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Buddhadharma : Fall 2013
FALL 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 21 three places, we discover the ground of being, or unbounded spaciousness, and the awareness that connects us to this ground, along with the warmth that genuinely arises from this connection. So I prescribe three “pills” to my students—stillness of the body, silence of inner speech, and spaciousness of mind—as a means to connect with the inner refuge and as a support for those suffering with depression. Take these three pills as often as you are able, day and night; they have no negative side effects. Take them the moment you feel overwhelmed or ungrounded. We need something we can immediately turn toward when we are unsettled. Sometimes depression is so pervasive that we are not able to get out of bed. At times like this, open a window to experi- ence fresh air and look out and gaze at the sky and the light. Try to connect with inner refuge through this exposure to the outer sky and light. That might open the door of spaciousness for you. Rest, with your eyes open, for five or ten minutes at a time, simply watching the sky and light and not doing anything else, such as looking at the overwhelming things in your house that need to be taken care of. Instead of looking at your kitchen, which is a mess, rest your eyes on the sky and the light as a support for connecting with inner spaciousness. Remember that your true nature is open and clear like the sky and is only temporarily obscured by the clouds of anxiety and depression. As a practitioner, it is most important to develop trust in yourself and your ability to experience the inner refuge. The three pills are an experiential means of coming to know and trust yourself, and to connect again and again with your true nature, your buddhanature. Through becoming increasingly familiar with the inner refuge, we interrupt our patterns of anxiety and can recognize a true sense of inner home. We encounter the Buddha within. While this dharma advice is not meant as a substitute for proper medical or therapeutic atten- tion, the awareness of one’s nature is ultimately the light that will clear the darkness of depression.