Dealing With Depression
an alternative approach to coping with depression


Through seeing and understanding one simple thing, my depression literally vanished in a moment. More accurately, the feeling of depression didn't disappear but it didn't have the same impact on my peace any more.

This understanding, if grasped, will cure anyone immediately.... provided you are genuinely ready to be free of it. I say this because, in my experience, many people, even after realizing the way out, still choose to cling on to depression rather than let it go. I was one of them.



The conventional approach to dealing with depression, anxiety, fear etc is to attempt to change or fix it. This combative approach is reflected in the language we commonly use. We talk about "fighting depression", "battling depression" etc. Inherent in this approach is the underlying belief that there is something wrong.... that there is an enemy that first has to be slayed before peace can be experienced.

The problem with this approach to dealing with depression is that it is a path without end. In my work, I have met so many people who, after 5 or 10 years of therapy, are basically unchanged. If you look for issues to heal, you will continually find more and more of them.

Therapy focuses on getting to the bottom of the problem and fixing it.... attempting to change an unhappy me into a happy me. Although this can offer some relief, lasting contentment remains out of reach, somewhere in the future, but not accessible NOW, which is the only moment we have.

Have you ever considered that it may be possible to feel depressed AND experience peace at the same time? That trying to fix the depression may not be necessary? In fact, that trying to fix depression creates more depression?

The amazing thing is that you can have a million negative thoughts and feelings but still be at peace. This is my experience.

What you resist persists.


Fighting depression creates more depression
My teacher loved to play table football and had a table in his room. On occasion, I would come to him feeling down. After patiently listening to my woes, he would cheerfully say "Lets play football!" It used to infuriate me that he never seemed to take my depression seriously. If I could only explain myself better, he would surely see that my problem was real, right? Wrong! He simply wouldn't give it ANY attention. He understood that giving the depression attention makes it bigger. After a couple of games of football he would ask "So how is your depression?" I had forgotten about it!

What you focus on grows. If you wish to experience peace, focus on peace

I have highlighted several approaches which can be very helpful in dealing with depression on the page: "how to be happy" 

focusing on gratitude   • looking for opportunities to serve others
practicing acceptance/ non-resistance   • practicing surrender

but for me , the real key is:
Dealing with Depression through Awareness

If you closely observe any "negative" condition, that is, step out of yourself and observe it objectively, you will see that three distinct things happen:

◦ an uncomfortable emotional sensation arises
◦ the mind labels the experience
◦ a mental commentary about the experience follows

For example "I am sad” followed by “ My God, will this never end”. “I need help." I'm going to phone my therapist.” I can’t live like this, this is awful” and a million other thoughts commentating on the experience.

In actual fact, the suffering comes from the habitual and unconscious commentary ABOUT the experience and NOT from the experience itself. Left alone, it is simply an uncomfortable sensation..... but it is not a problem. The mental commentary makes it into a problem.

So, how do we stop the commentary?

We don't. We just watch it. Trying to stop it gives it more power.

The desire to change the experience perpetuates it. In the simple act of being aware of the mental commentary... simply seeing it, not judging it, not analyzing it, just watching - something quite amazing happens. Distance is created between "me" and the commentary and just for a moment there is a gap ...there is peace.

If you are watching it, you are not identifying with it. Suffering occurs when you are lost in the story. Shining the light of consciousness on it is ALL that is required.

Peace never leaves us....we leave the peace that’s always there. There is no need to change of fix anything. If you are dealing with depression or have any other issue which is disturbing your peace, that feeling may, or may not stay.  Either way, you don't need to wait until it is gone to experience inner peace and contentment.

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Meditation
Meditation is an invaluable tool for dealing with depression. It is the fast track to inner peace. As you practice watching your experience through meditation, you will quickly see that there are two aspects in play.

• the constantly changing kaleidoscope of thoughts, feelings and emotions which arise by themselves and

• the timeless and unchanging "watcher" which is pure conscious awareness.

The “watcher“ in you is the very same eternal presence that permeates all of creation - the source of all peace and contentment.

Each time you place your attention on the “watcher” (the part of your experience that doesn’t change), peace is there. Whatever you put your awareness on grows. By gently withdrawing your attention from your thoughts they lose their power to affect your peace. Furthermore, as you consciously place more and more of your awareness on the silent witness, the attributes of peace and joy gradually become your own direct experience.

All suffering comes from Identification with thought. It is simply a habit which can be broken through awareness. Without trying to change anything, everything changes!

In conclusion
When we are dealing with depression, we are convinced that the problem is huge and that the solution must therefore be complicated and require effort. WRONG! No time is required and any form of trying is counter-productive. In fact, it is through allowing everything to be as it is that peace is experienced. There is no need to understand anything. There is no need to fix anything.

Anthony de Mello sums it up beautifully:

"Before enlightenment I was depressed. After enlightenment I continue to be depressed - but there is a difference. I don't identify with it any more!"

If you get one thing out of reading these words let it be this: When dealing with depression there is no need to change your thoughts. This is the most amazing thing...you can have the exact same thoughts and experience peace.

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