I was recently watching a documentary on the subject of depression. According to the report, depression is written in our genes. Well, I would like to give my own reflections.
Depression arises when we allow ourselves to identify with our negative thoughts. When this happens, our body chemistry is affected and we “feel depressed”. In that moment, we do not see that our ways of thinking do not come from within us. They come from our upbringing and culture, which form our ‘false personality’.
So how can we overcome depression?
First of all, we must understand that we cannot control many events that happen in our lives, including how other people speak or behave towards us. The idea is not to avoid unpleasant events, the idea is not to identify with our thoughts about them.
So, when something bad happens, try to handle it on the spot, no matter how awful it appears. It is the thinking after, the ruminating, that you must stop. How? Well, there is a short-term solution, the medicine if you like, and a long-term solution, the cure.
The mind, by its very nature, can take in only one thing at a time, one thing at any given moment. Try entering two things at once into your mind and you will see it is impossible. What we put in our minds is all down to us. For example, when you go to bed and an unpleasant thought comes to mind that prevents you from sleeping, put your mind into something else entirely. This stops you temporarily from identifying with the first thought. But this is only medicine, the unpleasant thought will come back.
By observing yourself and putting your attention on your breath, always and everywhere, you will realise something deeper: never try to sort out a problem with your mind, because you get identified with it and then it is difficult to cope. In other words, if you don’t think about a problem, there is no problem. So cut off your thinking and make yourself completely empty. This becomes easier when the muscles responsible for tension are relaxed and the breathing is regulated, which can be achieved by doing the digging exercise I describe in my book The Way to Self-Development. This is the cure.
To keep depression, stress, tension and other problems at bay, we need to change our attitude towards our lives. Instead of avoiding unpleasant or difficult situations, we welcome them for the sake of working on ourselves (‘the Work’). If every situation we encountered was pleasant, we wouldn’t have the chance to grow and we would gain nothing. So, anything that happens, any problem, is not a problem any longer. It is material for the Work. Live only for the Work.