Thursday, August 23, 2018

What is the root cause of depression?

Johann Hari’s book, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – And The Unexpected Solutions covers each of these root causes of depression in detail, and then introduces seven solutions. I highly, highly recommend this book to everyone. A great read with huge social impact.

Causes of depression are divided into two categories: Reactive (externally caused) and Endogenous (internally caused). 

Reactive depression (externally caused)

Social/Circumstantial – By far, most depression is caused by social/circumstantial situations in a person’s life (78-85%):
  •      lacks meaningful work 
  •      lacks social/intimate connections
  •      lacks meaningful values
  •      inequality in income, status or respect
Socio-Psychological (overlaps between purely social and purely psychological [thinking] causes
  • hopeless or insecure future
  • habitual bad attitude
Endogenous depression (internally caused)

  • unresolved childhood trauma
  • disconnect from nature/open spaces
Genetics – Complex cause
  • First, there is one gene that is directly associated with depression. About 37% of people have a cluster of other genes that – in various combinations - have been associated with depression.
  • Second, genes must be activated by an extremely stressful or traumatic event (environmental) for genes to activate genetic depression
  • Third, gene activation can be reversed through a combination of healthy diet and meditation. Also, there is one medical, biochemical treatment that – when combined with diet and meditation – has been shown to improve outcomes.
One scientist summarizes: “Nobody is condemned to be depressed or anxious by their genes.”

Brain malfunction (Brain chemistry, Traumatic Brain Injury)
  • Brain chemistry - No definitive research supporting this as a cause. Two scientists: 1) “Doesn’t exist at all” or 2) “a vanishingly small number of people.” (<1% of those diagnosed with depression) (Very surprising since pharmaceutical companies campaign for chemical treatments.)
  • TBI – Often causes depression.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Buddha's Four Noble Truths compared to Reality Spirituality (and Christianity)

Buddhas Four Noble Truths

One: Suffering (Dukkha), Discontent, Unsatisfactory, Disappointment, Depression, Anxiety
  • Buddism says to heal self-inflicted suffering vs. the Christian heroic self-sacrifice.
  • Suffering is 90% imaginary: Remembered suffering, anticipated suffering. All in the mind.

Two: Origins (Samudaya), the origin of suffering, Cravings, Desires
  • Suffering comes from desires or cravings taught by ignorance.
    • Craving for objects that give pleasurable feelings, or craving for sensory pleasures.
    • Craving to dominate others.
    • Craving to be away from the world because of painful feelings.
  • Habits of thinking prolong cravings and suffering.
  • If we do not transform our suffering, we will transmit it.

Three: Removal and Cessation (Nirodha), Emptiness
  • Suffering can be ended by ceasing and removing the cravings or habits of thinking, feeling and living. 
  • One can master the mind and, by practicing prolonged emptiness, recognize and become the True Self, thus being free from all self-inflicted suffering.

Four: The Path to cessation of suffering (Magga), The Way
  • In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, it is the noble eightfold path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
  • In Christianity, it is surrender to the will of God.
  • The Buddhist and Christian ways enforce discipline.

Reality Spirituality

Reality Spirituality leads to health, peaceful living and awareness of one’s power.

Reality Spirituality empowers the individual to learn from their own thoughts and feelings, and from one’s experience of the surrounding environment. Thus, Reality Spirituality empowers self-discipline. This is different from institutional religions which enforce discipline.  

Reality Spirituality teaches you to proactively recognize and follow your compassion to find your True Self living in reality, as opposed to living in the illusions and ego filters of the mind as a reaction to reality.  
  • Your body reflects your spiritual or energetic self with senses and mirror neurons.
  • Trust yourself: Listen to your feelings, thoughts and experiences – what you should avoid, what you should do. (Learn to avoid suffering. Recognize and accept beauty.)
  • To arrive at the truth and at reality, the standard way to listen is 
    • to be open to everything without judgment, 
    • to watch without preconceptions, 
    • to be aware of the contrast between preconceptions and reality, 
    • to allow reality to be what it is, and 
    • to allow yourself to not know and not understand. 
  • If a suffering returns, it is because you have not trusted yourself and learned the lesson.
  • When you learn from suffering and beauty, and embrace the lessons, you become full aware of reality and live in consonance with reality.
  • Once you are empty of ego filters and suffering, you can become aware that reality is made of energy, in its power, waves and frequencies. From and empty state, you can learn to manipulate energy and form reality, creating whatever you will. - Christopher Aune, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

Wind turbines vs. Wide-open spaces

I used to like the idea of wind turbines, but the more of them I see, the less I like them. They are distracting and ruin the beauty of the land. Natural beauty is much more important than many people know or understand. How important are wide open spaces?

Here are some samples of the tons of research cited in Johan Hari’s book, Lost Connections.

- People viewing a beautiful piece of countryside show significantly greater drops in blood pressure, stress, depression and anxiety over people viewing the same scene as a screensaver on a computer monitor.

- A study that compared people dwelling in a part of the city without a green park to those living near a green park, with no other distinctions: Those near the green park showed 34% less depression and anxiety.

- Another study showed greater reduction in depression among runners in nature than those on a treadmill.

- “They got people who lived in cities to take a walk in nature, ... Everyone, predictably, felt better ... but for people who had been depressed, their improvement was five times greater than the other people.”

- Another study showed that pictures of open savanna immediately decreased stress levels and reduced feelings of depression better than pictures of mountains, oceans and woodland.

- A study of prisoners in Michigan showed that a group with a view of the surrounding fields were 24 percent less likely to get physically or mentally sick than those with a view of a cement block wall.
“’I have to say,’ Professor Howard Frumkin—one of the leading experts on this subject in the world, ‘that if we had a medication for which preliminary results showed such efficacy, we would be all over researching that medication … Here is a treatment that has very few side effects, is not expensive, doesn’t require a trained or licensed professional to prescribe it, and has pretty good evidence of efficacy so far.’ But the research is very hard to find funding for, he said, because ‘a lot of the shape of modern biomedical research has been defined by the pharmaceutical industry,’ and they’re not interested because ‘it’s very hard to commercialize nature contact.’ You can’t sell it, so they don’t want to know.” - (p. 130)

Isabel Behncke, evolutionary biologist/researcher of human nature/professor at Oxford University says: “Fucking hell—it’s our habitat.” - (p. 129)

We need to protect our open areas. - Christopher Aune, August 2018