The Spiritual Secrets to Overcoming Depression
Written by Jafree Ozwald
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make our world.” ~Buddha
As long as we are identified with the mind, there will always be a high and a low to life. The mind will dive into the cellar, the dungeon, the garbage bin and collect many lowly ideas about itself and the way things are. Then the mind will compensate for this valley by pushing towards to the greatest heights of joy, creativity, and positivity to become inspired by those ideas which make life look rosy. The mind acts a lot like a pendulum which swings between the tallest peak lofting in the clouds, and back into the deepest darkest valley which knows no way out. The mind does this because the soul doesn’t want to miss anything, especially the hidden golden treasures that are buried in the darkest cavern of our being.
We might forget that we all signed up for this amazing adventure called life, especially when we are facing a emotionally challenging experience. Painful wounding events just happen in life, such as a break up, a death, a major loss in money, health, or loss of career or our home. All of these can trigger an emotional cataclysm, catapulting every positive and wonderful idea of who we believed we were into a bottomless crevice of sadness and despair. Whatever our greatest loss has been, it’s purpose was to create a depth inside us, so that we can truly appreciate the sky filled rainbow when the sun shines through again.
“Pain and joy are inevitable, suffering is optional.” ~ Michael Bernard Beckwith
Depression occurs when the pain we should feel from our loss, is suppressed and not welcomed as just another experience in the course of life. When we push away, and push down any unpleasant feeling long enough, we create a wall which blocks the pleasant feelings from entering as well. Depression is basically caused by a deep resistance to life. It’s an attempt to try and control life on a very deep level, which happens to the very best and the smartest people on this earth. It’s not something we can avoid if our soul has come here to learn how to transcend one of the most challenging life experiences a human can have.
The first step to getting out of this black hole going nowhere, is understanding what depression is and why it happens to us. The reason why depression continues to manifest is our unconscious resistance and avoidance to an emotional trauma from our past. This avoidance manifests in the form of being distracted, keeping perpetually busy doing this and that, which creates an even greater energy drain. If we feel we are not strong enough to deal with our pain, we may creatively compensate by turning to drugs, alcohol, TV, sex, stimulants, or food. We may say we are just enjoy life to the max by pushing every entertainment button we can find, yet deep down we can see we’re avoiding the pain that we fear facing inside. Whatever we resist, persists. The stronger the resistance, the more unable we become to find peace with the experience we are trying to avoid. If this avoidance is kept up over time, it will eventually drag both the mind and heart down the path of emotional despair, hopelessness and into a deep dark depression.
One of the greatest secrets to healing depression comes from investigating the goldmine of feelings that remain at the bottom of our deepest emotional abyss that has been covered by layers of addictions. Exploring the pain we have is not soooo unbearable when we know the real reason why it continues to remain there. The reason our pain never goes way is that it’s naturally summoning us into our spiritual core. At the core of our innermost being is where our greatest stillness, silence and absolute healing abides. This magical core of our being is where the most profound spiritual realizations occur in one’s life. When we come to realize that the greatest spiritual experience is waiting for us at the end of our darkness hour, the pain we were once avoiding suddenly becomes this greatest tantalizing mystery we can open up to explore.
All of this talk about depression can get quite depressing to say the least. Yet, when we know the secrets to handling any energy depleting monster, we will be able to look at it, talk about it, and explore it all day long and not by emotionally depleted by it. One of the greatest secrets to dealing with any emotional demon is simply learning how to face it with conscious gentle kindness. When we approach it with this tactic, we can slowly pull off all the masks that it’s wearing.
Depression can seem to hide from us in a variety of ways, yet ultimately we are the ones hiding from it. The reason is because we don’t want to revisit that wounded part of ourselves who feels attacked, scared, or simply wants to hang out with you in a safe place all day long. This wound is not trying to bring you more pain, its only trying to soften the ego so that you relax deeper into your true self and find out who you truly are. When we know this wound within is only needing more tenderness, patience and love, we aren’t so quick to run the other direction and instead can meet it with a gentle curiosity. This gentle love changes everything and is the catalyst that summons in the greatest healing force that there is.
