No thinking is the best thinking

meditation

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ― Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation

 

I love the feeling of hot coffee going down my throat, it wakes me up instantly, like an old trustful friend.  The booth I am sitting in feels cool, and soft, and I am looking at my friend sitting across from me, and he says,

“Sometimes it does not matter how tough I am, how many coping mechanisms I have, how well I feel I make decisions, life will still find a way to hurt me.”

I look at him quizzically, thinking how it is a little early in the morning to be pondering such notions about life.  Tom has always been a little too smart for his own good. His intelligence has always gone hand and hand with depression.  There has always been a lot of truth in the saying, “ignorance is bliss.”  Tom, like myself, just knows too much about things, about how life works, about how nature itself works.  He then says,

“How do you do your job?  Being a life coach and counselor and all that crap?  I mean, I feel you are going against the nature of nature.  It does not matter how well you teach someone to handle life, eventually people get old, get diseases, and they are going to die.  Most of us are not going to go without pain.  If I was doing your job, I would just tell people to stop fighting, and just accept the inevitable.”

I took another sip of my hot brew, and then said,

“You know Tom, you just hit the nail on the head about what counseling and life coaching is all about.  People do need to stop fighting so much, and just let go, so they can enjoy the moment without so much thought.  Because it is thought that drives your depression.  You do not know that life is about inevitable annihilation, because it is only your belief.”

Tom chuckled a little bit, then retorted,

“Yeah dude, it’s only my belief that people grow old and die?  It’s only my belief that there is poverty, war and greed?”

After he said his little comment, I just stared inside my coffee cup, watching the light reflect off its smooth surface, it tranced me a little.  This wasn’t the first time I have heard such negativity, I myself suffered and still suffer such thoughts.  But when I hear it from someone else, lord, it made my bones chill.

“Tom, you are right, you are right because they are your beliefs.  And your thoughts create your reality, your universe.  I used to think that thoughts were not that powerful, but I am starting to understand they are everything.  When I realized the power of my negative thoughts, and the crippling effects they had on my life, I knew I needed a change.”

“Crippling effects?” Tom said, seemingly skeptical.

“Yes, thoughts, especially negative thoughts will stop the flow of energy.  And it is not just the hippy spiritual side of me speaking.  Tom, I used to feel that I could outthink my depression, used to feel that if my mind brought me here, then it could get me out of it.  And I am not going to say that isn’t true, but you have to understand, the real solution to opening the flow of energy through my body, was simple, I needed to stop thinking.”

Tom had a very serious look on his face, he had half a pancake on his fork, and it looked like it was drenched in syrup, just dangling.  I found the image a bit disturbing, wondering if he was going to shove all that in his mouth.  I then continued,

“Tom, it is no mystery that my best ideas, came from something outside of me.  They came when my mind was silent.  I was thinking about regrets of the past, or fears of the future, it was just silent, in the moment.  Those kind of times for me, happened rarely, my mind was in constant chatter.  Believe it or not though, the mind does have an off switch.  If you can find that switch, and stop thinking, you will feel the flow of energy, which connects us all.”

Tom put down his pancakes, and said,

“You talking about meditation?”

“I am talking about meditation, but not just meditation.  I am talking about any way you can turn your mind off.  It is the easiest thing in the world to start doing, but probably one of the hardest things to master.  To turn off your mind, just focus on your breathing.  Feel the air go in, and out, that’s all.  Hell man, it doesn’t even have to be on your breathing, you can focus on that pan fried batter you have oozing off your fork.  Just stare at it, without thought, without judgement, just accept what it is.  Focus on turning off your mind for only five seconds at a time, then build to ten, then to a minute, and just like anything, over time it will become easier.”

“What about thinking good thoughts?”

“Good thoughts are wonderful, especially visualization of success.  But that’s not what I am talking about, it is important to learn how to stop thoughts, or better yet, not to let thoughts have a grip on you.  Because we both know, stopping all thought is impossible, but when they do arise, through this practice, they will flow in, and then flow out, instead of sticking around like an unwanted in-law.”

Tom was a little lost for words, he looked interested, and a little annoyed at the same time.  I took another sip of my coffee and just said,

“Tom, the best kind of thought, is no thought.”

His pancake then fell off his fork.

Please respond back to the post! I want to learn from you, or join me on Twitter

 

 

Buddha quote

Buddha

 

“Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.” – Buddha

 

For instant happiness,  think about what you do have in your life, instead of what you don’t.  Society thrives on selling you things, so it is constantly putting you in a state of want.  Let’s shift that mind frame, and know that you already have everything you need.

