Depression And The Spiritual Journey
There are many who experience regular depressive episodes that come about as a result of the letting go that is part and parcel of the spiritual journey. Not everyone may experience spiritual depression, but for those who do, it can often be a symptom of releasing unhelpful stories and emotions that no longer serve us or match who we are becoming. In the context of the spiritual journey, depression often comes about because there is already a feeling of difference and otherness, from those who embrace mainstream thinking and doing. There is a sense of not being understood, valued or appreciated for our willingness to go deeper and look deeper. It can be demoralizing if there is no one else around to appreciate our commitment.
It is also true that allowing long-buried feelings to come up and be explored, is not always the most pleasant aspect of our commitment to seeking the unchanging truth. There is often a rejection by our egotistic nature – which wants to cling on to its victim status – to exploring events from a broader perspective.
Depression as Resistance
Any feeling of depression, in this case, is often a sign of the resistance of the ego. It is fearful of stepping into a space of greater awareness and moving into a deeper understanding. It is fearful of its own demise.
If you’ve been on your path for a period of time, you’ll have no doubt experienced the shift that comes when we let go of our stubborn resistance to releasing victimhood. The feelings of overwhelming heaviness or lethargy suddenly lift, as we step into new realizations about our situation. The speed with which this shift can happen often seems miraculous, but it is, in fact, a natural side-effect of clearer seeing.
Each time we’re willing to be a little bit more radical in our awareness and in our ability to forgive another’s seemingly unforgivable behavior, the ego’s resistance can show up as depression or emotional heaviness. Yet paradoxically, each time we deliberately choose to make this shift regardless, then we also become a little less identified. We find that we’re a little less defined by or attached to, our limiting stories and beliefs.
How Judgments Play a Role
Depressive episodes may also come up when we’re allowing others’ judgments to determine how we see ourselves. When the shift back into ‘lightness and rightness’ comes; we can observe that we have been carrying around those judgments and treating them as our truth. They are not our truth and therefore they do not sit right with us, they do not feel good to us.
If we review the thoughts that were playing out in our minds during our bout of depression; we may find that the repetitive and negative thoughts are actually the voices of our parents, or authority figures, or society in general. That conditioning may have taught us that playing by the rules, fitting in, or being approved of; are the most important things in life. If that is no longer where you are in your awareness, then constricting your expansion to try to fit in or play by the rules, will lead to feelings of depression or an eerie and heavy sadness. It is as if our very Being, is being reduced to oughts and shoulds. That will never feel good or joyful, to us.
Find Your Tribe
Whatever the trigger for this type of spiritually-induced depression, the antidote is always to seek out others of like-mind. It is important to find people who affirm your journey, who honor and appreciate your commitment to your path. Find a place where you feel acknowledgment for your struggles, where you can see positive mirrors and reflections of yourself. This is not to say that everyone will be exactly like you, or exactly where you are. Rather, that there is a commonality and a thread running through each other’s experiences, that you can relate to and thus appreciate.
With modern technology, it makes it easier to connect with those who resonate with where you are, yet meeting in person or talking directly with someone brings a sense of communion and sharing, which will support you through any challenges you may be facing.
Have Faith in Yourself
Still, it’s important to know that with or without that support you’re doing just fine. You are a courageous being. You are wonderful and willing and able, to follow a rigorous path. You’re willing to go to those dark places that most aren’t even able to acknowledge; let alone experience. Trust yourself. Trust where you are. Trust that everything that is not who you truly are, is shedding itself and revealing your perfection to you – just a little more. Notice that each and every time you experience the heaviness of depression and come out the other side, that you are a little more aware and feel a little freer.
Bless that. Acknowledge that. Embrace that. And know that this stage of the journey too; shall pass.
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