I had a few ideas for a post a week or so back but as can happen the muse left me too soon. Robin William's suicide has put a bit more shape around those ideas.
As I've said before I think we come out of the unknowable void of unity, that which is called by many names; God, Buddha, Source, in order that the very void may perceive itself both as raw consciousness and as apparently separate forms within that consciousness. But this too is just an idea and one not to get too attached to. Part of experience is undoubtedly a sense of self, a will and desire. Fear might be said to be the feeling generated by the prospect of a seemingly unbearable contradiction between desire and apparent circumstance; usually the desire for safety and well being of the self. And whilst there is no separate self there is the interconnected self, a self were it wise enough to see, that is The Self; the unknowable. The purpose of life is to experience it. I think depression arises when that purpose feels thwarted. And whilst Buddha nature like paper never refusing ink irrespective of what is written, is always accepting, our experience is naturally filled with desire, contradiction, fear, confusion and much more.
Desire it seems to me is the fuel which makes things happen, or at least the feeling which goes along with things happening. I'll not get too distracted here into writing about control and how much or rather how little we actually have. And as I've alluded to above the real desire is to live that we may see our true (Buddha) nature. Creativity is an aspect of sexual energy or vice-versa . Sex, to me a calling to unity, fires us up and draws us to each other; cracks us open that we might love. Happy young straight couples experience this uniting love albeit tangled with romantic attachment and glow in its joy. Young gay men sometimes have this too, but their path is often more complex. When enmeshed in the pursuit of some subject or area of study both our self and the subject are also cracked open. Most gay men will tell you of the pain involved in coming to terms with their sexuality and the complexities of their love lives. Yet this experience is revealing and ultimately rewarding as we see the water which other (straight) fish simply swim through. History is littered with people who have been washed up on the shores of their subject be it technical, political or human. We all see our own version of the world. For many it's fine and they fit; no problem. For others the world they see is filled with contradictions; aspects that don't seem as they could be. Those aspects mingle with desire and creativity and beckon a new awakening; a further exploration of the void. For some this process is joyful but often it is painful. Consciousness cares not either way; all it wants is to explore the void. I've heard it said that our environmental problems are sort of irrelevant to consciousness; if we mess up consciousness will just spring up out of what is left behind. We will have been an interesting experiment and life will move on. Of course it's only an interesting experiment because we do care what happens; we are both infinitely expendable and infinitely priceless. This priclessness resides in love. Sometimes sight is lost of this love in all its guises and great enveloping waves of heavy grey-blackness wash in; depression. Like Sisyphus eternally pushing the bolder up hill only to have it roll back, we are entombed in wave upon wave of heavy darkness with no end in sight. Sometimes the darkness is shot through with lightning bolts of fear at other times the fear is like sheet lightning or rain. Rain, it rains and rains... then worse, the rain and the dry have merged together; the self seems lost, merged in the enveloping grey. Objectivity is lost, the will seems to have fled, chased out by fear. An empty maw remains. And still the stone has to be pushed and still it rolls back... and on... and on. From where does this bleakness come? Then, almost as quick as it came it can leave. Colour returns, the will creeps back and the world regains some objectivity. And more. The world is more seen, the water is more visible, the swim is more visible.
There is talk in the media just now about the link between creativity and depression. There are warnings not to romanticise depression in this way. Good warnings I think. But it is I think also true that a certain kind of seeing and seeking, a certain kind of creating a world comes at a price. I think this inevitable as when we touch the depth of our human being we inevitably see that there is a rich sadness at the root of life; we long to return home (to the void) yet we are already there and long to enter the world...
The merit of this post is offered for Robin William's family.