Ideas on How to Get Out of a Funky Mood

Dear Subscriber,

Trying to get my bipolar friend out of a funk that’s plaguing the brain. Thought I’d share how my mind works on these matters (brain matter, get it?). Oh well. Here’s what I told this person based on my experience at Caltech, teaching for 25 years, grandfather of sixteen, and great-grandfather of three, and just plain recovering from all kinds of addictions that the world sets out there for us to “enjoy.” As I always told my students, “Use what you can and leave the rest.”

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Comedians are today making “fun” of all the reasons to be constantly anxious for so-called “normal people.” I can imagine what your anxiety must feel like! If you can plunge into the now enough to see the humor, it’s a way I try to cope. I took a college course on comedy, and the basic forms are “exaggeration, satire, word play (puns), and understatement.”
The philosophical reality is that the powerful leaders use the constant fear of “death” as the main way to control us and our behavior, and all the associated ingredients: job, money, friends, etc. Or what they call in Buddhism “clinging” and not being able to let go. I know you understand Buddhist thought, so maybe you can meditate also to see through the false view of illusion into the infinite present.
The body is just the shell. It’s the mind one must truly conquer to be free forever. But you know this. You’re having brain chemical imbalances that are also, in a way, a false perception just like Maya. Maybe you can see it that way?
I watched a biography of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and he constantly meditated on the fact that everything is “equal” in value because the mind is what controls “value,” and it’s the most pleasant when there’s no fighting about “who is better,” which is another mainstay of our civilizations.
In this go-around of this universe, or kalpa, things appear worse as the eternal phases of life must take place just as the body must decay and die off. But then new life is always born forever, so it never ends. The ones who pass on into Samādhi, however, flow into the One and never have to fight against “Maya” or changes again because they’re part of the infinite wholeness.
The reality is One. The illusion is many separated beings and things.
In fact, all religions explain this in scripture, but the text is also filled with other parables and lessons that have nothing to do with the main premise of God being One. Folks who are less enlightened need simpler teachings than the “direct path to sudden illumination” because they can’t go that deep into the soul to understand such concepts. Some don’t believe in a “spirit world” or “soul,” so that’s another conundrum to face.
I’m glad you’re getting more into your diet. You must keep your body strong, as you have other physical problems as well.
Here’s a joke I heard recently about today’s “doomsday” realities: My kids know how to use everything as an excuse. I know, I tell them, we have floods, forest fires, shootings, new viral infections, and the constant threat of nuclear war. But you still have to do your homework.
Alan Watts would joke about how if there weren’t both poor and rich then each group wouldn’t have a way to feel superior to the other. How can the rich feel superior if there aren’t poor people to make fun of, and vice-versa? When I first got sober, my sponsor told me that a drunk is the only person who is lying in the gutter, but when somebody comes to help him up, he feels superior to the person trying to help. That’s extreme “ego” at work. Not knowing how bad off you really are. No perspective about the zen reality of life versus the inner delusions.
Sorry to talk so much. It helps me also!
I’m having my coffee, so I have new brain cells working that usually don’t work for me without caffeine.
Have a great Tuesday!


Heart Mandala

Right there! See it?
The invisible infinite.
Inside you. Aware. Forever.

Go ahead, kill, war, steal, rape and plunder.
No matter. The mandala is still there.
Beneath all skin, bones, and mind.

The monks know. They paint you each time.
Small pens of colored sand. Isn’t it grand?
Perfect form, perfect love, perfect forever.

That’s what Truth is. Alone and inside you.
At your beck and call at any second.
Open your heart, release your mind!

Fear is always conquered by eternity.
Mandalas come and go, sadly forever.
Blow away the pain of this life, for the new!

Start again, a new painting, a new chance.
The wind of fate blows true. The heart chakra.
Within you!

J. Musgrave, 2023

All truly wise thoughts have been thought already
thousands of times; but to make them truly ours,
we must think them over again honestly,
till they take root in our personal experience.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (author of “Faust”)
James Musgrave
San Diego, CA
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