I want to learn from you, please post me your thoughts and come join me on Twitter

 

 

Laugh at life’s realities

suess

 

 

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.
Dr. Seuss

 

The good news about reality, is that there really is no reality. We have running programs in our mind that help us survive, most of which get us through the day and we don’t have to think about. We have ways of simplifying thought, and we all have our own paradigm to help us explain the world.

The good news about reality though, is that, if one way of looking at things is not making us happy, we can look at it another way. We can be creative, and nobody can tell you your reality is not true, because there is no way of proving if it is or is not.

Your mind will follow your lead, if you learn how to do that. It is possible to live a life without psychological pain, it can happen. We just never been taught how to think that far outside the box, but that is the beautiful thing about the brain, it wants to change. Changing makes it healthy, and strong.

For example, if today you decided to learn the Japanese language, just learning the language would create new neural pathways and start changing the way you think. If you took a walk in a place you never took a walk before, or listened to songs that you never heard before, it would soften your mind up for taking a long journey outside it’s cozy little box.

My friend Tom the other day had a frown on his face when he was reading the Sunday paper. I put down my coffee, and asked him what was wrong, he told me that he was tired of seeing negative things in the paper. It seemed that the world was hell bent on finding blame and dishing out punishment. I nodded my head, and started to think about how dangerous the media was in shaping the box in our minds. I asked him if there was any good news in that thing. He kinda gave me a smirk, and said, well the comics can be funny. I told him to start reading the comics, because I was tired of seeing his frown. I enjoyed seeing his expression change when he did start perusing the funnies.

It is a little scary how easily things can trigger us, in good or bad ways, and how powerful the box in our minds are. So powerful, that most of us feel we don’t even have knowledge of exactly what the box is.

I want to learn from you! Please write back and tell me your thoughts

You can also join me on Twitter

How depression destroyed my life

plath

“I am terrified by this dark thing

That sleeps in me;

All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.”
― Sylvia Plath, Ariel

It was through many years of frustration, of not being able to get the help that I needed, that I decided to do something about the broken mental health system we have in this country.

Of course, to even get to the point of being able to think rationally enough to start on such a quest, you have to have a certain amount organization, motivation, and endurance. For me, the most frustrating thing about my certain type of depression, was not the that it made me feel helpless, it was that it damaged my organization and drive to the point that I couldn’t think straight, and complete complex projects, like the website I am designing now.

It took years, of crawling through my own personal void of confusion and anger, to start seeing anything that resembled true progress. Of course, I believe anyone can get better, but it takes more then action, it takes the right action. But when someone is in a terrible state of mind, and they don’t have the right kind of help, it is a slim probability that the person is going to be able to cure themselves of the affliction that haunts them.

Since I have been able to think more clearly, I think to myself, with all the tons of knowledge we have on mental health, therapy, psychology, sociology and a slew of other things, why then, is it still so hard for people to get help? I have debated people who tell me help is actually very easy to get, and I understand what they are saying. But until they walk the walk of someone who is truly depressed, they will never know that the help they need is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Trust me, I have been denied help numerous times, and I just don’t get how society can deny someone anything in their darkest moments. Insurance, money, where you work, are you single, all these thousands of questions you have to answer a thousand times should be irrelevant to someone who just needs someone qualified to talk to.

Don’t get me wrong, things have improved a smidgen, there are hotlines that I can call if I am in peril. And they do help, a little. But more, much, much, much more needs to be done. The process of help needs to be simplified to the point where if someone is in the darkness, finding the light switch is going to be very easy.

So my solution is simple, to create a website where people get the help they need on the spot, no matter what it is. Where they can talk to other people who are going through what they are, or they can talk to qualified counselors and therapist who have the knowledge, and resources to give that person what they need. There will be no red tape, no talk of money or insurance, it is on the spot help. People cannot choose when depression, or anxiety or madness decides to strike. It is not just helping those who are suffering, but it is helping the people who love them as well.

 

Please write back, I want to hear about your experiences, and what you have gone through.

How depression destroyed my life

“I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.”
Sylvia Plath, Ariel    

It was through many years of frustration, of not being able to get the help that I needed, that I decided to do something about the broken mental health system we have in this country.

Of course, to even get to the point of being able to think rationally enough to start on such a quest, you have to have a certain amount organization, motivation, and endurance. For me, the most frustrating thing about my certain type of depression, was not the that it made me feel helpless, it was that it damaged my organization and drive to the point that I couldn’t think straight, and complete complex projects, like the website I am designing now.

It took years, of crawling through my own personal void of confusion and anger, to start seeing anything that resembled true progress. Of course, I believe anyone can get better, but it takes more then action, it takes the right action. But when someone is in a terrible state of mind, and they don’t have the right kind of help, it is a slim probability that the person is going to be able to cure themselves of the affliction that haunts them.

