doubts? They could be holding you back in certain situations. It doesn’t hurt to take that inward look when it comes to what you believe in and how you respond to the world around you. It won’t hurt to become a Nihilist for about 30 minutes, and work back from there to reevaluate. Beliefs can be very helpful in making your life whole and rewarding but only if you can look at them with an open mind.

Meditation: All or Nothing

There seems to be a lot of all or nothing thinking out there now a days. In fact this kind of thinking seems to be related to anxiety and depression. It’s also given the name of negative thinking pattern. It is also termed splitting which is defined as the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defense mechanism.[1] The individual tends to think in extremes (i.e., an individual’s actions and motivations are all good or all bad with no middle ground). On the internet there are lots of websites, ready to help with the problem. This type of thinking is associated with the use of the words never, always, no one, every one, ruined and anymore. Most of the examples given are for the big things in life, relationships, the workplace and self-worth. This thinking can lead to certain types of behavior or emotions. When things do not go our way we have a tendency to use extreme wording as a way to react to the situation. Relationships going bad, missed opportunities on the job, and just a feeling that everything is going wrong. This is when the word never and always come to the forefront. I will never be able to have a good relationship, or I will always be passed over for a promotion. This kind of thinking can lead to some severe mental problems. I want to discuss this type of thinking in the more mundane things in life and see if this can help the problem on the bigger scale.

I knew a women who had 5 aquariums in her house plus she had what she called a hospital tank for when any of the fish became ill. She had the tanks for 4 or 5 years. She was really into her fish and really seemed to enjoy the whole process. Then one day I came to her place for a visit and the tanks were gone. I thought maybe she had had some kind of accident with the tanks and a lot of fish had died. She said that she just got tired of all the work. This made me think, but not say, why don’t you just have one tank, instead of not doing it at all. I can understand her reasoning, but cutting down to one tank would cut the work load by 80%. She opted to quit altogether. Another all or nothing decision. I have seen other people quit other endeavors, that at one time they seem to enjoy. I quit playing golf back in the mid 90’s, but I knew I was coming back to it some day. Does this all or nothing mentality about activities, carry over into the more important decisions and happenings in life. Do we quit these activities because of depression and/or anxiety? Why do we not see the option of moderation or the middle ground? Could the I want it all syndrome, be at the heart of the problem. Is it the people that seem to achieve, the I want it all goals, be part of the issue. There are many stories out there of people that have achieved fulfillment it seems at every level. When these stories are told, they seemingly, are meant to inspire people, to try and achieve the same success on all levels. However, these stories may wind up making people even more depressed and anxious, because they do not have the capabilities of achieving success on all levels. Let’s face it, we all can’t be Tiger Woods in golf. So what is a person to do.

The solution is in moderation and acceptance. Moderation to me, is one of the keys to living life to the best of your abilities. You can apply moderation to every aspect of your life. Even things that may be good for you, such as exercise, rest, and time for yourself, should be done in a moderate way. Trying to keep yourself in balance can be challenging but it is well worth it, as you move through this crazy thing called life. Acceptance is just as important. Accepting the fact that you are doing the best that you can, under your circumstances. This does not mean that you can not try and do better. Between moderation and acceptance you will realize that things are changing all the time, some for the good, and others for the bad. There are many options out in the world not just leave or stay, do or don’t do, and can or can’t. Many small steps can be made to make one’s life better. There are enough hours in the day. There is always the next day. Try and apply moderation and acceptance on the smaller things in life, like your everyday activities and hobbies. Then, if you are successful in achieving this balance in the routine things, then you may be able to apply the principles to the big things in life. Be thankful for what you have and where you have a chance to go. If you can’t have it all, half of it is better than nothing. Twenty five per cent of it is better than nothing. In fact anything is better than nothing. The grays in life is where it’s at. Stay close to the middle and you will always feel better about what is coming next.

