Prozac & Enlightened Mind

Can antidepressants help or hinder waking up?Judith Hooper

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One wintry day in the late sixties, when I should have been studying for finals at college, I took a bus 150 miles to a dowdy New York City hotel room to get my very own mantra from a pale young man with a vaguely Scandinavian accent. I remember how, in those heady days, it seemed not only possible but highly probable that the right mantra, koan, or guru could allow one to leapfrog easily over one’s neuroses and “hangups” (as they were then called) into nirvana—or something like it. After all, the Beatles had gone to India and we had seen Dr. Richard Alpert metamorphose into Ram Dass. Of course, spiritual practice turned out be a lot of long, hard work, and my neuroses are still pretty much intact.

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