Although an understanding of brain chemistry and of neuro-transmitters are among the more popular views today concerning the origin of depression, the energy of our spiritual self influences the way in which neuro-transmitters work or do not work.
There are many views today regarding the source of depression, those that involve an understanding of brain chemistry and of neuro-transmitters being among the more popular. Yet, there remains a vast gap between the current way of treating depression as an entity – clinically, chemically, and in terms of the body – and the way of treating depression as an energy related to consciousness. This energy moves from the energy bodies that each human being contains into the physical layer of our being, thus affecting our brain chemistry. The energy of our larger, spiritual self significantly influences the way in which brain chemistry and neuro-transmitters work, and when changes are made to the flow or current, these can selectively improve the situation so that a new balance within the brain is achieved.
To see depression as related to consciousness (that is, to the multi-level awareness of different parts of our being), is not as simple as saying if one thinks thoughts that are positive, then depression will vanish. It is more of a way of saying that the vital energy that surrounds the body and that infuses the body at all times is itself infused by the higher vibrations of light that sustain the physical level of who we are. When these higher vibrations are depleted, or when energy is blocked along channels that transfer fuel and sustenance to the cells of our body and to the brain cells in particular, then depression or any one of a number of other ‘syndromes’ can result.
In order to investigate this line of healing further, it is necessary to have an openness to understanding the spiritual dimensions of life and of our individual construction as spiritual beings. The fundamental premise of this perspective is that the physical layer of our being which gives rise to symptoms is itself governed by energy, and energy is governed by consciousness. To put it slightly differently: consciousness gives rise to energy, and energy gives rise to physical functioning and patterning within the human body.
Why is it important to know this? Because all of suffering has a purpose, including the pain of depression. Every pain that we feel, every heartache that we are familiar with, is here as a teacher. For this reason, though we can desire to make ourselves more comfortable and more functional through the application of physical forms of treatment to physical problems, the underlying cause of depression will not be addressed this way; only the symptoms will be temporarily suspended or removed. This does not mean that these symptoms will return within a given lifetime. But without an alteration in consciousness they will eventually return, because the need for learning on a soul-level is the primary need, and because the symptoms of depression are purposeful and are meant to lead us in a new direction.
Though addressing depression physically will more likely have a quicker, more noticeable effect than holding depressive thoughts, feelings, and bodily experiences within a spiritual perspective, it is the latter which can create more permanent healing. This is not a reason to avoid physical forms of intervention, for these are needed and useful in many cases. But it is a reason to see beyond these forms to the broader issues involved, even while appreciating the holding and stabilizing process that modern and traditional medicine both make available – allowing us to regain enough balance, strength, and stability so that we can pursue the deeper question of what depression is really about.
Although we generally experience symptoms of depression as primarily physical and emotional, their essential core may lie in something that cannot be seen that is of a spiritual nature, namely, the relative absence of the energy of light. When missing, the absence of light can feel like the sun covered over for long periods of time by dark clouds, causing a sense of yearning for warmth and radiance and in some, a sense of depletion and fatigue. This yearning can be completely unknown to the one experiencing it who may only feel the result of what is missing, not the cause.
Light of a higher vibration than physical light is a spiritual energy – part of the energy of Creation. This light has been with us since the beginning, referred to in the Book of Genesis as the primary utterance – “let there be light.” When translated onto the physical level, it becomes a powerful force for healing and change, helping all beings to evolve and human beings to transcend the limitations of darkness that they may have carried for a very long time. In many instances, thoughts, feelings, and physical symptoms associated with depression are each influenced by the absence or presence of spiritual light which both supports and regulates a flow of energy to the brain and to other organs, enhancing and maintaining their many functions.
Often, a soul may be hungry for light and not know what it is that they are hungry for. Frequently, this hunger feels formless and nameless, occurring only in relation to the feeling that there is something missing – a place of emptiness that cannot be filled. Those who are more behaviorally-focused may point to activities of a more meaningful kind that could help with this emptiness including work and relationships with others, and this is frequently true: such activities often help. However, sometimes the soul that is hungry finds that nothing will do – that no activity, no work, and no relationship can make a difference in terms of what the inner self is actually seeking. The emptiness feels beyond that.
