It’s important to distinguish between Clinical Depression and mild or moderate depression. The former is a serious medical condition which this article does not cover. The NHS offers information and help for those with clinical depression. The aim of this post is to focus on the mild or moderate depression directly linked to a hole in the soul or a spiritual emptiness.
Nearly all of us will experience mild or moderate depression at some point in our lives. In today’s fast paced society it is not unusual that the pressure/stress of living can impact on us negatively at some stage in our life. Relationships, security and finances can cause stress and anxiety which can lead to experiencing a low-mood. With a change of diet, exercise, and time, these low-mood phases usually pass. It’s not unusual to go through phases in life where you are seemingly simply treading water emotionally, or feeling like your mojo has disappeared.
Persistent Low Mood Or Mild Depression
If a mild or moderate depression persists over an extended period of time then we need to look a little deeper at our lives and the cause of our depression. It may be that we are stuck in a dysfunctional relationship, or in a job that we hate. We may have to take action for our low-mood / lack of motivation to leave us. If this is the case simply waiting for it to pass will not be enough. At some point we will have to face the fear and make the changes necessary to remove the things that are blocking our happiness. For some people the fear of change is so great that they choose to settle for living in a state of inner misery, plodding on till the end. I can understand this, especially when someone does not have faith in something other than themselves. A lack of faith, that something is looking after them, would make the fear of change 10 x bigger. Even a faith that, as Einstein said the universe is a friendly one, can be enough to give a person the courage to make changes that seem scary but are needed if the person wants to feel better in themselves and about their lives.
Meditation Can Help To Alleviate Mild Or Moderate Depression
There is also the depression or low-mood caused by the spiritual void within. This type of depression grows from a slight nagging dis-ease into a mild or moderate depression that can consume us. We lose contentment, motivation, satisfaction and most of all we lose hope. When this latter symptom occurs it can feel like the final nail in the coffin. Hopelessness is a devastating state of being that breeds despair and isolation and one which exasperates our depression. At this stage we cannot see the wood for the trees, we become victims crushed under the weight of our low-mood.
Medical, Scientific and Spiritual Communities Agree
The one area the medical, scientific and spiritual communities come together is in their agreement that meditation is a strong tool for tackling mild or moderate depression. Most of the focus from these communities is on Mindfulness Meditation which helps the person focus. By focusing on breathing, physical feeling and senses mindfulness meditation calms the mind and trains the mind to focus on the present. At the very least all people who are suffering from mild or moderate depression should try this form of meditation daily and/or throughout the day. By bringing your mind into the here-and-now, and in alignment with your body the dark, hopeless and angry thought patterns slowly dissipate. This is because you are steering your mind instead of allowing it to drift on the sea of thoughts without a captain.
Mindfulness Meditation With A Twist
Personally I have found that by adding an extra dimension to mindfulness meditation we can increase the power and effect of practising meditation as a tool to elevate our life-mood. We practice meditation as normal adding 5-20 minutes a day, usually in the morning. We allow the mind to settle as we focus on our breathing and sensory surroundings such as our physical bodies and external sounds.Then in addition to this we allow ourselves to notice the energy of life in our bodies, the air, the sounds of traffic, humans, birds and the universe as a whole. When we breathe we breathe in this energy. In just adding the slight addition to noticing life as a power source with energy we become open to a new higher power, spirit of the universe, nature or whatever you feel comfortable in naming it
Loss Of Hope
One of the worst symptoms of mild or moderate depression is hopelessness. Once we can start to feel hope we immediately start to feel better about ourselves and our life. Our mental attitude becomes a little more positive. Generating hope from simply becoming aware of one’s own body and surrounding is practically impossible. Mindfulness meditation is great for helping the mind focus but it will not introduce hope into our lives. Without hope we are lost to an endless existence of quiet despair. By allowing ourselves to become open to the possibility of a power source that can and will help us, in itself gives us a little hope, however slim at first. The only requirement is the tiniest of shifts from a closed mind to an open mind even if it’s open by just the slightest of cracks. The nature and description of this new power is purely personal to you, it can be as simple as Einstein’s belief in the friendliness of the universe, the power of nature or something else.
Sometimes we can suffer from low-mood depression that is a direct result from our spiritual disconnection from a higher power, the spirit of the universe, God or whatever. This type of spiritual depression grows and persists no matter what we achieve and secure in life. It’s like a constant nagging dis-ease that won’t go away and gets stronger the longer we deny it. This type of spiritual depression cannot be solved by exercise and healthy living. It’s not a physical and/or external based depression. While a healthy lifestyle or antidepressants may alleviate some of the symptoms it will not cure the cause.
Connecting to a Higher Power is the only solution for spiritual depression. The soul is yearning for the sunlight of the spirit. Once connected a new source of power flows in and energises the human with new strength and hope. This invigorating power lights us up from the centre of our beings and the great thing is it requires no conforming to religious beliefs or practises. It only requires our willingness to connect to it.