Rodney St. Michael
Copyright © 11-1-2001 (All Saint's Day)
Frequently Asked Questions Part I
The following messages were sent to Rodney St. Michael via mobile-phone Short Message Service (SMS) through Rodney's Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) site,
Rodney St. Michael's Realistic Anti-Depression & Anti-Psychosis Guidelines
Forgive me for my late reply. I would have replied sooner if it were not for my busy schedule at work. Since many of you have similar questions, I have tried to set aside some time to write a universal answer to all of your questions. However, contrary to what some of you may think, I'm not a "professional." I'm simply an ordinary person who figured out a way to overcome my problems.
But since some of you have not thought of it that way, let's pretend that I am a doctor or a clergyman. Most people consult these "professionals" whenever they need help, so if I were a depressed psychiatrist or a priest, where would I GO to relieve my extreme sadness?
That reminds me of a bar called "GO GO Whiskey," if I recall it correctly, which is somewhere in the vicinity of Richmond Hills, north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My buddy Fred and I, had a business trip to Toronto a few weeks ago, since we had to be trained for the Internet Systems of two top U.S. Internet Service Providers. And during a stopover in St. Paul, Minnesota, before our flight to Toronto, we met three passengers who worked as nurses in London and Scarborough, Ontario. They, of course, later became our friends. And one of them, Art--a male nurse--insisted on taking us to this "tourist attraction," far north of our hotel in downtown Toronto. Fred and I already went to the major attractions earlier--including Niagara Falls and the CN Tower--so we went along with Art to learn more about the city and its surrounding areas.
And when we arrived at the bar, we were "greeted" by two bouncers, who collected five Canadian dollars from Art, Fred, and me. There were actually four of us, including our friend Jenny. But she was a lady, of course, so she went in for free. And as soon as we went in, we could already feel the lively atmosphere in the bar. Loud, sexy rock music played in the background while a young, shapely lady slowly stripped to absolute nudity. She danced around a circular stage and climbed on a silver metal pole while she performed acrobatics to a cheering crowd of men and women, basking under multi-colored moving spotlights.
These men and women, naturally, were in an up-tempo mood at the moment. They were having a great time, and occasionally, these men and "women" would lay themselves on the stage floor with ten dollars on their mouths. Then the sensuous dancing lady would squeeze her breasts on the laying man's face, grabbing ten bucks. Or at other times, she would sit on the man's face while her genitals grabbed the ten-dollar bill. The crowd would cheer! And the sensuous lady would smile broadly.
I certainly wouldn't know the exact identities of the people who go regularly to these bars. But you can be sure that doctors and clergymen are part of the crowd, joining other regulars such as lawyers, businessmen, and average workers. Why? Because they know that their own advice for depression doesn't work. They wouldn't be able to get enough doctors fees, drug commissions, tithes and offerings if their patients or their laity actually became cured for life. And whenever they feel blue themselves, they GO here, while they drink their booze.
Then they reflect on the Seven Guidelines for Depression-Relief.
Have you ever realized that there is always something wrong in being right, and that there is always something right in being wrong? The schizophrenic teacher, Yoshua (Jesus Christ), told a Gnostic-Zen story about this two-thousand years ago. He told the story of clergymen--who he usually referred to as "snakes" and "vipers"--to his students. The clergy would pray to God, thanking Him that they turned out to be "good" and they didn't turn out to be "evil" sinners like the people surrounding them. And then the "evil" sinner would pray to God, asking forgiveness for the "wrongs" that he did. In this example, Yoshua showed how the supposed "good" clergyman was actually "evil" through his arrogance. And that the "bad" sinner was actually "good" because of his humility.