The hunger of the soul for light, especially when the language of spirituality has not been acquired fully, can be both painful and confusing. A person can feel lost, misunderstood, out of place, with a sense of not belonging anywhere. In fact, without the spiritual underpinnings anchored in awareness, it can feel like one doesn’t even belong to oneself. Then, there is a kind of gray pallor that is cast over existence as one goes through the motions of living, with the feeling that everything should be alright, but isn’t. This nameless thing that it is possible to long for involves a hunger at the deepest level. It is both a hunger for spiritual connection – for a relationship with the universe in which there is a sense of belonging and home. It is also a hunger of the body to be filled with light and a recognition, usually beyond words, that we suffer from a sense of depletion. This hunger of the body can occur more powerfully in those who have been exposed to great spiritual light previously, often in other lifetimes. Where this exposure has created a living, embodied experience of connection with God and with the higher realms, one who has lost this connection often feels a mysterious and poignant sense of emptiness.
There is no instant remedy for this situation, for things of the spirit for the most part do not happen instantly. But they can happen in a relatively short span of time, once it is recognized that it is light that is longed for, and once the search begins for an adequate way of providing it.
To initiate our search, we can begin by praying in a simple way for spiritual nourishment. Even if prayer has not been habitual or even desired within our life, a simple kind of asking to be led in the direction of healing and light can open doors of awareness. Simultaneously, we can be on the lookout for conversations, books, people, and unexpected situations that let both heart and body know that we are happier – that we feel more alive. For it is the feeling of greater aliveness that often signals the presence of increased light. In the embrace of light, we feel held, nourished, uplifted, and loved. This upliftment fills the empty places within us that have waited for so long to be filled. It allows our heart to touch its deepest essence and core – the Divine nature at the very center of our being.
The situation of being permeable to energies that belong to the world’s condition is everpresent. We are never immune to the impact of what surrounds us as a spiritual atmosphere and what we live within. What this knowledge can do is to help us separate just a little more from the feelings of despair, sadness, grief, or emptiness that we think of as belonging to us alone, and to know that they are not entirely ours.
The line between self and world tends to be one that we perceive as clear and definable, generally having to do with what is inside and outside of our skin. As a result, when we feel things strongly, we tend to assume that these are our feelings that we are experiencing – our pain, our joy, our loss, our grief, our anger, our hope. It is what living within a separate body gives rise to as a view of reality, namely, that what is inside our skin belongs to who we are. We would have no way of knowing that this is an illusion until the skin becomes more porous, both literally and metaphorically, and the heart begins to know with greater sureness that all is one. At such a point, it begins to make more sense to us that what is felt on the inside as an emotion can arise on the outside as a wave or current of energy that affects a great many people, sometimes the entire world. Yet, even before this point is reached, we can seek to understand such things in order to better appreciate both the condition the world is in, as well as the condition that our own emotions are in.
The world is held within a band of interactive energies that surround the earth in an invisible spiritual atmosphere. Many of these energies resonate with particular emotions such as despair, rage, grief, fear, loneliness, anxiety, and so on. There are also positive energies contained in the energetic atmosphere, but at times when darkness is strong, as it is currently upon the earth, these positive, light-filled energies can get covered over by the intensity of the negative ones. While this doesn’t mean that the light disappears, it means that we often have less access to it. As a result, when there is a choice within our own lives to sink deeper into something that is painful or to step out of it, it becomes harder for us to do the latter. Similarly, when a choice exists regarding how to view a situation, person, relationship, or event, a heart influenced by the current energetic atmosphere is likely to feel less open, more angry, more despairing, with less possibility for forgiveness, love, and trust, even while the heart may simultaneously be seeking these. The opposite, of course, is also true. Because light is only covered over by darkness and is not extinguished by it, if we were to reach for it, if we were able to separate from the darkness and seek that which we know lives beneath it, our hearts would feel uplifted and much more would be possible.