If any level of depression has been pulling you down in life, just stop and ask yourself one honest question, “What is that one thing you are holding onto and cannot let go of?” Find out your most honest answer to this conundrum and you’ll discover the key to relieving yourself from a future visit to the psychotherapy clinic. There is always a deeper meaning behind every challenging life experience. The bigger the experience is in life, the greater the meaning and purpose it has. The purpose of depression is always to push us deeper down beyond our mind into the spiritual aspect of ourselves. This is so that we surrender, let go of life, and truly learn how to relax into our journey home. Depression is teaching us in a backwards sort of way how to trust life, and do a complete free fall into ourselves. If we don’t learn to relax in life, the negative complaining mindset will simply eat away at us, and bury a hole in our emotional body until we surrender and learn to trust in something greater than ourselves.
“The secret of happiness lies in the mind’s release from worldly ties.” ~Buddha
Another secret to dealing with depression is understanding that everyone and everything in life has a dark and light side. We wouldn’t know what night was unless we had day light, and there would be no long dark tunnel unless we were carving our way through a great mountain. Facing our darkness is not the end of us, but simply the dawn of a new beginning. Once we let go and trust depression, allowing it to plummet us into the deepest core of our being, we will soon find the source of true emptiness and actually become free. This is an emptiness that is not lacking anything, it is emptiness that is free from all great and lowly ideas about who we are, and who we are not. It is the greatest void that has been avoided by the western world out of fear, thinking we could never find a way through it. The great irony here is that there was nobody home in the first place to make it through the void.
Now this may seem quite confusing at first, yet the mixed bag of ideas we’ve clung to about who are and who we are not, are simply a mixed bag of ideas. The sum total of all the ideas we have about ourselves doesn’t equate to who we are. The ideas we’ve become identified with is what we call our ego, and is not who we truly are. The real essence and eternal fire of awareness from our soul is what we truly are. All the ideas about who we are will come and they will go, they are not the truth of who we are.
Finding out who we is the essential key to transcending depression. To start this self inquiry journey ask yourself this question. Which ideas do you most cling to and why? When you take a closer look at what ideas you cling to and start to see who is doing all the clinging, you’ll discover the ego. The ego here is not really real, it has the reality and sustenance of a shadow. Does a shadow really exist, or is it merely the absence of the Light?
“See the perfection in the seeming imperfection that seems to be.” ~ Lester Levinson
A good analogy to use is that our awareness is like sunlight, and our mind is like a microscope which zooms in on whatever our awareness is shining upon. When we get stuck in a depression, the mind is simply caught in the habit of zooming on something we don’t want to look at. We may be aware that we are focusing upon something we don’t want, yet don’t know that we have the power to redirect the mind towards the ideas we want to think about.
To take back your power simply takes practice. Just notice throughout your day, is your mind focusing on what it wants or what it doesn’t want? Just notice, it’s really that simple. Depression cannot continue when the mind is deeply aware of itself, and then regains the ability to focus on what it wants. This shift in focus can only occur when we know who we are, that we are the pure light of awareness. With awareness we can see when we’re caught in the mind’s habit of resisting feelings and thoughts, instead of focusing on the feelings and thoughts that our heart truly yearns to have.
Truly finding freedom from depression and transcending the sadness habit occurs when we release all over-identification with the mind. This means we completely let go all assumptions we’ve made thus far about ourselves, good and bad. When we see all the ideas we’ve believed to be true about ourselves, we catapult our potentiality naturally into an extremely positive and empowering direction. This leap into positivity simply happens on it’s own accord. When we discover the lie we’ve living, we naturally become joyous, excited about living life again, and feel eager to greet each new day as the great adventure it is. We explore every little thing on our inner and outer world with an open child-like curiosity. We no longer live in fear of meeting any part of ourselves, and are courageous enough to remove any masks in the way from knowing this truly alive and radiant authentic being we actually are.
My invitation for you this week is to be rebellious with yourself, and take the time to question your reality and everything you’ve believed to be real. Use your laser like awareness to cut through to the core of all of your emotional compost, and discover the burning truth of who you actually are. When you do this, you’ll find that no depression can linger inside. The fire of awareness will shine through all the shadows the mind was running from before. When you look within with compassion and curiosity, you will see that YOU are the Source of Awareness, who is all encompassing and truly beyond anything that is remotely depressing.
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