Meditation: Fear

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. A phobia is defined as an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. There is no doubt that fear is the most powerful emotion that exists. In my last blog I wrote about how the news media uses fear to control the masses. Fear is a very valuable emotion. It is fear that keeps us safe and from making very risky decisions in our every day life. When fear develops into a phobia, then it can become a real problem in our life. It can make a person helpless and unable to move. The most common phobias include, heights, flying, death, darkness, public speaking, spiders and confined spaces. There are other ones, but you get the idea. This is the best example that I have seen, that shows how powerful fear can be. I knew someone who was a smoker, who had smoked for over fifty years. I can’t say this person was a heavy smoker, but at least a pack a day. When the person developed chest congestion, an x ray showed a spot on the lung. Immediately the person quit smoking for the next 6 months. The 6 month x ray showed that the spot had disappeared. The next day, the individual starting smoking again and continued for the next 10 years, until cancer developed someplace else in the body. It is amazing what fear can make a person do, and what fear can keep you from doing.

Fear can lead to the emotions of worry and anxiety. How are we going to handle this powerful emotion? There are various strategies and plans that can be helpful. Some are more practical than others. You can always avoid fears. The best way to deal with the media. This is looked upon sometimes, as the cowards way of handling fears. Like most labels this is not really true. Sometimes avoiding a fear for a finite period time, gives you time to realized that you may be able to overcome it. Looking at something from afar, so to speak, can give a different perspective on the problem. Getting away from something for awhile, and then going back to it, works as a very good problem solving method. It is used for many problems, why can’t it work for a paralyzing fear. Another way of handling fear is imagining you are doing what you are fearful of, and seeing this in your mind. That is where the fear is originating, and if you can see overcoming the fear in your mind, then you may be able to overcome the fear in the real world. There are other psychological methods to overcome fear. They range from experiencing the fear in a safe environment, cognitive-behavior therapy, virtual reality, and good old medication. I am not going into detail of the various methods, but there are many methods to handle the problem of fear.

How did fear get so powerful? As discussed earlier fear is the one thing that can keep us alive. That’s why we don’t jump off building, walk leisurely across interstate highways, and think we can out wrestle a bear. There is true power in saving one’s existence. Fear is a necessity, where other emotions are not. However this emotion then seeps down into the very fiber of our being, and keeps us from performing the simplest of task, or really enjoying life. As powerful as fear is there are other emotions, anger, lust, sadness happiness, and dismay that may get out of control or become irrational. However, when these emotions get out of control, there is some kind of action or movement. It may not always be the most appropriate movement or action, but none the less something does happen. It is only fear that seems to be so paralyzing. There is no question that meditation can help this. However, the biggest factor on why people do not meditate, is fear. Fear of what they are going to find inside. Fear keeps people from even doing nothing. Does Nike give us the answer when they say “Just do it”. Oh, if it could only be that easy. I do know that a bad plan is better than no plan, which is what fear will cause. Roosevelt said it best when he said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I do not think there is a solution to fear if you are not meditating, but I do not believe that meditating is a guarantee to overcoming fear. This powerful emotion at least for now is the ruler of the world. The solution has not been found, but when it is found, the world will be a better place.

Meditation: News

The definition of news is, newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events. I first started meditating in 1993, and at the same time, I stopped reading newspapers, and watching newscasts. It was one of the best things I ever did. Any big events, I heard about from friends and neighbors, but not listening to newscasts, made my life much less stressful, and more relaxing. Then came the pandemic of 2020, and to keep up with something so historic, I started watching some news shows, the Today Show and Sunday Morning on CBS. I also started reading more news stories on Apple News. Thirty years later, when it comes to news reporting, I see nothing has changed. It is a sad commentary, that the sole purpose of the news media, whether it be print or broadcast, is to create fear in the minds of their readers and listeners. They equate this with keeping people well informed. Do we really need to know ,that killer bees are invading the country, that social security benefits could be gone by the mid 2030’s, and more bad weather is on the way? The pandemic has fueled this type of reporting even more. They continue to report on ways that the environment can kill you, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. They report on stories that have very little affect on our daily lives, but show the worst sides of people. They very seldom follow the rule of reporting noteworthy information about important events.