The situation of being permeable to energies that belong to the world’s condition is everpresent. We are never immune to the impact of what surrounds us as a spiritual atmosphere and what we live within. What this knowledge can do is to help us separate just a little more from the feelings of despair, sadness, grief, or emptiness that we think of as belonging to us alone, and to know that though we are carrying these feelings within us, they are not entirely ours. They are partly ours, for our own inner state draws to us that which is similar to it. But they do not entirely emanate from within.
With the possibility of greater space occurring between us and the things we feel, we become better able to notice our feelings without becoming quite so involved with them. Depression often has a strong effect on the body and because of this, despite our wishes, it is not likely that the bodily sensations themselves will completely disappear, simply as a result of our spiritual knowing. However, such knowledge can make us more tolerant, stronger, and more detached from both bodily sensations and emotions themselves as we recognize: “what I feel is not me. A part of what I am feeling is me, but the rest is not.” Such an understanding can create hope that there might be another way to feel, indeed, that an alternative can be found to hopelessness, sorrow, emptiness, and despair for ourselves and for the world as well. While we cannot, in the moment, heal the world in its entirety, we can help do this on a smaller scale by bringing our own self out of the depths that we may have fallen into. Through separating to a greater degree from difficult emotions, we can return more easily to a place of light and spaciousness, the place in which Spirit dwells.
It would be well to look at all forms of depression, especially those of greater intensity, as a spiritual crisis in their underpinnings, for though they may show no positive movement or direction on the mental or emotional levels, on the level of spirit and soul a question is being asked and a question is being answered all of the time, namely, ‘what is this life about, what is its value, and what am I doing in it’?
If it can be said that there is wisdom to be gained through hardship or suffering that we would not freely choose, then it can also be said that there is deep learning and truth to be gained through the experience of depression in all its many forms . As with all experiences that are painful and that create limitation, the deeper self or soul can bring out of this, something valuable for the heart and for the spirit. Though this may not immediately be apparent to the self in the midst of pain, grief, or sorrow, what has limitation on the one side, offers the possibility for learning and for greater life on the other.
This paradox is hard for the human self to grasp, because the human response to suffering is to want it to end, and the human heart cannot help but believe that what feels bad – what deprives it of joy, love, meaning, hope, and energy – cannot be the source of something good. However, the perceptions of the soul and the choices that the soul makes during a time of pain or limitation are invisible, and everything depends upon the choices that are made.
For example, it is possible, as a result of feeling disconnected from joy or meaning in life, to begin to seek that joy with a fuller heart, to value life more, to hope for the possibility of experiencing one clear and pure sunlit day without the cloud of sorrow on the mind or in the heart. It is possible in the presence of aloneness or isolation to feel the heart longing more for love and connection. And it is possible to feel, in the presence of the wish to die, an even greater wish to live. These are the choices of the soul. In fact, they are more ‘orientations’ than choices, and they turn the inner self in the direction of pursuing the fulfillment that is needed and toward new possibilities for growth. In this sense, though depression may be a ‘dark night of the soul’ which we would not choose and in which it may appear that every light has gone out, the soul, within its own domain, continues to support the seeking of that light and continues to radiate light toward the self that suffers and struggles. For this reason, it would be well to look at all forms of depression as a spiritual crisis in its underpinnings, for although no positive movement may be visible on the mental or emotional levels, on the level of spirit and soul a question is being asked and a question is being answered all of the time, namely, ‘what is this life about, what is its value, and what am I doing in it’?
Whether flooded with feelings, or numb and experiencing merely a sense of deadness, on the level of the soul a groping movement is taking place during this dark and painful night – a search for a way toward the light that is, for the moment, invisible. In the blackness, there is a sharpening of vision as one seeks the promise of this light and pursues the elusive hope of an end to darkness. Even on the conscious level, where everything may feel quite bleak, there is often a reaching out toward that which may have seemed impossibly far away before, namely, to the awareness, however tentative, of our Divine and holy self, the center of our spiritual being.
