Master of Depression
I would like to return to the issue of depression just once more. I promise I'll stop after this.
My own personal experiences with depression are vast. I often share that it was a dominant condition in my life until I was around 33 years old (I am 62 now). But once I began to understand the true cause of it (it is different for each individual), I never looked back. I am not trying to define myself as a master of depression but I did become a master of managing my grief and sadness for the things that had happened in my life from the time I was born. And even those events, horrendous though they were, would take on an entirely different twist as time went by. It is not as though I am grateful for the terror I encountered as a child but it is obvious that had those things not happened, I could not have lived the life I am living today.
The truth of it is that depression is an imaginary state of mind, of believing that you have lost something you can never get back, of believing that the weight of the burden is too heavy to bear, that death is preferable to life, that you stand no chance of living the life of your choice. But let's clarify something: sadness is not depression. Grief is not depression. These are normal, healthy emotions that are invaluable tools to help you let go, instead of practicing repression, emotional secrecy, and as a result, self-deception.
Let's look at depression from two different levels.
But let's do an exercise. Draw a large, large circle. In the middle of the circle, place a small, small dot. Know that you can travel back and front, from one to the other. The circle represents the chaos and the drama...the unhealthy, dark you. The dot represents knowledge and joy...the enlightened you.
Before you begin the exercise, consider the following: 1. You don't need to be anywhere else...where you are right now in your life is perfect. 2. You don't need money...what you have and don't have in your life is perfect. 3. You are the maker of the rules...you get to decide what is true and false in your life. 4. And here's the tough one...the circle and the dot are the same...neither can exist without the other. Read it again. They are the same (we'll explore this at a deeper level later).
So, head on out to the circle and do your Jerry Springer thing...do your crazy stuff, think your crazy stuff, feel your crazy, unhealthy emotions...get enraged, get depressed, do whatever it is you do to create drama and chaos in your life. And remember, there's nothing wrong with it...but it does create consequences...mostly negative. And that's OK.
Now, head out of the chaos and into the dot. Once inside the dot, look at the circle from the standpoint of being calm and clear, of being a master of life, and observe yourself doing all your crazy, depressed stuff. Be the guru. Be the guide. Be the master. And what do you see? You see your Self doing crazy stuff without understanding who you are. You think your crazy stuff is real and you're really upset about it. But from the stability of the dot, what would you say to the you that is hanging out there on the circle doing all your crazy stuff?
And this is the reason why depression cannot be cured through medication or any other drug...because it isn't real in the first place! You made it up! You can't cure something that doesn't exist. Now, you may be someone who has a tremendous investment in your "circle" and proving that unlike others' circles, yours is real. Then, go ahead. Prove to others that your crazy stuff is legitimate. Blame. Project. Depress. Withdraw. Addict...but notice the outcomes. The depression doesn't change. Being at center (the dot), allows you to see who you are not. Being at center, in a center that holds in times of change, chaos, and loss allows you to see the events as what they truly are...stuff. Unfolding stuff. So, the real question is: Who are you in relationship to the stuff? Are the stuff or are you the observer of the stuff? As the maker of the rules, you get to decide.
In terms of a spiritual approach to depression, few individuals have access to belief systems that lie outside their collective society. For example, most Americans see spirituality through the religion of Christianity and the many beliefs that accompany that religion. Hindus see the world through the Hindu practices. And so on. All religions entail belief systems. But as you can easily see, a mental knowledge is not going to get you through difficulty. No mental or cognitive understanding of any self-destructive pattern is going to keep anybody from practicing self-destruction. So, we need something else, something that connects us to the center of the dot, to the center of our being. Now, for those of you who are interested, there is another way to approach difficulty in life, including depression. This level is characterized by a disciplined, spiritual practice. So, hang tight for just a second before you reject this idea.
Mirra Alfassa, known as The Mother, was a disciple of Sri Aurobindo. She was born in Paris in 1878 to and died in Pondicherry, India, 1975. Without addressing their relationship or their work, I invite the reader to view the following: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PRa3Yx0mME. The Mother was 89 years old when this was recorded in 1969.
Her words are as true today as they were in 1969. These words describe the spiritual approach to which I refer. You've done your best, you've tried as hard as you can, the difficulties aren't going away...so, let them go. Let them go. Put all of it on a leaf that is floating down a beautiful mountain stream and let them go. And as the leaf disappears around the bend, turn your eyes toward something grander. See this new moment through new eyes, new ideas, new ways of understanding why you are here, and in that moment, if only for a second, you will have let go of the past. Take a sword up to your mind and slice the old beliefs to pieces, making room for the new. Stop going to therapy and talking about ghosts that don't exist and call into your Self the power to rise up. Stand up.
This level (spiritual practice), like the other, is a bridge. But like the other, it is also a choice. Do you choose to know? Do you choose to see? Do you choose to change? Do you choose to believe that you can create heaven on earth in this lifetime?
And this is the daily practice of Level II. And like all circumstances in life, show me what you're practicing and I'll show you what you're getting ready to get more of.