I don’t know about that title. It just seemed a little too heavy leaving it at “On Depression.” Anyway…
Depression is a feeling of hopelessness created by lack of movement or stagnation. It’s feeling of being stuck which leads to an attitude of ‘what’s the use?’ This is happening more and more because of the digital age. Information is so instant that we run around trying to keep up with all the stimuli presented us. The mind releases a thousand thoughts with each blink of the eyes, which means most subtle chains of thought don’t even register consciously. When we try to keep up with all the various stimuli bombarding us, it scatters the mind.
However, it’s only through focusing the mind that we get a sense of flow and accomplishment. That’s why we say: ‘time flies when you’re having fun. ‘ When your mind is focused one-pointedly, the light of the soul is able to flow through. (Remember what the word human means: Light-Mind. Hu means light and Man means mind. So a human being is the light of the soul projected by the mind for the time being.) When you focus the mind intently, you focus the lens of your mind and that allows the light of your soul to shine through.
True focus is like holding a magnifying glass in the sun. Imagine the glass is your mind and the sun is your soul. If you hold the glass in a certain way it will focus the light to a point and this point becomes so strong that it magnifies the energy of the sunlight and can set things on fire. (author’s note: I knew some really rotten kids who used to do this to ants and other creatures. I never condoned this kind of behavior. )
Anyway, this greatness that comes from focusing the mind is why we love to watch athletes in a game, or artists performing– they are so focused that their performance becomes masterful, almost “super-human” because it is infused with the greatness of Soul. Watching a masterful performance lifts us up and shows us a reflection of what we can be. It’s inspirational.
Today most of us, especially if you work in an office environment, are bombarded with massive amounts of information. We have computers and cell phones and blackberries (sp?) and ipods and iphones… All this information bombarding the mind as we try to keep up with it all. Most people think in terms of cause and effect and since the outer world is speeding up, they try and speed up the mind with it by drinking more coffee, energy drinks and even taking drugs. Unfortunately this only leads to exhaustion and worse… depression. Coffee and energy drinks deplete the body of hydration, vitamins and minerals and put undue strain on the adrenals as well as the whole glandular (endocrine) system. It all just leads to exhaustion.
Despite the frenetic running around we end up getting less done because the mind is less focused. This in turn creates that feeling of stuckness. It’s worse in the digital age because of the illusion of so much movement. Since all this information is flying around, we feel like a lot’s going on, yet we are actually manifesting less substantially and some of the things we’re manifesting are fleeting. A great example of this was the dot com bust. There was a great surge of business, wealth and activity in a very short time during the mid to late nineties. Seemingly overnight it all just burst like a bubble. The importance and a whole structure of things that seemed as though they’d last forever, just sort of faded rather quickly. Look how fast information moves today. Events that would’ve been talked about and debated in the news for weeks or months in years past are over in a day, pushed out as the 24-hour news networks sensationalize trivial stories to fill dead air.
More and more people in our fast paced, instantaneous, digital world are experiencing what is called Cold Depression. You’re depressed and you’re not sure why– because things are going at light speed around you and your dissatisfaction doesn’t make logical sense. This is evidenced by the great rise in prescription anti-depressants. What’s really going on is that the mind is so scattered that the Soul is unable to infuse into the life’s activities. A bunch of meaningless activity adds up to feelings of dissatisfaction and hopelessness. Anti-depressants simply shut off the mind so you just don’t feel bad about the things that were bothering you before. Unfortunately, the problem still exists, it’s just covered up by the chemical inhibitors in the drug. The great thing about yoga is that is stimulates the glandular and nervous systems and gives you a balanced feeling of well being from the inside out. So not only are you feeling better, but you’re getting better.
Another popular response to depression is self-medication. I have several degrees in this field and I think a box of trophies boxed up somewhere. Some really together people who are too proud for anti-depressants, yet have no other alternative for de-stressing, often turn to self-medication with alcohol and whatever else they can get their hands on. The problem here is, while it’s fun at the time, (boy was it fun at the time;) there’s always a backlash. Alcohol causes depression because it’s what’s called in the medical field… a depressant. So if you’re prone to feeling bad, the hangover is gonna make you feel even worse. The bottom line is that we’re all looking for a feeling– we want life to be a good experience. We want to feel good. We just want a little taste of soul. Self-medication promises a boost over the fence, but you get high and then– as the song says: “What goes up, must come down.”
The answer is a paradox: By slowing down and focusing the mind we actually accomplish more and get more satisfaction out of life. Simplifying your life can not be stressed enough (there’s a pun in there somewhere.) Our activities when focused, take on the feeling of a meditation, because things start to flow. The illusions of the world out there may have sped up, but a human is still a human being. This is why I began teaching kundalini yoga and mediation. I had such a great experience with it working, positively working in my life, that I just had to share my experiences and pass it on. It’s like I tell people all the time: I never quit anything, I just kept adding more yoga.