The Grateful Comatose
Since my return to San Diego, I’ve observed higher percentage of people I encounter in southern California appear to be on some form of medication of one sort or another; either as a remedy for anxiety, grief, bi0polarity, depression or some sort of compulsive behaviour disorder.
This is extraordinary.
The last time I lived in San Diego, antidepressants or mood altering medicines were rarely prescribed and only then mainly to women and children who were exhibiting ‘behaviour disorder’; whatever that is supposed to mean. So how now, brown cow? Why the sudden upsurge, over 30 years, in prescribed medication to a market that not so long ago would have been conisered mainstream, of of the mill, ordinary people? Are we all mad or are we all being drugged against our will?
Well, niether, really, batman.
I mean, like most things, there really isn’t a clear disctinction between purposeful, act-of-will and responsive, passive, knee jerk reflex.
I mean, like most things actually are, not as we pretend that they are.
I run into medicated people every day. I see medicated people but I do no dance with them.
My father, when he was still alive strongly advised me to pursue a career in psychiatry or criminal pyschology under the simple premise that he had observed in his life a steady but noteworthy increase in the crazy population. “There’s one thing you can count on with madness,” he used to say to me when I was finishing college; “it’s a growth industry”.
What I notice that Southern Californians all have in common is a steady, fixed and dogged avoidance of what is really bothering them. What is eating them from under their skins; from the outside in, like a caustic acid of the soul. They might as well be already dead and in hell for what they fashioned for themselves; is each their own private corner of damnation . And I hear their silent cries of anguish for some desperate relief and it makes me shudder.
To me, the answer is simple. A by-product no doubt, of my surviving trauma; of my viceralunderstanding what it feels to not allow myself to panic in a real crisis. Maybe it’s the psychadelic drugs I took in college; I don’t really know.
But I do know that If you won’t look into the void; it bloody well comes looking for you until you do!
This cannot be medicated for or away. Your own existence on this mortal realm, this planet, this atmosphere, this mindscape is an irrevocable fact.
It cannot be avoided. Everywhere you go there you are (JKZ).
So you get used to being around and notiing that the world is not just a stage but that one is an actor upon that stage with equal focus for the Greeks observing in the audience. Our lives have meaning . We are characters of our own divine literature; our own recounting of who we are. I know myself by writing and talking about myself as my own observer. Others have other golden paths: arts, image, music, rhetoric, compassion, care giving, dancing, juggling, clowning around, being beautiful, being silent, being full of sound and fury.
We each, as Martin Luther (not, King; the earlier Protestant one), proclaimed have our own connection unmediated by scheme or screen.
We each of us can look into the mirror of our own mortality and smile back at the grin on the skull that we see.
I make no apologizes or justifications for my vantage point in this particular observation. Yes, I have been experienced and my insight is hard fought for and hard come by. I make no pretensions at superiority, niether intellectual, moral nor spiritual;
I simply what I know and what I know is this: if you do not entertain demons in your living room, then they will come for you in your bed.
In other words, none of us can ever really escape the basic question mark hiding in the middle of the room.
We are doomed by our minds and by our natural tendance towards being curious.
We really do need to know what’s going on; in the film, in the play, in the book, in the game, in our lives as we experience them.
We want to know and if we want to know, it i the Truth that we want to know; not some pill shaped alternative.
Put down your medication.
Do not be scared.
Be mindfully afraid, not scared; be aware of your fear and walk along side it, forwards; into battle.
The battle is with with your own resistance.
Two opposing emtional forces; one says step forwards.
The other says run.
There is no time to run because once you begin to contemplate, even glimpse your own mortality, your own inner, childlike wonderment at-it-all returns like an old dear friend paying a surprise visit. This is the blessing of the beginner’s mind. The state of ready apprehension, joyful reception; the bliss of being at the cusp of the moment as it changes. Getting passed the ball and running forwards, not backwards with it.
it is right here where we can see our own deaths, our own lives and the shadow of its meaning in a flash; in one instant of suspension of all time and all thinking. We can see exactly who we are, who we were born, who we live and who we are when we die. One in the same. The bones under our skin.
It is us that we are afraid of.
The us that is not only naked, but skinless.
But ‘we’ are really ok; like a skeleton, we might look scary at first; but we’re really just smiling, fuzzy, bozos underneath.
So, my American friends: LESS MEDICATION and MORE CONTEMPLATION and a little bit of MEDITATION, maybe; OK? Or as Timothy Leary once nearly a life time ago, “Instead of spending all of our time and energy on a war against drugs; why don’t we concentrate instead on a drug that stops wars?” I heard him say that first hand.
So I know what I know.
What do you know?