For those for whom the higher self or soul remains a hypothesis rather than a reality, this type of understanding will seem invented. However, this, too, is a choice that the inner self must make – whether to adhere to a perspective which emphasizes indifference, loss, randomness, deprivation, and lack in life, or to believe that at all times there is a purpose behind the manifestation of what life brings to us, and that this purpose, when found, can become the springboard to a new and more vital sense of ourselves and of life.
The capacity of darkness to create a ‘cover’ over light is what creates the sense of emptiness or lack that is so intrinsic to depression. Though light always remains present within each individual being, darkness obscures the inner connection with the heart and with the source of being so that this light cannot be felt.
The origin of depression may not be visible at all on an outer level where wealth, family, relationships, and success may all be in place and operating as signs and symbols of a successful life. Yet on an inner level, the inner being can feel bereft of that which feels necessary to life. It is this sense of being bereft – of having lost, mislaid, or had taken away that which was the source of hope and of vitality – that gives rise to depression. This is not to say that there is not a biochemical component to the picture as well. Only, that biochemistry is influenced by the underlying state of consciousness and the energy that it creates, even more than consciousness is influenced by biochemistry. (see: “A Spiritual View of Depression,” and “A Spiritual View of Depression: The Hunger for Light”)
The consciousness that underlies depression has become more widespread today. At the root of this phenomenon is the presence of purification on both individual and global levels. Whether applying to an individual or to the earth itself, it is this force, more than any other, that is behind the manifestation, today, of the ‘darkness that covers the light’. Purification is based on the greater presence of spiritual light which separates light from darkness, bringing all that is not light into awareness for purposes of release and healing.
Global purification brings to the fore what has previously lain dormant within collective consciousness that is not of the light. It does the same within individuals. In this way, anger, hate, cruelty and fear can be felt more acutely within the consciousness of many, as can the sense of inner emptiness and loss. It is particularly in relation to the latter that we see an upsurge of depressive feeling-states today, and a growing number of requests for help. On a large scale, the feeling of inner lack is being brought to the foreground so that it may be directly addressed and healed. That this is true is both the discomfort of purification and also its promise – a promise which seeks to liberate humanity from darkness, yet which, in the process, requires of us that we experience what has formerly been kept hidden. In relation to depression, at its root is often the feeling of separation, lack, or void, and a sense of helplessness in relation to filling this void. This is the underlying consciousness that manifests as sorrow, hopelessness, despair, numbness, and withdrawal. The emptiness is felt by the deeper self that is hungry for light and truth – that is hungry for a source of meaning – that is hungry for a source of light to banish the darkness within the self and within the world. Both upon the earth and within individuals, this darkness is very prominent now, and it gives rise much more quickly to feelings of depression than in times past.
The capacity of darkness to create a ‘cover’ over light is what creates the sense of void or emptiness. Though light always remains present within each individual being, darkness obscures the inner connection with the heart and with the source of being so that this light cannot be felt. It also effectively creates a shallowness of perception in which nothing may seem quite real, and nothing that is joyful can touch or impact the self in a deep way.
In contrast to the above, and in the presence of darkness, there is also a growing presence of light arising, emerging from beneath the covering and pushing its way through the layers of darkness as it strives to reach awareness. This light is increasingly infusing the physical plane and has a direct effect on each human body that is present on the earth. Though at first it may appear to bring into awareness that which is lacking, it also brings with it a way through the lack, toward hope and toward the light of being – toward the recognition of one’s God-self that is the core level of each and every child of God. This core is both an identity and a source of love and joy.
Though the light that shines in the darkness may be invisible for the moment, it is nevertheless doing its work so that the covering of darkness can lift and the true measure of who one is and what life is can be perceived. In relation to this light, its presence cannot be undone. Its arrival cannot be prevented. It is a matter of waiting during this difficult period for the light to arrive more fully, and in the meantime, of anchoring the heart in the Source of light so that even under cover of darkness, its gifts and blessings may be received most abundantly.
