“Stop thinking, and end your problems….I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.”
[excerpt Lao Tzu, Tao Te Chin, verse 20]
A Cup of Tea
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
How often have you experienced a revelation, had an “aha” moment or had a new or startling thought? It is absolutely necessary to empty the mind (take out the trash?) regularly in order to create space, most importantly, to just be a being. A being doesn’t need thought to be. It simply is. An infant doesn’t need to learn how to be or to think about being.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about
It’s a thing. And Daylight Saving Time (DST) effects can
mimic it or make it worse.
I experienced “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD) once. I
was residing in the basement of a Minneapolis home by Lake Harriet. The
dwelling had only one small ground level window and the weather was mostly gray
for at least a month. I felt just as gray.
This was an unusual experience for me because as a physician
of mine once said, “Sharon, you are one of the happiest people I’ve ever known
– in a healthy way.”
But the lack of sunshine took a toll and I was in a depressed state that I couldn’t shake. Fortunately, the dwelling was temporary and I returned, racing ahead of a pervasive early snowstorm, to Texas, my home. Truth be told, I’m not particularly fond of heat and have never really adjusted to the Texas climate. In the summer, I avoid the ever-present, intense sun as if I were a vampire. So no one was more surprised than me when–as soon as I crossed the border from Oklahoma into Texas–I immediately jumped out of my car and actually kissed the ground because the sun was shining.
Fast forward to this morning, November 3, 2019, as I woke to
the first day after we turn the clocks back. I was still lying in bed realizing
that my internal clock and the external clocks in my home we’re in disagreement,
and I began wondering what it would be like in the evening when darkness would
settle in so early. That’s when I remembered the bout of seasonal affective
disorder and the weariness of so much dark.
Curious, I searched the internet for Daylight Saving Time and
seasonal affective disorder; and lo and behold, there was all lot of
information on the subject. Not only had other people have the same thought, there
was a good amount of genuine research.
To my surprise, DST is practiced by about 70 industrialized countries worldwide with the exception of India, China, and Japan. In South America it is observed by Paraguay and most of Chile. And this is despite evidence that observing Daylight Savings “appears to compromise the process of sleep by decreasing both sleep duration and sleep efficiency.”
Daylight Savings “appears to compromise the process of sleep by decreasing both sleep duration and sleep efficiency.”
Research indicates that DST (either springing forward or falling back) affects circadian rhythms which in turn affect cortisol levels, the possibility of acute myocardial infarction (especially in men), ischemic stroke for the first two days after the transition [Sleep Med. 2016 Nov – Dec;27-28:20-24. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2016.10.009. Epub 2016 Nov 2]. Fortunately, the negative physical health affects diminish quickly after the first days following transition.
Mood, however, may be adversely compromised for much longer.
Because SAD is experienced as a result of loss of sunlight, autumn DST can
exacerbate the problem. If you are experiencing temporary adjustment
challenges, there are some ways to combat and lessen the effects:
Similar to dealing with jet lag, adjust your rhythm to the new time. For example, on the first day or two, if you are able, stay in bed the extra hour so that you are not fatigued at the end of the day.
If the weather is nice, go outside and walk or sit in the sun.
If your sleep is disrupted, consider checking whether melatonin is a good choice for you. (Always best to consult a health care professional)
Eat well and exercise.
Engage in some form of meditation or mindfulness practice (proven to have numerous health benefits).