Taking care of your mental health

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Taking care of your mental health

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:16 am


The Dharma is good for your mental health, but are there other things that can be done to improve one's mental health?

Or is it simply a direct correlation between living in accord with the Dharma and mental health... and other things are of no relevance to mental health, other than to the extent with which they can be related to the Dharma?

Is all happiness to be classified as sensual happiness or non-sensual happiness? What about the happiness of 'relaxing' for example... is that sensual, and/or non-sensual?

I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on these questions. I apologize in advance for any vagaries in the questions - feel free to interpret them as you see fit.

Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.

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Re: Taking care of your mental health

Post by genkaku » Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:15 pm

Hi retro -- As you say, there are a zillion ramifications and entry points on "mental health" and Buddhist practice and I can't pretend to know how to cover all the bases. Still, my two cents ....

I had a Zen teacher once, a man I came to distrust deeply, who said, "In order to practice Zen, a certain mental health is required." And, however vague that statement is, I agree with it. People who run around pretending to "rely on the Dharma" have missed the point: If the best the Dharma could do was offer something called reliability, how could anyone be better off than they were before they 'discovered the Dharma?'

There are profoundly compelling understandings that accompany a Buddhist practice ... OK. But using such understandings to evade or put up defenses against the life anyone might actually lead -- crazy or sane, no difference -- well, isn't that sort of sad? If what a 'Buddhist' needs is a little Zen practice, good: Practice Zen. If what a 'Buddhist' needs is a trip to a counselor, good: Go to a shrink. If what a 'Buddhist' needs is a bit of down time in front of the TV, good: Watch some tube. If what a 'Buddhist' needs is some lunch, good: See what's in the fridge.

The key element that accompanies our 'profound' or 'ordinary' activities is attention -- gentle, but firm, attention. Just pay attention ... and see what happens. In this way, I think our "mental health" and our "Buddhism" are both maintained and improved.

But that's just me. :)

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Re: Taking care of your mental health

Post by thornbush » Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:16 pm

One of my mental health therapy would be having cats.... they are great 'unwinders' at the end of the day...

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Re: Taking care of your mental health

Post by sraddha » Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:54 pm

Definately keeping your life simple is one key factor in happiness. Owning whatever you have, not being in debt, not burdening oneself with too many attachments. Going for nice long meditative/non-meditative walks and keeping active.

But I guess all these things are also a part of the Dharma. :smile:

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