Buddhism and the Blues—and I might add any trauma or abuse that leads to mental distress

An article on meditation and the healing nature of it today in Psychology Today:

Buddhism uses intelligence to control the emotions. Through meditative practices, awareness can be trained and focused on the contents of the mind to observe ongoing experience. Such techniques are of growing interest to Western psychologists, who increasingly see depression as a disorder of emotional mismanagement. In this view, attention is hijacked by negative events and then sets off a kind of chain reaction of negative feeling, thinking and behavior that has its own rapidity and inevitability.

Techniques of awareness permit the cultivation of self-control. They allow people to break the negative emotional chain reaction and head off the hopelessness and despair it leads to. By focusing attention, it is possible to monitor your environment, recognize a negative stimulus and act on it the instant it registers on awareness. While attention as traditional psychologists know it can be an exhausting mental activity, as Buddhists practice it it actually becomes a relaxing and effortless enterprise.

This once again is an explanation of brain neuroplasticity. We all have the ability to heal our brains.

This is a recovery story of someone whose primary means of complete recovery from serious mental illness was meditaition.

Recovery through mind training —a journey of meditation in Buddhism—By Sally Clay

Yes, child abuse makes us ill, but it does not have to be life-long:

Child Abuse Causes Lifelong Changes To DNA Expression And Brain — From Medical News Today.

This article is terrible because they are finally admitting that trauma and child abuse is what causes mental distress something we all have to get on board with and the psychiatric establishment loves to jump around because no one wants to blame the parents even though it’s just not that simple. Our society is traumatic. Even good people can inadvertently traumatize their children. We need to heal our whole society. And it’s not about blaming anyone per se.

But what is awful about this article, while finally giving credence to trauma theory. It again says it’s permanent and therefore now a disease that needs life-long medical intervention. I KNOW that is not true. And so do so many of us now.

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

5 Responses

  1. Arianna

    You can add me to the list of meditators! Between biofeedback, meditation and hatha yoga, these three things in this order, have helped me far more than any pills ever have.

    Gianna, I read the story about the “child abuse” and specialized methylation. This is what I was talking about when I was talking about the “epigenome” or how the DNA is expressed. As soon as the Human Genome had been sequenced, it immediately became redundant as many genes are expressed or underexpressed or dormant, so then the epigenome becomes more important.

    At the end of the article, they state:

    “but they also found that these epigenetic marks can be changed in *adulthood* [those set in childhood] with treatments that change the DNA coating: the treatment is called DNA methylation and it reverses the change to the stress response. ”

    They are indicating that what is set in childhood, is set in childhood (or mousehood), but that they can be changed in adulthood.

    IMHO, my poor stress responses were set in childhood. However, when I meditate, I am responding in a different way, that causes a change in gene methylation, which causes a change in gene expression, which means the genes have been re-methylated.

    This is not that strange. Perhaps it is easier to think about a muscle instead of a brain. Let’s say someone has been a couch potato since childhood. They would then, most likely have weak muscles. Their epigenetics might be: downregulated muscle gene 1234 and downregulated muscle gene 4567. These genes are downregulated due to methylation and have epigenetic markers.

    Let’s say they joined a boot camp, however, and exercised, and the muscles become large, at age of 45. This means that gene 1234 and gene 4567 are now upregulated. A change has occured in the methylation and the epigenetics have changed.

    That’s kind of what the child abuse article is saying. The article stressed how childhood abuse can cause a gene expression, and to be balanced, should have gone into how that can be reversed, but instead, they only allowed a small paragraph for the latter, but they did mention it.

    Best,
    Ari

    Like

  2. Arianna

    I could be wrong here, about my comments about the Buddhist article in Psychology Today.

    For the Buddhism article, it is listed that: “intelligence, to control the emotions.”

    I believe this is incorrect, but I’m not a Buddhist expert. I know a few, though, if anyone wants to know what a Buddhist master or two think as follow up!

    I’d say instead of “intelligence to control the emotions” that it is more: “mind to observe the emotions”.

    Mind and intellect are not the same.

    Also, Buddhism teaches to let go, not to “control” anything.

    I am in a constant state of trying to “control” my anxiety because I hate it. Over the many years I have met many Buddhist and Vedanta meditators at the Master level. Instead of teaching me how to “control” my anxiety, they, rather ask me to “be with” my anxiety, “observe” my anxiety or “be inquisitive” about my anxiety.

    I have never heard of a Buddhist meditation master saying you should control anything. It’s about surrender, not “control” to the best of my knowledge.

    Best,
    Ari

    Like

  3. Arianna

    It was a great article, it just seemed to have a few qualitative words that might lead to a misinterpretation.

    Definitely keep posting everything! I’m not only printing them up, saving them for myself, but also for my spiritual teacher for him to keep at a few of his centers.

    Best,
    Ari

    Like

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