Since I have been able to think more clearly, I think to myself, with all the tons of knowledge we have on mental health, therapy, psychology, sociology and a slew of other things, why then, is it still so hard for people to get help? I have debated people who tell me help is actually very easy to get, and I understand what they are saying. But until they walk the walk of someone who is truly depressed, they will never know that the help they need is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Trust me, I have been denied help numerous times, and I just don’t get how society can deny someone anything in their darkest moments. Insurance, money, where you work, are you single, all these thousands of questions you have to answer a thousand times should be irrelevant to someone who just needs someone qualified to talk to.

Don’t get me wrong, things have improved a smidgen, there are hotlines that I can call if I am in peril. And they do help, a little. But more, much, much, much more needs to be done. The process of help needs to be simplified to the point where if someone is in the darkness, finding the light switch is going to be very easy.

So my solution is simple, to create a website where people get the help they need on the spot, no matter what it is. Where they can talk to other people who are going through what they are, or they can talk to qualified counselors and therapist who have the knowledge, and resources to give that person what they need. There will be no red tape, no talk of money or insurance, it is on the spot help. People cannot choose when depression, or anxiety or madness decides to strike. It is not just helping those who are suffering, but it is helping the people who love them as well.

This is a video of me a couple years ago, about how depression destroyed my life. Please bear with me, the video is a little rough around the edges, I was just learning the technology.

The title is dramatic, but it is how I felt at the time, and I wanted to leave an impression. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Please write back, I want to hear about your experiences, and what you have gone through.

Empathy and technology

tech

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” ~ Isaac Asimov

We live in such weird times, never have we lived in such time where technology has grown so fast, I cannot keep straight everything that is being created, and better yet, why it is being created.

Our body was designed to hunt and gather, to do lot’s of walking and eat natural foods. That life has turned obsolete. We were designed to live together, not in individual units, not knowing who our neighbors are. Everything we used to do, is almost gone. I feel like a creature who was transported to an alien world.

When I sit back, and take an extremely large objective view of everything, it is mind blowing, and sad, the things we have developed. I don’t like knowing I can be seen from outer space with satellite technology, or that we developed weapons that can wipe out the planet 12 times over. Our species definitely does not have the wisdom for such destructive devices. The automobile, even though has revolutionized transportation, it is such a strange object. It is made from over a hundred elements melted together from substances underground, that runs on refined oil which is the liquified bones of old dinosaurs. So weird, and it’s one of the reasons why our planet is heating.

I will admit, I do not know how most of these machines work, I don’t know why they are being developed at lightning speed. I do know, since the rise of cell phones and texting, children’s brains have become less empathetic, and more calculating, so in other words empathy is being reduced because they have less genuine face to face communication.

Another weird thing is that we have more people on this planet then ever before, but loneliness and isolation is a reported epidemic amongst people living in cities.

I also know, in light of the post-revolution days, depression, anxiety, and obesity have skyrocketed.

Not all technology is bad of course, it has made life wonderful in many ways, everything from clean water to advanced treatments in healthcare. I just wish we could slow down a little, go back to the basics of who we are. Technology has made us all feel rushed. People have unplugged from the real world, I see it everywhere I go, eyes on their little phone screens, earbuds pumping, zoned out from the present moment around them.

I feel I have no control though, that somehow the rise of technology has taken on it’s own consciousness. And that it is not going to stop, probably ever. It just feels weird to me, so alien, like an addiction that can never be satisfied. We keep on creating things that change the way we live.

Of course, no one at anytime, ever really had control.

Please tell me what you think, I want to hear your perspective!

Depend on me? Depend on yourself…

Sad mommy

One of the frustrating things about life, is how much energy everything takes. And once you do get some momentum going, how quickly that momentum can stop.

I have a friend who has children, and she tells me that if it wasn’t for her kids, she probably wouldn’t even get out of bed. She tells me the love she has for them, makes her be a better person, because she has more than just her life to look out for. She has people who are dependent on her, for food, for love, for shelter and everything else. I am not sure what to think about that, I surely don’t. On one hand, I can understand that because your children must be taken care of, on the other hand, why isn’t loving yourself enough of a reason?

This woman also struggles with terrible depression, and so I was naturally curious about how her children effected that aspect. She said at times, the love for her children completely took her away from the sadness, just the small things, like seeing her child smile or taking them to the park. Other times though, it made things worse because she had to take care of them during a depression spell when all she wanted to do was be alone.

It made me wonder about other people. I know I give too much power to other people, giving them too much credit for my happiness or sadness. The fact is, I am responsible for my own happiness, can other people make me happy, of course, can they cause great harm, you betcha. But I should not depend on people saving me from depression. Saying a marriage or children is going to take me out of my depression cycle, is a dangerous thing. It is a seductive thought, but slightly delusional. That is giving other people way too much say in your life. Other people (and situations) will inevitably fall short of your expectations, and will cause hurt.

