During the past month three of my close friends have been battling depression. For them, this is unusual and not their normal state. During these trying times we are seeing a pandemic of depression.
What causes Depression
Depression can be brought on by a specific event, abuse, medications, illness, substance abuse or conflict. Maybe we lose a job, lose a relationship, experience the death of a loved one, contract an illness. These have the effect of making duality dominate. When we feel chaos, powerlessness and lack of control, our survival mode kicks in and we remove ourselves internally. We isolate and distract to feel safe. Our mind becomes captured by events and memories and our mind spins. When we pull into ourselves like this, we disassociate and become non-attached.
There are two kinds of non-attachment; one that produces depression and one that produces an enlightened state. The non-attachment that produces depression occurs when we are bombarded with events and our mind gets caught in the pairs of opposites. Life feels chaotic causing us to experience a state of suspension. Suspension is when a battle exists between right and wrong, good and evil, and we don’t know what to do or who to believe. We feel powerless. In that state we feel disconnected to truth, to our foundation, to our power and we feel hopeless. The non-attachment that produces enlightenment occurs when we realize our Self, are fully empowered by its energy, and when pure consciousness is dominant allowing us to become the witness of action and non-attached to outcomes.
We are taught right and wrong. We form expectations that if we act rightly, we will thrive. We will go to heaven. We will receive the reward. But the world is a dynamic whirl-wind of opposites, filled with ups and downs. When we become attached to these ups and downs and lose the connection to the unchanging foundation of pure consciousness within, we become dominated by the whirl-wind and lose the equanimity, joy and stability knowing the Self provides. Instead of life feeling like bliss, life becomes an onslaught. Our expectations crumble. We feel attacked, unstable, alone, disconnected and lost in the duality of the pairs of opposites. We are neither receiving the reward nor are we thriving. In this situation we become suspended, we isolate and we become mentally absorbed in our situation. We get sad.
What ends depression
There are standard treatments for depression. Drugs can balance genetic predisposition to depression and drugs can treat symptoms. Things like healthy routines, sleep, exercise, food and friends can naturally support us. From a spiritual point of view, depression is caused by self-cherishing. Self-cherishing occurs when we become withdrawn, powerless and self-absorbed. Life become about me, my and mine. This is a state of survival, isolation and separation. There are two solutions to depression from a spiritual perspective. Do something for someone else and develop compassion. There are two aspects to compassion. Love the other and understand the suffering of the other. These spiritual solutions all involve breaking out of our self-absorbed, self-cherishing tendencies.