There are numerous other examples, but instead of boring you to death with lengthy narratives, you may opt to read Gnostic-Zen literature to deepen your understanding on this subject. Many Japanese Zen documents have been translated very well by Thomas Cleary and will be useful to you. The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung has also written about the Gnostics--the real authors of the New Testament Gospels. Most people are only aware of four Gospels, because almost two thousand years ago, the Roman Church officials burned all the other Gospels that the Gnostics wrote, such as the Gospel of Thomas, which were all meant to be symbolic teaching instruments, and which were never meant to be taken literally. But the Roman clergymen inserted only four Gospels in their Bible to make the Europeans think that it is literal, and to appoint themselves as the vicars of God, to maintain power and control over the people.
But don't take my word for it. Do some research by yourself so that you can appreciate it better. And after you're done with that, you will realize that sadness is needed to feel happiness, pain is a prerequisite to pleasure, and death is necessary to appreciate life. Without contrast, you will not know either, and you will not attain gnosis--knowledge.
You will then realize, when confronted with "misfortune" that it is actually an opportunity for good fortune. For instance, if you loose your job, you will know that it is an opportunity to look for a better one. Or if a loved one leaves you or forsakes you, it will now be your chance to look for that better person who will be lucky enough to be with you! Modern psychologists and clergymen have tried to imitate this Gnostic-Zen principle by calling it "positive thinking." And although it is shallow, beginners often understand the non-duality principle by starting from this simple modern perspective.
You will also realize that following the Zen Middle-Path principle--as it relates to the Non-Duality principle--is optimal for your life. You will neither be religious nor irreligious. You will neither be celibate nor promiscuous. You will neither be poor nor rich. You will neither be indifferent nor over-caring. You will neither be a Vegan-vegetarian nor an "anything-goes" eater. You will neither be an intellectual nor an imbecile. You will stay in the middle! By staying in the middle, you will relieve yourself from suffering. But if you move to either extreme, you will be depressed!
Being with a social group or community that you are comfortable with will keep you mentally healthy. To be denied access to your loved ones is to ensure depression. "Ironically," many psychiatrists isolate their patients and block off their loved ones as part of their "treatment." This ensures a continuous cash flow for psychiatrists who will collect more doctors fees and drug commissions from patients who continue to be sick.
Nevertheless, if you finally realize that psychiatrists are not for you, you will be able to find that social group that you can enjoy your life with! And make sure to sing with them, dance with them, eat with them, and learn from them. Don't forget to share your blunders with them, and to help them in times of need. That'll give your immune system a strong boost, since all these activities are scientifically proven to strengthen it. Scientific studies show that those who maintain good relationships with friends live longer than married couples. And married couples live longer than those who isolate themselves. This means that even if you choose not to marry, you will actually outlive married people if you keep an active pool of friendships.
But, that doesn't mean that you should always be dependent on their companionship. Sometimes, you will be alone. You need your space too. It will be inevitable too to lose some or many of your friends. And it will be best to simply move on and to let go.
Moreover, remind yourself not to try to change people. All people are different. Just as there are thousands of fish species that swim in the ocean, there are different varieties of humans. There are ravenous flesh-eaters such as the Great White Shark. There are con-men like the Deep-Sea Angler that tricks naive fish by dangling a fluorescent lure in front of its mouth. Of course, there's the Amazon Piranha that can tear you apart in a matter of minutes. In the same way, there are doctors, clergymen, and terrorists. And of course, if you happen to be a small sardine, would you swim anywhere near them? Of course not! It's common sense. So don't try to change any of them, and anyone like them. Chances are, they'll always be that way. They claim it's genetic--it's part of their genes to be the way they are. So just swim away from them.
On some occasions though, that will not always be true. Sometimes, your friends eventually turn out to be your enemies. And your enemies eventually become your friends. In a way, they are like Chameleons that change their colors. So be sure to make yourself moderate and flexible. Learn to respect your enemies too, because just as the Non-Duality principle tells us, they are also our friends. They have made us wiser, stronger, and maturer. We learn a lot from them. And without them, we wouldn't appreciate friendship. This is why the Gnostic schizophrenic teacher, Yoshua, tells us to love our enemies.
