18 January 2016

The flip-script method of mood-fixing

Moods.  We all have them.  Good moods and bad moods in various intensities.  It’s the bad ones that need fixing, as they say.  The problem with ‘fixing’ is that it is essentially a surface treatment.  "Mood fix karanna maru inguru” claims an ad for a ginger biscuit brand.  Not a bad product and some good commercials too, but whether it fixes the mood we don’t know, and even if it did, we don’t know for how long the mood stays ‘fixed’. 

There are substances that give highs.  They are great for people with lows.  But as with all such induced ‘fixes’, the effect doesn’t last forever.  Sooner rather than later, you are back where you were, because what caused the ‘down’ in the first has not been removed or dealt with effectively one way or another. 

It’s a bit like changing the pillow, as the Sinhala saying goes, believing that this would cure the headache.  There could be relief of course, but only for a short time.  It’s like the oft-uttered excuse for drinking, ‘to drown sorrows’.  Intoxication sorts out a lot of things, but sobriety returns and the world unfortunately is still as it was, sorrowful.  

Death cures, the suicide believes, but whether it does or not we cannot tell.  If one believes in God and what the relevant scriptures have to say about suicides, then the afterlife cannot be any better. In fact it could be worse.  If one’s a Buddhist, then death is but a transit point, where you get off one vehicle and get into another, taking all the baggage with you. 

Maybe a different angle on things, a different vantage point for gaze and an adjusting of the frames of reference are better ways of fixing moods.  Let’s take a couple of examples.

Amrith Pradeep Nadesan lost his only child.  She suffered from a rare ailment called Goldenhar Syndrome.  She was 9 when she died, but in all those years had not uttered a single word.  Pradeep loved her dearly and she loved him too, showing affection the only way she knew, licking his face. 

“What do you have to say about the suicide wish of a man who has nothing left to live for?” he asked a friend. 

“I don’t know what your faith is, but I subscribe to Buddhist teachings.  Your child never wronged, not in word and not in deed and not in thought.  For wrongs done or let’s say for sins committed previously, she suffered in this lifetime.  Maybe she’s paid all of that.  She cannot but go to a better place.  We really can’t pass judgment on these things but perhaps death in this instance was a release and relief that life could never deliver to her. 

“And as for your suicidal urges, that’s no answer either for you take these sorrows wherever you go.  You child lives.  Within you.  She has inscribed herself not only as memory but ways of being.  But let’s forget all that.  Come. Let’s talk.”

The moment passed. His child is dead.  Still dead.  He lived.  He lives. 

A professor was distraught because his elder son had died in an accident.  What is left for him to do, he wondered.  “I have to look for my son,” he told a friend.

The friend replied: “You are a Buddhist.  Now, in the saara sankhya kalpa lakshaya those countless lifetimes, how many mothers and fathers have you had, how many children?  Where are they now?  In what form?  Do you know their names? Do you know if they exist today as human beings, as gods, as four-legged creatures or as insects?  You son is gone and will be beyond reach, but he remains in all the memories of his 17 years that are etched in your heart.”

The professors was sipping a brandy.  Not to drown his sorrows, no.  He would not stop grieving but he stopped seeking his son. 

Maybe it’s all about asking the right (or wrong) questions, a matter of stepping back and obtaining the true dimensions of that which has caused mood to dip.  Maybe it’s all about not letting that which you cannot control or about going to sleep because all equations are transformed beyond recognition in those night-hours that precede daybreak. 

Happy pills, as they all them, don’t do that for you.  You can, with or without a good ginger biscuit, a bottle of wine or any such palliative, still fix your mood.  Flip a coin, for example if you are in two minds, and while it’s turning in the air you’ll know how you want it to fall, which side up.  Think of a chicken and an egg and tell yourself that sometimes we really don’t know what came first, what caused what.  Watch the sky and see how cloud formations change, how lines blur, and how different colours and colour-combinations trace their particular and yet constantly changing poetry.  Ask a silly question such as ‘Can melodies be perfumed?’ or ‘If all the words in a poem are jumbled would we get nonsense or a different kind of clarity?' 

Mess things around a little when you are down.  It’s fun re-constructing if you want to think of it as a game, but if you are serious, look for different patterns.  The world is made for multiple ways of describing.  Flip it around and you’ll get ‘fixes’ that will do much more that cure you of a bad mood.



Anonymous said...

all doing....

stop doing
doing nothing
be at present
and get fixed ..

when ever
be at present
and get fixed....