Sunday, October 18, 2015
Waves of depression
At times, you may be aware of a wave of depression rising and falling within you: you’re feeling low, down, uninspired, and cannot find any meaning… in anything. It’s as if something is missing or just… off… but you can’t quite pin it down. Everyone around you seems so content, happy, joyful, and enjoying their lives and the people around them. What is wrong with you?
There is a deeply embedded cultural fantasy that you shouldn’t feel depressed, that depression is a clear sign that something has gone wrong, that you have failed, and that you are flawed in some fundamental way. Oh, and by the way, it's not very 'spiritual,' is it? I mean, what about staying in the now, loving what is, accepting the moment, laws of attraction, and all of that? I mean, would a ‘spiritual’ person feel ‘depressed?’
But what if depression were a very legitimate and valid experience, a harbinger of some revelation which is trying to break through the dream of partiality? A disguised wisdom-guide laying the ground for wholeness to emerge? Love not only takes form as flow, sweetness, and ‘positive’ feelings, but at times as the activity of sacred death, to reorient old vision so that rebirth can occur.
Depression can be a very alive and piercing signal that all of those things you thought were so important are not. That all of the old dreams you invested in, all of the hopes and fears, and all of the conditioning about who you are and about what this life is… it’s all crumbling. It’s all falling apart. The rug of meaning has been pulled away. And has not yet been replaced. It is vast and open and disorienting here.
But what if this were a holy break down? Not pathology, but wrathful grace? It is not pleasant, not fun, not something you would wish for, and certainly not supportive of our cultural and spiritual dreamland that life is about feeling happy and blissful all the time. From the perspective of fierce grace, that is the spirituality of a child. But you are vast, you contain multitudes, and are a raging expression of wholeness.
What if depression was a secret envoy sent by some part of you that was longing to be met and allowed back into the vastness? A clarion call from inside you, to slow way down, to review where you are and where you’ve been, and to discover what is true and what is meaningful for you… now. Not what you ‘need’ and what you’ve been told is important or what you ‘should’ feel by a world that has gone mad.
Though it is not easy, it is possible to see depression as a very alive, yet intense sort of invitation, to pause and discover what is dying within you, and what is longing to be reborn. And to finally see what you may be turning from, in order to protect yourself from the fires of love, from the unbearable risk of intimacy, and from the tender vulnerability that is your true nature.
What you discover may never conform to the dreams of the conventional world, but the wild activity of love is never conventional. For the wrathful wisdom ally of depression has arrived as a fierce reminder of your unlived life, and what truly matters most. Love will never stop trying to reach you and will shape-shift into infinite forms to bring you alive… even appearing as a wave of ‘depression.’
Something is knocking at the door of your heart. What is it?