Classic Gnostic-Zen literature both from the East and the West repeatedly tells us that desiring too much money, glory, power, intellect or sex will lead to suffering. But knowing the Middle-Path principle, you should do this moderately. Obviously, avoiding these pleasures completely will also lead to suffering. For instance, you have heard of the classic story about the extremely rich businessman who has everything but happiness. But let's not forget the story of the poor widow who has hardly anything to feed her starving children because of poverty.
In the same way, school teachers urge their pupils to study hard so that they can become masters in their respective fields. They want you to mimic Einstein in Science, Beethoven in Music, Van Gough in Art, Hemingway in Literature, Descartes or Pythagoras in Mathematics, Socrates in Philosophy, and Jesus, Muhammad, or Siddhartha Gautama Buddha in Religion. But teachers don't tell you that all these people are either bi-polar (manic-depressive) or schizophrenic—that genius is next to madness! Although they all made great contributions to civilization, they all suffered immensely because of their intellectualism. And many of them died tragically. Of course, to ignore your education completely is also a definite mistake! It will leave you without any defenses, and you will be prone to physical and psychological slavery.
As Confucianist Hong Ying Ming says, "Pursuing desires is painful, but so is stopping desire altogether. It is up to us to cultivate ourselves skillfully."
During my trip to Toronto a few weeks ago, my new friend, Art, took me, Fred and Jennifer around downtown Toronto. Fred and Jennifer conversed with Art while he was driving along Church Street, near Carlton Street.:
Jennifer: "Hey, Art, do you know a Catholic Church near hear where I can go on Sunday?"
Art: "You can go to St. Michael's Cathedral over there at Church St."
Fred: "Why do they call this Church St.? When Rodney and I walked along this street during our first night in Toronto, looking for a place to eat after our long flight, we saw so many hooker pairs in the vicinity of Church St. and Carlton St."
Art: "Well, there's a lot of Churches in this area."
Fred: "Are you Catholic, Art?"
Art: "Oh, yessss! I belong to a very religious family. My father's a priest. And my mother's a nun!"
We then all laughed our hearts out. That just about sums up what clergymen are. Of course, not all of them are that way. Once in a blue moon, you will encounter sincere clergymen, but they are usually intimidated and wiped out by the greater majority.
Here in the Philippines, a wealthy sex-motel businessman recently donated millions of pesos to a Catholic school--La Salle University--in Manila. So La Salle erected a hotel near the school and named the hotel after the sex-motel lord. They are using it to house visiting La Salle "Brothers," using young, pretty student interns to serve them.
Of course, that would be nothing compared to the darkest periods of European history, where millions were shaved, raped, tortured, and burnt on the stake after being accused of witchcraft, or after being called werewolves or heretics. Clergymen personally shaved all the bodily hair (including the genital area) of teenage girls, who were called witches, before they were burned at the stake. The schizophrenic leader--St. Joan of Arc--is one example.
Even the history of Christianity itself surprises many people who are unfamiliar with the history of the Roman Empire. Most Catholics are not even aware that Modern Christianity is a combination of various ancient European and Asian religions. For instance, many are unaware that Greeks and Romans traditionally celebrated the 25th of December as the birthday of Dionysus and Bacchus--the god of wine. In fact, the Gnostics--who authored the New Testament Gospels--patterned their depiction of Yoshua (Jesus Christ) after other schizophrenic deities during their time to strengthen the readership and symbolic teaching significance of their newly written teaching instruments. Just like Bacchus-- the god of wine--Yoshua converts water into wine, and drinks wine as part of his holy rituals (the Bacchanalian Orgy or Holy Communion)--depicting him like an alcoholic. And just like other schizophrenic deities, such as Mithras and Osiris, Yoshua was depicted by the Gospel writers (more or less) as being born of a virgin, greeted by three shepherds (or wise men), and was later crucified or hung on a tree by the clergymen of his time. Then, just like the other deities, he resurrects and ascends to heaven after three days. Dionysus, Bacchus, Osiris, and Mithras have very similar stories, which were known hundreds and even thousands of years before Jesus was ever born. And yet most Christians are not even aware of this historical fact!