The solution is to depend on the one person who matters most, you. And when other people make you happy, well, that’s a bonus!

Tell me what you think, I want to hear back! Have a great day…..

Why doesn’t the school teach common sense?

desks

“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”

― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

I try to remember what I have learned in school.  It’s a funny thing, because I have a hard time remembering anything that serves me. I took a lot of math, don’t ever use it, took a lot of social studies, kinda interesting. I took chemistry, it was boring, biology, good stuff I guess. I am not trying to downplay those things, but come on, where are the classes that truly help, like how to cope with life. For example how about a class on how to deal with people who are going through sadness, or deal with your own sadness and death. Where are the classes that teach you common sense, or courtesy, or how to deal with anger, or betrayal, or substances. Where are the classes that teach you how to deal with a fatherless or motherless family, on how to build self-esteem, or how to make friends and keep them. What about how to deal with death and dying, that topic is so ignored, if anyone dies, nobody knows what to say, think or do. How about a class on coping mechanisms? A class on how to deal with intense emotions, and how to harvest good energy. We have so much information on how to do this, but instead we have them taking classes that really don’t serve them in the long run. We have people graduating, with a head full of math, and a heart yearning for love and feeling lost. At least, that is how I felt. I feel the schools turn a blind eye to our soul, our emotions, they are ignoring the most powerful time in someones life to build those skills.

Tell me what you think, I am curious, am I being to harsh on the school system? Do you agree with me? What can we do to start implementing change?

Love, perspective and going insane

 

divorce

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

― Abraham Lincoln

Perspective, it is everything. The truth is, there really is no truth, it is all interpretation. So, is your life awesome? Yes! Does your life suck? Yes! Both are right, but you get to choose which one it is. Our minds are so powerful, it is said that it can actually create reality into the universe itself, hence, your belief creates your reality.

Another interesting piece of reality, is that good thoughts begets good thoughts, and bad thoughts create bad thoughts. Neurons in our mind form tracks and clump together, so if you think funny things, more funny things will come to you. The problem is, the opposite is true as well. That is why it is so important to think good things, and surround yourself with good people. To be in a relationships with people who make you feel good, not on edge. Being around a negative person, especially a partner, will make you go insane after awhile, because your body is going to go into panic mode and try to rid itself of this overflowing negativity.

That is why if you are with someone who is not communicating with you and is radiating negativity, without trying to help themselves out, you just gotta drop them like they’re hot. (I do not mean to be insensitive, I know the complications of relationships, especially if you are married to that individual or have children.) But something needs to be done, you have to save yourself if you want to help others, especially your children. People can be noble, you probably believe that you must sacrifice yourself to save others, like stay with someone who doesn’t make you happy. Trust me, that is a recipe for disaster. We are not superhuman, negativity collects in us, just like cholesterol, got to get away from it or your body and mind will start lashing out.

So, what am I trying to say? Be careful in what you believe, and what you think, because our minds and souls are like giant magnets, it will attract your greatest love, or greatest regrets.

I want to hear what you have to say! Please respond = )

My Mission, Our Mission

hello

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”

― Seneca

 

We all know life can suck at times, and we need someone. We may not need advice, we may just need a listening ear, the presence of someone who cares. Or maybe we just need to sit in with a group, anonymously, listening to how other people have gotten through pain, through tragedy. If I know others have gone through what I am going through, it gives me strength. We are social creatures, yet, we make getting help difficult.

This is what I want, a website that gives people help, instantly, with no red tape. Where you can get on, and message, or talk, or if you wish to Skype you can with qualified people instantly. To join a support group with just a click of your mouse, so you can be seen, and heard, and loved. There is no discrimination, doesn’t matter if you are 1 or 120 years old, because we all feel pain, we are all human.

Doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, doesn’t matter if you are contemplating suicide, or if you just are in a funk about your job, I want you to speak out.

There will never be talk about what insurance you have, or available times to speak to someone, this is going to be instantaneous, 24/7, it is going to be what help should be. No more will people be falling through the cracks of society, hurting themselves and others, or disappearing. There is an old saying, that when someone is extremely depressed, or mentally ill, they have three options, jail, homelessness or death. I am here to say no more, those are no longer options, the new saying is going to be “I’m going to get the help I need, because I now have the resources I need.”

I want us to be what we naturally are, social animals, helping each other. We can all heal from this site, and we can all help each other heal as well.

I am recruiting you, I am recruiting your mind and soul to help me, to help others and to help yourself. I know we can make this work. This is not my website, this is our website, I cannot do this without your help.

Thank you, your eternal friend, Tony Benedict