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January/February, 2000

He who is estranged seeks pretexts to break out against all sound judgment.
--Proverbs 18:1

The High Cost of Being Down

There is a scene at the end of the movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" which outlines the devastating effect of depression more chillingly than anything else I can imagine. It depicts the wasted inmates of the asylum collapsed at the very portal of escape that they have supposedly longed for, asleep at the doorway to freedom that had been created by the giant Indian when he burst through the wall, the only one who had the will to follow through on the aspirations shared by all who inhabited this insane institution. Everyone else was so addicted to the safe parameters of their captivity that they could not summon the courage to move beyond the walls of their own self-imposed imprisonment.

Depression is a self-crippling disease, inhibiting progress at all levels, but particularly at the point of closure that is so crucial to success in any endeavor. "The nearer your destination, the more you're slip-sliding away," as Paul Simon said in one of his songs. This disease of self-doubt, hesitation and indecision may well, then, in the end, cost us everything, the whole shebang, the victory of one clear moment of accomplishment, however short-lived, that is the key to continuing courageously onward to further achievements.


What can possibly help, besides -- obviously -- medication? A friend who can be nearby and listen, yet not too much in the way, can be invaluable. Even so, we must each "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." Reaching out to others, staying in contact, is vital, as is the immediate abandonment of all negative self-assessments, utilizing every opportunity for joyful exuberance, attending to matters of health and hygiene, exercise, etc. Gaining a fresh perspective also helps, perhaps in the form of a book, a play, a film, or through travel or a simple change of locations. The technique of recovery is outlined in an excellent book by Dr. Weinberg called "Self Creation" in which he stresses what my friend Russ Guest used to speak of as "the Zen of doing."

--Bill Joyner

The way of the Buddha is to know yourself; 
to know yourself is to forget yourself; 
to forget yourself is to be awakened by all things.

--Dogen


American Buddhist Center - Unity Temple on the Plaza - 707 W. 47th Street - Kansas City, Mo. 64112
 


This breath I take contains fire from the beginning of the Universe and is filled with dust from a million million stars.
This breath I take contains water flowing from primitive seas and is the home of schools of silver fishes.
This breath I take contains the Earth full of green tree and is filled with the aroma of ten thousand roses.

--V. Ellison, October, 1999
 


 

The Heart of Mr. Ripley

Hollywood, Dec. 30 - Anthony Minghella has been consumed with The Talented Mr. Ripley for years. Even before he won an Academy Award for directing "The English Patient", "The way that Ripley looks at the world speaks for what's inside every human heart," Mr. Minghella said. "One often has a sense of dislocation and alienation and unease with oneself. There's often a sense that the secret to each person, if made public, would be rejected. We cover up who we really are to be acceptable."

* Time Capsule *

David Chase "The song 'Over the Rainbow' is the superior work of modern times. You know there's something better somewhere, somewhere great, but you just can't get there, both on a spiritual and psychological level. It should be the theme song for human beings - you get everything that every philosopher tried to say."

 

"I said only one word, brought only one message: Love -- nothing else. 'Love' you let loose all the angels and demons that were asleep within the bowels of mankind. 'Love' is not, as you think, a simple tranquil word. Within it lie armies being massacred, burning cities, and much blood..."
 

--p. 470
Nikos Kanzantzakis
The Last Temptation Of Christ


 

In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself in a dark wood where the straight way was lost.


--Dante


 

Kamikaze Valentine
Swept away by the "divine wind" of holy love, I was a kamikaze valentine in the morning of my days. Be decked with garlands of exquisite blossoms, I fell before the emperor of heaven in singular devotion, ready for the grand sacrifice and the brave ascent. On wings affixed with nothing more secure than melting was, I soared, like Icarus, toward the blazing sun, only to plunge with full dementia into the fiery sea of all-consuming desire.

Kamikaze in Retirement
These are the ones who did not go down in a final blaze of glory. These are the ones who pulled out of the dive just in time, or who never made it into the air, or who just survived by accident or happenstance.

These are the ones, like me, who somehow avoided the holocaust of self-immolation. And now we are such a ludicrous, unlikely lot -- kamikazes in retirement. The great conflagrations seem well behind us and all-but-lost from recollection.

an yet, I swear it's true, the sweet winds of heaven yet sweep down upon us and call our hearts again to the great war-swept sea of love, over which we pause in rapt fascination, all too ready to swoop toward our own annihilation in response to the slightest glance or the faintest smile. Because we essentially are and always will be only kamikaze valentines.

--Bill Joyner

 

The Seed Catalog
William T. Joyner, Editor
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