Of course, even eastern religions such as Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism and Islam are all "tainted" with similar stories. But is that "bad?" No, not at all! It turns out that we now know what links all of these religions together--schizophrenia. And whether it be the prophet Muhammad of the Islamic faith, seeing "visions" and hearing "voices" in a cave, commanding him to spread his message; or whether it be a Buddhist Zen Master hanging himself by his teeth on a tree branch to gain new insight; they have one thing in common--schizophrenia. This is what links all religions and cultures in the world.
You now have a new perspective. Every time the world celebrates Christmas--the mass of Christ or the Buddha--you are actually celebrating the birthday of historical schizophrenic teachers around the world--including Yoshua, Bacchus, and Dionysus!
What seemed to be "bad" turned out to be "good!" So celebrate it with joy! Cheers!
For some of you, who read a lot about psychiatrists, I'm sure you've heard about the doctor who tranquilizes his female patients and has sex with them during their unconscious state. And some of you might've heard about the doctors who make love with corpses. So instead of boring you with other stories that you've heard about already, just reflect on the fact that many psychiatrists become psychiatrists because of their own mental illness. They are sick, and they try to find cures for themselves by studying Western medicine and psychiatry. So sometimes, it's really hard to blame them for their deeds.
Of course, every now and then, some publicity comes out because a patient sues a doctor after being forced to take damaging neuroleptic drugs. Every now and then, the patient wins, but sometimes, that is not the case. Expert psychiatrists such as Dr. Loren Mosher, M.D. testify against other psychiatrists who lazily use these drugs as a convenient way for them to "treat" patients. And even Dr. Torrey--one of the most well-known authors about schizophrenia-- calls his fellow psychiatrists as "witch doctors" because of their unscientific approach to treating mental illness.
However, although most doctors are not concerned about your well-being, and are only concerned about convenience and how much money they'll make from you, believe it or not, there are actually a few doctors who are sincere in their work. They are very rare though. And they are usually being intimidated by the majority of lazy, greedy doctors. Fortunately, European doctors are moving away from the traditional American model of psychiatry. And doctors in Europe, such as the Germans, are more open-minded, and are searching for better and more natural methods for treating mental illness. Surely, one day, the American doctors, and the rest of the world, will follow suit.
Newspapers, television, and radio are constantly broadcasting bad news. Add that to crowded places, communities filled with hateful or rude people, and a job that you don't enjoy. You'll end up stressed out. And stress leads to depression.
Naturally, to relieve yourself, you need to lessen your exposure to these stressors. But do remember the middle-path principle. You need to gradually increase your exposure to these elements again to build a strong immunity towards it. The principle works just like vaccines, which are actually composed of the same attacking pathogens (viruses or bacteria) that cause the illness. (But the pathogens are in weakened form, which allows your body's immune system to build defenses against it.)
Then, make it a part of your habits to manage stress. It all depends on what your preferences are. Some people like Asian de-stressors such as Tai-Chi, Yoga, and Zen meditation. Others may prefer humor, soothing music, Swedish massage, and lovemaking. Still others are invigorated by hobbies such as pet management, motorcycle maintenance, or flower arrangement. There are multitudes of books about these topics in your local library or bookstore, so be sure to allocate some time for these activities.
You may also want to learn how to manage what you read, hear, and see. Take the advice of economist Roger Miller: "Bad news sells…Worse news sells even better…(and since the media is competing for your money), always be skeptical of any reported crisis." The media often magnifies the negative events in society. And if you don't know how to zoom out—how to see the big picture, instead of the individual pixels—you'll end up like Chicken Little, crying: "The sky is falling! The Sky is falling!" For example, when I discussed "Go Go Whiskey" in my introductory narrative, I simply magnified a small sector of Canadian society. If you are unfamiliar with Canada, you may have thought that the Land of Maple Leaves mimic Sodom and Gomorrah. But that is not the case! It is a beautiful country with broad-minded and courteous individuals. In fact, when I traveled there a few weeks after the World Trade Center tragedy, I expected to be harassed by airport officials, immigration officers, and North American city-folk. But no! They were all so kind and respectful to me as a foreigner! So if you learn to see the big picture, you will relieve yourself from stress-related paranoia and depression.
