What is Depression?
“Depression is an illusion caused by a lack of reality!”
You can’t be depressed when you have a strong connection with reality. Why do I say that? I say that because Reality is the real ‘I’ and the real ‘I’ is who you really are. Look at the word reality and you will see the words ‘real’ and ‘I’ in there. The real ‘I’ is never depressed, never unhappy, never problematic. People who are depressed have lost their connection with reality, lost their connection with the real ‘I’ within themselves, which is hidden just below their conditioned and therefore problematic ‘selves’.
Depression is life’s way of letting you know that you have lost that connection in a big way, and if you are depressed then life is telling you that NOW is the time to do something about it, that it is time to re-connect with reality. Reconnection with your greater reality-truth-integrity is the solution to the depressed condition.
Now the term ‘real I’ implies its opposite polarity, that aspect of yourself which is ‘unreal’ the ‘false I’. The false I is everything you presently ‘think’ you are but are not. Anyone who suffers from the symptoms of depression, fear, doubt, worry or any forms of psychological and emotional pain, misery, suffering and unhappiness has become lost in the ‘false I’, the conditioned self.
Most people spend some time, on a daily basis, centred in their ‘reality’ but much of their time is also spent in aimless or problematic thinking and consequently in emotional negativity and reactivity. There is a balance of sorts. Each of us experiences this balancing act where sometimes we are happy, relaxed and at ease because we have a strong connection with our reality, with the real ‘I’ but at other times we lose our connection with reality and we open ourselves to unhappiness, to fear, doubt, worry and depression. The depressed individual is out of balance, in extreme cases they can spend most of their time lost in the negativity of discursive and problematic thinking.
How does a depressed individual reconnect with reality? The original meaning of the word religion (re-ligio) was just that; the reconnection of man with reality. This original meaning and knowledge has all but been lost to the masses who have been hoodwinked into ‘believing’ something quite different. In the past men (and women) who did not have a strong enough connection to their own reality have taught mankind that religion is something separate and apart from themselves, something to be believed in, rather than their own living reality. But to experience reality is to have the direct experience of the real ‘I’. Direct experience of the real ‘I’ is the end of belief and the beginning of direct knowledge. It has been said that in this pristine state there is no depression, nothing to be unhappy about and life is lived free of fear, doubt and worry.
Speaking as a man who has, in the past, experienced depression to the point of strong suicidal thoughts and feelings I can assure you that I am writing this from a place of honesty and truth. I no longer have those tendencies and I am no longer depressed because I am now much more ‘real’ than I used to be.
So what am I saying? I’m saying that in my experience depression is an illusion, which means that it isn’t real, but that ‘problematic thinking’ makes us ‘think’ that it is. The question I’m now asking you is, “What happens to the mind that does NOT suffer from discursive and/or problematic thinking?” Do you ‘think’ it vegetates? Or is it at ‘Peace?’ If it is at ‘Peace’, and my experience is exactly that, then why is it at peace? In my experience it is at peace because the thinking mind has reached a point of ‘stillness’ where there is no ‘discursive’ or aimless and unwanted thinking taking place. And yet the mind is still capable of being brightly lit (illumined), fully alert and intelligently present. It certainly does not vegetate. On the contrary it sees things as they are, with clarity of perception, rather than through a filter of old worn out attitudes, beliefs and dimly lit opinions.
If you are in a depressed condition then my only advice to you would be to begin the process of reconnecting with your reality, with your real ‘I’, which is the natural state of being, one that is free of psychological and emotional pain, misery, suffering and unhappiness. Not many are willing to go through this process because it is not an easy thing to undertake and see through to its conclusion (it’s far easier to take Prozac, sit back and complain) but the rewards of going through this process of reconnecting fully with a deeper reality far outweigh the difficulties involved.
There are many methods available to those individuals who are looking to free themselves of depression, fear, doubt, worry or any other forms of psychological and emotional pain, misery, suffering and/or unhappiness. I wholeheartedly recommend the following:
- Meditation; although there are many forms of meditation, and some are not true meditation at all, most are very helpful.
- Yoga. I practiced different forms of yoga for many years.
- Tai Chi and Qi Gong. All these eastern forms can be very beneficial. I found they helped me to get my body moving gently when I felt too depressed to get going physically.
- Running; The Zen of going out for a run and just resting ones attention/focus on the rhythm and flow of physical movement.
- Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). A method that helps to unblock psychological and emotional energy from the past so that you can be ‘fresh and new’ in the present. It is highly effective, I have had great personal results using this method and I am a qualified practitioner.
If I could recommend only one method/technique capable of lifting someone out of depression then EFT would be it, but I would couple it to a form of meditation that aims to bring the ‘attention’ of the individual into a state of present moment awareness.
The aim of all these techniques is to bring your attention into the present moment. These varied methods achieve that end by bringing your attention into your physical body and then deeper into the mind and psyche to a point of pure and clear perception where all discursive and unnecessary thought and emotional unhappiness ends.
Where there is no aimless or problematic thinking there is no emotional unhappiness and that is the end of depression. Getting to that point is the difficult part, it takes a burning desire to break free from the stranglehold that depression and/or unhappiness has over you. You have to want to do it because you’ve reached a point where enough is enough. It would be unfair to say that only the strong willed can survive the process because EFT (for example) has helped many people who are clinically depressed. I use this technique every day, anyone can use it, it beats opening another bottle of beer or wine and it is a great way to get off prescribed drugs.
And Finally . . .
An alcoholic said to the Master:
"What would spirituality give me"?
"Nonalcoholic intoxication", was the answer.