Ruminating On Rumi

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.

~ M. Rumi

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Depression As A Self

Where does depression come from? Perhaps it is our body, mind and soul's response to an unspoken and unthinkable dis-ease in the way we perceive the world. Perhaps depression is just a deeper form of sadness or even of simply feeling flat, dulled by the expectations and demands of a world that measures self worth on having and doing. Perhaps depression is a gift that if we accept it and open it, it allows us to be exactly as we are, sad, confused, lost. Indeed it is all of this.

Just begin to understand that on a deep level depression is not who we are, it is something we are going through. Depression is not a self. Unfortunately, the world we live in does not necessarily support the down time and the need for self examination and acceptance that is needed to move through the feelings of emptiness.  So how do we navigate through this depression or sadness or indeed any of the gamut of feelings that may be in the field of depression?

I would say start right now. In this moment, be still. Find a comfortable relaxed position to be at ease. Close your eyes. Simply become aware of your body in space at this moment. Allow your awareness to lightly touch on the activity of breathing. Feel how air comes into the body and becomes breath. Is the air cool or warm? No need to judge or label, just observe. What does it feel like as air is breathed through the nose, as it moves down through the throat, into the upper chest, the abdomen the belly? Notice just before the exhale there is a pause, a turning of the breath and on its own accord and by it's own nature the exhales arises up and out of the body.  There is nothing to do just simply notice the breath. In this simple way, observing the breath and its qualities, we may begin to become aware that breath is breathing us. And as it breathes us, there really is no problem.  (If you wish to inquire further into the nature of the breath, I encourage you to explore Donna Farhi's "The Breathing Book".)

I think depression is the external "problems" of the world becoming internalized. Focussing on the breath, we focus on what is present, right here, right now. Not on what has happened or may happen, not on scary thoughts of future or regretful thoughts of past. Being present right now with this breath we can experientially sense that all is okay at this very moment. Being present with what is is a practice. It is not something to acquire or to make perfect. It is what it is. Eckhart Tolle says when we notice that we are not present, we are.
Being gentle, kind and loving to ourselves and using breath we can bring our awareness back to this moment as it is.

We are physical expressions of the formless. We are the space where all this, in and around us, appears. We are consciousness itself. We are life! Moving around in these bodies with these thoughts and feelings and with the ability to manifest other forms is a game of hide-and-seek. Consciousness looks for itself in the outer but ultimately awakens from the inner. And in the truest sense of awareness, there is no outer and no inner, no separation. The fox in Antoine de Saint Exupéry's "Little Prince" says, "Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

Indeed this is it, right where you are, in this very moment, with this very body, these very sensations and feelings, thoughts and perception. All of this, including the feelings of sadness and depression.