However, since you also need to moderate this technique, sometimes you will also need to zoom in, to develop defensive immunity. For instance, a certain society's history books often portray foreign societies as barbarians. And if you are part of this foreign society, your self-esteem will naturally be lowered. And that, of course, leads to stress and depression. Chinese history books for instance, portray everyone else as barbarians. On the other hand, American history depicts other societies as savages. Indeed, as many experts like French philosopher Michael Foucault notice, those who are in power manipulate historical accounts. For example, Hollywood, until recently, often portrays Egyptians as Caucasians. You may remember Cecil DeMille's The Ten Commandments. But if you look at Egyptian paintings, statues, and sarcophagi, Egyptians have slanted eyes. Some of them also have bald, pony-tailed hairstyles typical of kung-fu fighters. Their physical built and bone-structure are typically Asian, and their hieroglyphic script is almost the same as ancient Chinese script. It makes you wonder about the extent of diversity among the ancient Egyptians, who belonged to a heterogeneous race composed of Hindu-Arabs, Chinese, Africans, Greco-Macedonians and other races. In the end, if you are aware of these manipulations, then you will be more immune to depression. You'll probably end up laughing at how each culture tries to portray another culture.
There is also an entire Asian anti-stress philosophy called Daoism or Taoism. But some people make the mistake of using it as a permanent practice instead of a temporary technique during times of great stress. It is a useful philosophy, but use it for short periods only.
It is also important to note that much of my discussion here may apply more appropriately to city-dwellers. For those who live in the countryside, you may experience stress through boredom, monotony, or lack of drive. But this varies from person to person, and not everyone may feel it. In any case, you may want to visit the city every now and then to rejuvenate yourself.
Lastly, special consideration should be given to your occupation and your work environment. Most of your waking time is spent in your job, and if you hate it, you'll be stressed out before you know it. Frequently, economics prevents you from taking the job of your dreams. It seems that your preferred jobs are either unavailable or are low-paying, so try to compromise. Make it a goal to find creative solutions for your "dilemma."
For instance, when I was on Northwest Flight 11 from Detroit to Tokyo, last September 29, I overheard a conversation between a Chinese passenger and a Japanese professor behind me:
Chinese man: What do you do for a living?
Japanese man: I'm a computer science professor in Tokyo...But I wish I were a history professor...It's very hard to find an opening for a history professor though...and it doesn't pay much...
They continued their discussion for a while, and I thought that he would probably be happier if he negotiated one-half or three-fourths of his time with the university management, teaching computer science. Then the rest of his time could be spent instructing students about history. Of course, nothing will be perfect, but if you can improve your job satisfaction, you're on your way to a better life!
This rule may seem to have dual meanings, but as we know already from the Non-Duality Principle, it really has only one. Some people think about loving yourself from the perspective of the dark side--selfish and egotistic. On the other hand, others see the light side--taking care of your health, standing up for yourself, and reaching your full potential. In the end, the dark side exists only temporarily, and it merges and stabilizes toward the light side.
From history, you will learn about the consequences of the dark side. For instance, thousands of years ago, it seemed that Alexander the Hunchback couldn't accomplish anything. But the rebel student of Plato--Aristotle--taught Alexander the dark side of Gnostic-Zen philosophy. (Plato, of course, is the pupil of the schizophrenic teacher--Socrates--the "founder" of Western philosophy.) And eventually, Alexander conquered the entire known world. He is called today as Alexander the Great. But after his conquests, he killed himself through intoxication.
