Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ask Parvati 25: Depression and Despair - Part 3: Beyond The Veil And Into The Cave


(Continued from Witnessing Despair)

Depression is like a dark, heavy veil that masks our ability to see the light. Whether or not it is clinical, it is due to a change in the chemistry in our brain. But what is the source of that chemical change? There is nothing in this life that is purely physical that is not also connected to the unseen in some way. We are not strictly physical beings that are unaffected by emotions, thoughts and spiritual laws. The field of pure consciousness always is. We may see ourselves as separate, but we are always held within the whole.

When we are depressed, unlike despair, we have temporarily lost our desire to engage the world. But perhaps that is ok. Unlike despair that calls for understanding and release, depression can be a cue to go deeper. When we meet depression with a sense of attention and kindness, without judgment, we may find that we are being invited by our soul to go within, to enter the cave of our hidden mysteries. We live busy and often disconnected lives. Easily caught up in what others think, how we appear in society, how others look in the media, we can lose touch with our own, unique inner voice. Depression just may be calling us to go within.

Our personal health, just like the universe as a whole, moves to sustain balance. When we have expressed too much outward energy, we are drawn to move more inward. If we remain too inward, we must also move out. Depression may be a cue that we need to regain balance and adjust our inner and outer relationship.

It is good to create some discipline in your life, a little bit like cave housecleaning. Doing inner work is essential in depression. Going inward to ask yourself questions, to get to know yourself better, to make friends with your soul are essential to releasing the energy trapped in the feeling of stagnant depression.

At the same time, go for daily walks, even just for five minutes. If you already do that, go to the gym or join a fitness class. But keep your very important inner work alive. Invite the wisdom of depression into your life. It just might be your soul trying to get your attention, saying that you need to make some changes in your life.

When we take this gentler, more internal and inquisitive approach to depression, it is healthy to also maintain certain external activity, to help keep a balanced state of consciousness. If you tend to have more of an extroverted life, then book time with a therapist where you can be supported to go inward. Start journal writing where you can express your deepest feelings and freely explore your internal landscape. Regularly take a bath and treat yourself to the nurturing, cave-like warmth with the addition of some Epsom salts for relaxation, and fragrant essential oils to soothe and inspire, like bergamot, lemon or rose.

Most of all, when you feel depressed, make friends with yourself by getting to know what you are really feeling. Avoid medicating with things like ice cream and cakes. That will only keep you stuck and trying to stuff down and silence your voice. Go inside in a way that feels safe for you. And do some activity. When you go within, you likely will find that you tend to beat yourself up and get down on yourself quite a bit. That is because depression usually has a connection to unexpressed anger and feelings we have not yet released.

(Continues tomorrow with Depression And Anger)




1 comment:

  1. I second the recommendation for an Epsom salt bath! And for staying away from the cake and ice cream. It can take time and practice to discern between the voice of wanting, and the voice of the body saying what it needs to take in and what it needs to express.