Depression – A Spiritual Approach To Being Free of Depression
In the last few months I have received many emails from people suffering from depression. I had not planned on writing any articles here about depression but I now feel that it is a very important topic to address.
I have a great deal of experience with depression. I know it intimately. I spent 3 years in the most severe depression imaginable. Each night as I went to sleep I would pray to die before morning. Each morning I would awaken and wonder how the hell I was going to deal with another day in pain. I tried suicide but was unsuccessful. I spent a week in a psychiatric clinic and went through psychotherapy and was on different antidepressants for a period of time. Nothing helped. I could barely function in day-to-day life. I had a few friends that helped me with shopping and dealing with other personal affairs. I tried traveling but that did not help. I tried shopping until I had almost no money left and that was even more depressing. I was in a downward spiral into darkness that had no bottom.
People would tell me that I would hit bottom and then could start back up. It was obvious that those people had never been in severe depression. I knew that there was no bottom. Most people just did not understand. Even those with clinical experience. I had been a psychotherapist for many years and even I could not help myself. I had been deeply involved in spiritual studies and teaching for many years and none of that helped me either.
Then one morning I was lying in bed not wanting to get up and a thought came to me. I know intellectually that God is All and that in God there is no darkness. I know intellectually that I am one with God. So if I am one with God then there cannot be any darkness in me either. So if there cannot be any darkness in me then what the hell is this I have been experiencing for the past 3 years?
A light bulb turned on. This darkness, this depression is not me. It is not any part of me. So if this is not any part of me then what is it? The answer that came was that this was darkness itself. It was something other than me that had attached itself to me for purposes of its own. I felt something stir within me. Something good, something I had not felt for a long, long time; a glimmer of hope.
Immediately an internal dialog began. It went something like this;
“Of course I am part of you. I am your other half. We are one.”
“No, I think you are not part of me. I believe that I can be rid of you.”
“No, if you get rid of me you will die. You cannot exist without your other half. I am your friend. I am always with you. I protect you. You need me.”
“Well, I will take that chance. I would rather die without you than live with you.”
So with that I spoke out loud to it; “You are darkness. I know you now and you are not me. You are not any part of me and you never have been. You have been feeding on me. You have instilled pain and fear in me and then fed on it. You have made yourself appear so much larger than me. You have made yourself seem totally overwhelming. But you are not. You are nothing. You are a lie and the liar from the beginning. Everything you have ever done to me or said to me has been a lie. You have used my voice to speak to me but it was never me, it was you. I thought I was speaking to myself but it was you who told me that life was a dark and sad place. You filled me with feelings of being worthless and being unlovable. You lied. You are no longer welcome in or around me. You are no longer welcome in my life. Your welcome is taken back. You must leave now.”
Immediately the darkness dissolved and I felt whole again. I felt light and joyous, blissful even. I realized that I had been surrounded completely by a warm wet blanket called darkness. It had been comfortable and painful at the same time. It was all I knew. I had forgotten who and what I really was. I had forgotten what happiness felt like. But that was over now.
Then the most amazing realization came to me. This whole past 3 years of darkness had been an illusion. The one that I am, the one I felt now, had never been depressed. I had always been joy and peace all along.
I laughed and got up and started my day from that perspective.
The darkness kept trying to come back for about a year. I used the same dialog over and over again. Sometimes a hundred times a day. Finally it gave up and happiness became the norm.
It is still important even now to pay close attention to my beliefs, internal dialogs, feelings and emotions, to pay close attention to any hint of depression or darkness’ return. I still use the same basic dialog but it does change according to circumstances. There are also a number of lifestyle changes and thought processes that are helpful in getting rid of depression and keeping it gone. I have written about them in my book, Freedom From Suffering, and on my book on tape, Freedom From Depression. If there is interest I will add some of them to this blog in the future.
Please believe me when I tell you that if you are experiencing depression you can get rid of it. I promise you this. And if you need help doing so remember that you are not alone. I will help you as much as I can as will others. The depression will tell you that you are alone and that no one really cares and that nothing can help you. It is lying to you. You may not be able to see it right this moment, but there are people in your life and some you have not met yet who care and there really is an end to this depression.