You probably also know the story of Japan in the early part of the twentieth century. How could a small country like Japan challenge giants such as Russia, China, and the United States? Simple. They used the mental might of Gnostic-Zen philosophy, but using its dark side eventually led to a tranquilizer--Atom bombs exploding in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Even Hitler used the dark side of Gnostic-Zen intensely. In fact, his icon--the swastika--is actually a reversed image of the universal Gnostic-Zen religious symbol--the sauvastika. The sauvastika has existed for thousands of years, and it appears in the catacombs of early Christians in Europe, in the artifacts of American Indians, in Buddhist temples, and other indigenous artifacts all over the world. But ever since Hitler reversed it to represent its dark side, and ever since he displayed his dark-sided version on his armband, the masses mistake both to be the same. They can't distinguish one from the other, and even Buddhists today hesitate to use the sauvastika since people might think that it's Hitler's swastika. You can learn more about this by studying Iconography.
Of course, Gnostic-Zen has its variations throughout history. One variation is freemasonry. The masons used its techniques to establish one of the greatest nations in history--the United States. George Washington, the first President, is recorded to be a mason. And the symbols used by the U.S. government are Masonic. Starting with thirteen Masonic colonies, they conquered the West. Employing the Dark Side, nothing could stop the expansion of the American Empire. During the height of this empire, its colonies stretched far into the Pacific Ocean, reaching as far as the Philippines. It almost even occupied and enslaved Japan, as it did to its other colonies, when U.S. ships moved toward Tokyo bay. But being armed with Gnostic-Zen themselves, the Japanese defended themselves. And with the onset of World War II, the rest is history.
Clearly, Gnostic-Zen can be very dangerous if its dark side is used. And American movie producers, such as George Lucas, have even made theatrical representations of Gnostic-Zen and Asian philosophy as it relates to history. In his series--Star Wars--he presents an innocent boy--trained by the masters--who later turns to the Dark Side and builds his empire without hesitance. In the end, the young boy who becomes Darth Vader, turns back to the light side. This movie series has drawn and continues to attract large audiences worldwide. And it is even hailed by some people as "the greatest movie" of the twentieth-century.
Fortunately, the Light Side is not far away. Throughout history, schizophrenic teachers proclaim the same message over and over again, even though it may be clouded by clergymen who misrepresent their teachings. And what is that message? The seeds of God are within yourself, and you can make it grow by loving yourself.
For instance, when the voices of Moses spoke to him, as written in the Torah, the name of the voice of God was "I AM." "This is my name forever," the voice from the burning bush said. "This is what all future generations should call me." Some people call it YaHWeH or YeHoVaH or YHVH. But in any case, his name is YHoUrselfH. He is God, but God is within you!
And certainly all philosophy students should be familiar with the famous line of the schizophrenic teacher, Socrates: "What is a SELF?" Of course, that is not an original statement because even the temples during his time had that line engraved on its walls.
Moreover, the famous Gnostic-schizophrenic teacher, St. Paul, encouraged people like you to bring out "the Christ in YOU!" (Epistle to the Philippians) Yes, the Christ or the Buddha is within YOU.
Yes, even Rene Descartes--the inventor of Analytic Geometry--after attempting to prove the existence of God, and after a fit of madness trying to do it, exclaimed: "I think, therefore I AM!"
Certainly, this philosophy has been known throughout the East for thousands of years, but it was suppressed in the West and clouded by clergymen to keep themselves in power. But this teaching has always been in the West too, as I described. Even Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, recognized this Gnostic teaching and uses it as a form of therapy.
So what can you do to start your growth? First, take care of your health. Help yourself. You are your best helper. No one can do a better job than you. Family members, doctors, nurses, and other people can only do so much. YOU are your best doctor! Start eating right. Don't be completely omnivorous, but don't be a Vegan vegetarian either. Be moderate. Exercise too. Physical health and mental health are related. They are connected to each other. Then start following the middle path.
You will then be ready to set achievable goals for your health, career or business, and social life. Think about realistic goals to improve your well-being, your occupation, and your relationships with friends and family. And just like successful businessmen, try to build a network of friends. Don't forget to help the people who have helped you, so that when hard times come--and they will come--you will have people to count on for assistance.
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