Can there be any purpose in trying to keep a population frozen in fear? Is it to keep people distracted by this constant barrage of fear inducing stories, so they will be incapable of moving on with their lives, and improving their respective position in life. I think the stories speak for themselves. We had to shelter in place because of the Covid 19 outbreak, but the media have been trying to keep people indoors for 75 years. Just today on my default browser there were stories of all the celebrities that died of Covid, China responding to a U.S. move restricting their diplomats, and how opening colleges is not working. Almost everyday there is a story about nuclear weapons. There is nothing an individual can do to stop a foreign power from making nuclear weapons, so why tell us about it. The 1950’s is a perfect example. The media frenzy over nuclear weapons had people building bomb shelters. Things have not changed over the last 60 years. Threatening weather makes the headlines all the time, like the entire country is under some kind of environmental attack. Obviously, this type of news reporting sells, or it would not be happening. Unfortunately, there are many people who like to see and hear about suffering, and tragedy, and the news media has no problem, in showing all the death and destruction. It is time for me to go back to not watching the news. Maybe, occasionally, getting a Covid update, to see if this thing is ever going to end anytime soon. Meditating is a way to relieve this stress of the news reporting, but the best way to avoid all the bad effects of watching the news, is to stop watching. It is never going to make your life better. It is time to forget about the big world, because the big world will take care of itself, it always has. It is time to take care of your world. Meditate, breath, relax, and ignore the news. While the pandemic continues, check some stats, about once a week. Be aware of what the disease is doing in your area, and any area, that you may be visiting. But forget about killer bees, and unknown forces, that are going to destroy your food supply, and render yourself helpless. Relax, and enjoy your little microscopic space in the world, because everything can be just fine there, if you follow your inward self.

Meditation: Monotony

I returned from San Diego on  March 16th after visiting with my daughter’s family. Of course, I have not seen my grandkids since that time. We Facetime, which is great, but certainly, it is not the same thing, as seeing them in person.  The definition of monotony is, lack of variety and interest; tedious repetition and routine. The sentence they used as an example was, “you can become resigned to the monotony of captivity”.  I am sure many people are feeling like captives, during this current pandemic.  We are heading into the sixth month of the Covid 19 crisis.  What is worse, is there seems to be no end in sight.  For whatever reason, people just do not seem to see the seriousness of the situation.  You can blame the President on all his misinformation that has come out of his press conferences, but don’t people have some sort of basic intelligence to see the gravity of situation, apparently not.  Let’s break down the bare facts of our captivity and see if there is anything we can do about it, but I would not be optimistic.

First, we are being held captive by a corona virus, plain and simple.  This is not the flu. The corona virus has been around for a long time, in different forms and is found in almost any animal. There is a corona virus unique to cats, that causes a disease, Feline Infectious Peritonitis.  Many characteristics of this disease are similar to Covid 19.  When cats acquire this virus, most cats have fairly mild symptoms of diarrhea, or no symptoms at all.  However,  5 to 10% of cats infected will  develop a disease, that attacks multiple  organ systems, and results in the cats dying.   They die, because their immune system over reacts to the virus, which causes an extreme inflammatory reaction, that destroys the organs. Does that sound a little familiar of what’s going on when people die of Covid 19?  Corona viruses have this ability to mutate into something much more serious, in any species. Google Feline Infectious Peritonitis if you want to learn more.   The whole point of this, is to emphasize the importance of trying to stop the current virus, not matter what the cost, so it does not have a chance to mutate into something even more serious. If  we are going to escape from this prison, we are going to need to step back and relock up, until the cases start to significantly drop.  Unfortunately we are not going to do that, at this point.  We are going to have to learn how to cope with monotony, because for now there does not seem to an end in sight.

How do we do this?  There is no secret here.  You will  have to emphasize all the things that make life work, except more so. Count your blessing, and appreciate every good thing in your life.  Especially appreciate your good health.   If health is an issue in your life, at this moment, then now is the time to start getting better.  Find joy in the little things in life.  Enjoying another persons companionship, good food, a nice walk, and a warm and sunny day are ways to make monotony tolerable.  Continue to look inside and dig deeper during meditation and times of quiet.  Realized that some day this will all come to an end.  It may not come as quickly as it should,  but it will end. Meanwhile continue to hunker down, pray that all your loved ones, and everybody can stay safe, until common sense prevails. Then, we will start to do the things that will free us from the confinements of the corona virus.