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If your question is too personal in nature or you would just rather not ask it in public you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some meditations that will be helpful:
Leaving Behind the Darkness
Walking Into the Light
If you wish you can speak with me directly by setting up a private session with me at this website.
Thank you for your guidance, I treasure it deeply.
I am so very still right now.
As you always have been dear John. As you always have been.
Dissolve into that Stillness. It is safe and it is who you are.
You mention in your book Freedom From Depression, the need to dissolve the shadows, rather than sublimating them.
I feel it is of utmost importance for me to understand this, so would you be so kind as to expand on this point a little bit.
Aka my earlier post: when I made a depressive yet also enticing song about my darkness, is that what sublimation is?
If it is, then I understand how very important is not to go down that road.
Thank you in advance
Your song is an excellent exploration of your experience with depression. It is very important to see the depression/darkness from every angle. It is essential to know it and to understand it before dissolving it.
But to be free of it, it is even more important not to embrace it or sublimate it. If we do that then we will never be free of it. Depression will keep bubbling up from the depths and will eventually overwhelm us again.
See it for what it is. Know it. Then explore the idea that it is not you or any part of you. Then realize your True Identity by dissolving what you are not.
It is actually quite logical with you use deductive reasoning. But to do so you must take a leap of faith. That leap is to accept the idea that God is Light and that God is All. (You can always discard this acceptance if it does not work out).
With deductive reasoning you examine all the things that the truth is not and whatever is left must be the truth.
That concept is explored in the book.
Depression can feel like an old friend. It can feel like a warm, soft and wet blanket that comforts us. But it is actually feeding on us. Believing the story that it is an integral part of you is very tempting. Dissolving the darkness can fill us with fear of death. That is why I tell those who work with me that they must be willing to die to be free of darkness or to experience Enlightenment.
To make this easier, I will write up a meditation for this tomorrow and post it here at this blog.
One day at a time John. Breathe deeply and relax for this moment.
As promised, I have written out a meditation that I do myself every day. It is very powerful in many ways and will help you experience what you wish for.
Thank you for your answer.
I feel very much alive, right now.
I feel calm, yet full of energy.
I feel an abundance of love,
like a great white bird,
waiting to be released from it’s cage,
eager to spread it’s bright wings,
and once again soar into the sky,
through eons and eons,
through time and space
I am at the same time very much aware of
the many tasks at hand, cleaning up my act
so to speak, and bring back order into my life.
You describe them well, in your audio-book
Freedom From Depression, which I will be
wanting to work with, for quite some time.
Now, back to work….. joyous work even
Thank you and take care
Thank you so much for your article on depression.
For me personally it is a revelation and a strong beam of light, for I have experienced much darkness, so much even, that I eventually came to the conclusion, that the darkness and I were inseperable.
I used to write songs, and they would go something like this:
Will you swim with me
through my river of pain
Will you call out my name
again and again
I have dreamed and dreamed
of this thing called love
I have wondered why
there’s only hell above
I am stuffed with emotions
but the feeling is hate
I accept it now
This is my fate
Now I’m almost ready
for the other side
and before too long
Death shall be my bride
So will you swim with me
through my river of pain
Will you call out my name
again and again
You are very dear to me Jon Shore
For your unending Devotion your loving voice
For your willingness to share your own personal
feelings and thoughts on this condition, this dividing feeling, this most severe illnes in our modern socities.
For your truly uplifting conclusion
That also I, that even I
can free myself
and return to myself
Maybe I shall still
see the light
Maybe I will once again
bee the light
I am growing in your light
Thank you Jon
And godspeed to all you lightbeeings
I will join you
Greetings from Aarhus, Denmark
Yes, that darkness feels as though it is one with us, but it is not.
Play with that idea for a while. Listen carefully to what you hear. Pay close attention to what you feel.
Keep in mind; If that is not me or any part of me, then who and what am I? Feel that one and then surrender to it.