Friday, March 02, 2012

Could depression be a good thing? By Marlyse Carroll

By Marlyse Carroll

This notion sounds improbable, does it not? But could it be true that depression, in a number of cases, is a blessing in disguise?

The label 'depression ' covers three different inner experiences:

- Reactive depression, which is fired by a distressing life event
- Endogenous depression, which happens as a result of physical challenges like illness, lack of exposure to sunlight, shortage of necessary nutrient elements, or drug use for example.
- Spiritual depression , which reflects the pain of feeling disconnected from The Force - to use Star Wars ' language.

Current Australian medical statistical data let us know that depressive sickness - the dreadful, long-term version of a depressive episode - does at some time interrupt the life of 20% of the populace.

Irrespective of the cause, this condition is agonizing and can have a major effect on our relationships, health and ability to work.

So from a medical perspective, depression is best avoided at any price. And since psychiatry doesn't distinguish between causes, it treats them all with the same label - clinical depression - and the same tools - psychotropic drugs.

Yet, the diagnosis and result of a spiritual depression is very different to the other two.

The 'dark night of the soul ' is a wake up call in our journey of personal evolution. It tells us that we're missing something essential to our wellbeing. Something that our soul is crying for - a conscious connection to spirituality. As such, this crisis represents a landmark for expansion, not a sign of psychological sickness.

This is why successful and well adjusted individuals can also experience thoughts of depression. They may have achieved everything they wanted from a material point of view and yet they suffer. They feel alone, miserable and disconnected. As their successes appear meaningless, they might ask themselves "Am I going mad?"

Many folks in that situation attempt to fill their inner emptiness with external stimuli. World travels, a flash new auto or multiple affairs can become temporary band aids. Others try to suppress their uncomfortable feelings with overwork, booze or substances.

Obviously not one of the above resolves their problem. What they really need at this point is an epiphany. They need to consciously connect to their spiritual nature and begin to live appropriately.

Spirituality isn't religion. It's a wider perspective of life that expands our consciousness outside the material world and its mundane concerns. In time, it moves us from 'What's in it for me? ' to 'How can I be of service? '

So spiritual depression benefits from an expanded awareness of who we are and our place in the universe. Not a suppression of consciousness thru medical drugs. According to Dr John E. Nelson (holistic psychiatric doctor and author of the book 'Healing the Split'), pharmaceuticals crystalise an existential crisis, they never resolve it.

This is the reason why 'May the Force be with you" is such a beautiful greeting!

As the Force is the life energy that maintains the whole Universe. The zero point field that physicists study. The Web of Indra discovered by ancient Eastern traditions.

And once we recognize its existence, we will reconnect to that power and fill our existential void. Which in its turn heals spiritual depression.

So how can we connect to the Force?

Three steps are needed:

- The first one involves going inside through regular meditation or prayer. Joining a meditation group is usually useful.
- The second step is an intellectual one. Reading good spiritual books, including books on spiritual crises, helps facilitate integration. As is speaking with a transpersonal counsellor or therapist.
- And the 3rd step is to apply spiritual values and be of service. In any fashion we are able to.

And shortly enough, depressive feelings disappear. Joy and energy return. We have gone through our dark night of the soul. We have had the bravery to face our monsters. And finally we come out the other side.

Are we the same as before? No, far from it. We're now spiritually awake, stronger and wiser. And our rewards are improved emotional intelligence, physical wellbeing and spiritual awareness

So as a wake up call, spiritual depression really is a blessing - as long as it is handled in appropriate ways.

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