See my notes on his excellent talk below. Here is the embedded Youtube video of the talk):
When you’re young you care so much about how people see you; in your 40s and 50s you let go of a lot of that, then in your 60s you realize no one was actually really looking, like people mostly don’t think about you, you know? We are all pretty worried about ourselves, or other things.
Egg farmers story – One Farmer takes the basket and fills it with the chicken dung brings it into the house, stinks up the house.
The other farmer takes the basket brings in the eggs, makes an omelette for the family and sells the rest for cash. We carry that dung around our whole life. When we look back on our life’s prosperity, we could see all the great things that are happening.
The bricklayer may focus on the 2 bricks that are out of line or the 998 that are right. Taking the good things for granted.
If you can remember what worked, if you bring attention to that in your mind, you can more likely repeat what worked. “You learn from successes much more than you ever will from mistakes and also you avoid this terrible trap of depression.” Remember the temporary nature of everything, that this too will pass. “Knowing its not going to last, takes away the pain.” When things are going well never take it for granted. You really work hard to make sure that prosperity lasts as long as it can. Always have to work. Keep working hard. That way the prosperous time will last forever.
We hear junk food all the time, criticism, all the things you did wrong. When you get a compliment you dismiss it. Why? We need to hear that, it is like health food for the mind. When you hear a compliment say Thank you I deserve that. Don’t dismiss it. The person giving the compliment will be glad you didn’t.
Receiving praise with thank you it encourages praise and otherwise what is left – the fault finding, etc. People have far too many desires and expectations..asking from the world what it would never give you. Australia will never win the world cup. [LOL, well that I don’t know about that.] Keep your desires in practicality, don’t reach too far. When people do they get frustrated, depressed, angry seeing the world as a way it isn’t.
When you actually work within the parameters of life and you’re wise enough to know what you can achieve and what you can’t, when you don’t have these stupid desires, these obsessive goals. Which actually put you thru so much pain and suffering that you get depressed.
What is your goal in life? I am demanding my right to be celibate, celibacy rights LOL love it. You don’t have to win the match just enjoy the game. You get the promotion its more stress. There is never enough money. Why work so hard for the promotion when you can get it so your actually doing it for happiness. Status, what is that? Life sometimes does go wrong its not perfect, so don’t expect that. There are many times when loses happen and that is sad. So you accept there will be depressing moments in life, we don’t make anything worse of it. Joy at last there is nothing wrong with you if you get upset, if you cry, its normal, there is no perfect perpetual happiness in this world. It is so exhausting to be someone else. You can just be you. When you sit in meditation, you can just be you.
We don’t meditate to try to get something, we meditate to let go of things , that craving that wanting, to get something we want. Being here and wanting to be somewhere else, that is called suffering. Trying to get somewhere else, anything but being here, being you. Let it go. Just be who you are and then you find you have incredible energy, brightness, clarity.
Every time you want more money/something else you can’t enjoy what you have right now. Yeah when I get that thing, then I will be happy. Craving is unfaithful, promises you something but never delivers. 58:00-If you want to have a powerful body exercise it. If you want to have a powerful mind, keep it still. Bare energy of the mind comes from stillness. You get so much energy that depression just can’t exist. One of the greatest causes of depression is that people’s brain has just been working too hard. Make peace with your depression, open the door of your heart to being depressed. When you stop fighting energy starts to come back. When you are not getting negative about being negative. Don’t meditate with force, don’t struggle, let it go. Monks who have been doing it for years, are great at just letting it go. You know life has hard times it isn’t new or shocking it is just what it is in that moment. Meditation which makes peace, allows energy to come back.
Someone asks what to do when a friend experiencing depression comes to you. He says be sensitive, drop the plan, don’t show up with this book or this quote I used last time: what he calls knowledge. Be sensitive, sometimes an arm around the shoulder helps sometimes then they will punch you. As long as I am silent as long as I’m kind don’t try to repeat what worked last time or remember the instructions in the book. Whenever someone is really going thru something this is something he tries, dropping the plan, the knowledge and being sensitive in that moment. Don’t let knowledge get in the way of truth. Knowledge is what you’re supposed to do. Truth is what is right in front of you right now and there is a huge amount of difference. Be in that moment and be with that person and you actually feel what needs to happen in that moment.
Everyone gets depression big or small, its part of life. I think I missed noting many things in this talk (it may have been a different one of his talks): he advises volunteering helping people and he talks about being with people, like visiting someone in the hospice and their just not wanting to talk about their illness with you necessarily. Like don’t start with, how are you feeling. They want a friend someone who will talk to them like a friend, what is the latest, tell a joke, etc. Of course no absolutes it just made sense what he said that people get sick of talking about how they are doing to the nurses and doctors (that is their job) they want a friend also. He says don’t forget a person living with an illness is not the illness first, they are the person first. So it is not a depressed person, it is a person experiencing depression, for example.
Thanks Ajahn Brahm for this talk. Best to everyone.