Living With the Unknown
Everywhere in life, things are moving, relationships are changing, disappointments are happening, letting go is required, and the sense of the unknown exists as an everpresent companion to each step that we take. Knowing that there is a part of the self that is untouched by the circumstances of one’s life and that that part of the self is accessible, is a reason to strive to reach it, to search in every way possible for the path to find it.
There is never a time in life when things are not changing – when one view of reality does not give way before another, or one person whom we are connected with or another does not go through a shift that changes them, or a situation we find ourselves in turns out not to be what we expected it to be. There is no time of pause in life’s ceaseless flow, however it may appear on the surface of things For even in the quiet times of peace, things that are of the future are being prepared, and the end of one phase is already on the horizon, waiting for the next phase to begin. This is the nature of life’s ceaseless movement, and it is part of wisdom to learn how to move with it.
Ordinarily, when change that comes into view is positive, valuable, hoped for, and appreciated, there is little thought given to what will happen next because the immediacy of the delight, pleasure, or comfort taken in what is, is what we seek to immerse ourselves in. But when change brings with it illness, or loss, or limitation, or helplessness, or an end to what may have appeared to be a hoped-for possibility, then the question of what comes next is very much in the foreground of consciousness, since the heart’s desire is to be free of limitation and pain, and the longing in the midst of either is always that there be a ‘next’ – a next phase, chapter, or situation in which the pain or limitation will be gone. Depression often occurs when this hoped for next chapter of life does not feel real or possible.
In the midst of flow, there is a need that beats within each human heart to find an anchorpoint, a place of steadiness that does not change, even if everything else does. This center that is changeless, that can be turned to when everything else is in flux, lives within each human being. It has been called many things, and is the feeling of an eternal Heart that beats inside – an experience of inner continuity, love, and lastingness that is ‘I Am’. This ‘I Am’ is the deeper sense of one’s existence that is ongoing, eternal, and part of something greater than oneself. It is a sense of beingness, love, purpose, knowing, that can be an anchorpoint in the sea of the unknown. Often, when one has drifted far away from this sense, it must be pursued in order to be found again, especially when adversity seems to be all around. Such a pursuit is a central reason, among others, to deepen one’s spiritual life.
‘I Am’ is the affirmation of one’s eternal being, of one’s ongoing life and existence beyond any limitation. In the face of physical disability or handicap, it is the knowing of the perfection and limitlessness of one’s deeper self. In the face of loss and the grief that follows, it is the feeling of one’s wholeness. In the face of heartache of any kind, it is the awareness that joy is still possible and love is still possible because the foundations of both love and joy are inextricably woven into life itself.
Everywhere in life, things are moving, relationships are changing, disappointments are happening, letting go is required, and the sense of the unknown exists as an everpresent companion to each step that we take. In the midst of this, there is the Eternal presence saying, I am with you, I am you. It may be that the experience of inner stability and of unconquerable hope is difficult to locate at first, since the intensity of emotion, and especially that of depression, can cover any other feeling, However, knowing that there is a part of the self that is untouched by the circumstances of one’s life and that that part of the self is accessible, is a reason to strive to reach it, to search in every way possible for the path to find it. This is the nature of spiritual seeking everywhere, and in the presence of the unknown, it is the basis for moving past fear and sorrow into a new relationship with life.
Such movement can come through the beginning of a spiritual practice whose purpose is to help locate and create an experience of this eternal center. There is no one way to go about this, for the paths to truth are many and need to correspond to a person’s own preferences and predilections. Nevertheless, the signpost that such a path is useful is the sense of upliftment and peace that it brings – the inner quiet and stability that creates a knowing of being whole and held in the midst of whatever else may be going on. No matter what feelings are present on the emotional level, there is a level beneath these feelings that remains always true, always present. To seek it with a whole heart is to pursue wisdom. To find it is to experience truth.
A SPIRITUAL VIEW OF DEPRESSION – by Julie of Light Omega