There is a wonderful shift taking place currently around the exposure of depression and anxiety. This epidemic of especially the Western culture, is certainly in my own experience a case of mistaken identity.
I have had my own experience with these 2 inter-connected demons, and although not the point of this article, it does help bring clarity to my personal understanding of the issue of anxiety and depression.
Depression and anxiety, from my perspective, is a misunderstanding at the very core level of its definition. It is to believe that our own definition is what we think through the mind.
If you pay attention to one paragraph in this article, let it be this. The separate thinking self is not an entity, it is an activity. The thinking mind, or the collection of experienced memories, are superimposed on the true self of pure awareness. We have come to believe that we are a collection of memories and thoughts. Hold on to that concept for the moment, because in my experience, it is the key to the whole problem of depression and anxiety.
Quite simply, what we are all after is fulfilment and happiness, I think we can all agree on that much. One huge misconception that we have come to believe is that this fulfilment is dependent on our circumstances. We believe the source of happiness is only to be found outside of the self, in the world of matter. This is a debilitating disease of the Western world. What an interesting word, disease, when you break it down “ dis-ease”; a pointer to the truth right there.
We each have something that is not an activity, and that is the sense of conscious awareness that knows itself as I or I am. This sense of conscious awareness is continually present though out all of our experience. All experience arises from this conscious awareness, including happiness and fulfilment.
When we look for happiness in the world of matter, we are turning away from the ultimate source of happiness, hence our propensity for depression and anxiety. The mind becomes more and more exhausted, in an ultimately fruitless search for fulfilment in the world of matter. We believe it must be out there somewhere, in the world of circumstance.
We are lost and have forgotten our true nature, we think that happiness is a case of “I will be happy when I attain this or that”. Although that happiness is fleeting and elusive, so it keeps us in a never ending state of searching that leads us to eventually come up empty.
There is a way back. It always has and always will be available to us. The way back is about inviting the mind to come back to the source, and to cease the searching that exhausts us and leaves us so completely empty. To me, the cause of anxiety is the state of searching that we have become so accustomed to, the listening to a constant never ending dialogue of mind that tells us we are not enough as we are, and that we do not have enough. The emptiness that this ultimately leads to is what I call the route of depression, this is pure personal experience.
Once though we invite the mind back to the source, as an example through meditation and self enquiry, we are inviting the mind to relax its fruitless search outwards. We then allow the mind to sink back towards its own source of being. The mind then starts to directly understand that true lasting happiness, purpose and fulfilment, are not found in the world of matter, achievement and mind.
Depression for me is a simple case of mistaken identity, and I’ll tell you why.
We believe that happiness is a path between two points, from unhappiness to happiness. That is to accept that time is linear, and that we must tick off certain parameters along this path in order to reach a certain level of happiness. This constant never ending effort is exhausting, and never really brings any lasting fulfilment. No, it only brings transient happiness, which is not real, because nothing real is transient. Awareness does not arise in matter; matter arises in our awareness. It’s important to understand the correct relationship here.
Fulfilment and happiness is only as far away as the realisation that we are already complete; nothing needs to be added for happiness. We were born complete, we have simply forgotten this. This realisation, once it becomes more than a concept, brings enormous relief. It is literally the end of suffering at the hands of depression and anxiety.
What we are all chasing has always been present. Look into a mirror and feel the presence and awareness that is aware of its own reflection. This is the source of true fulfilment and happiness that is not dependant on circumstances. It simply longs to know itself.
It takes a little time, but once you understand the fact that yes, I am that, happiness starts to flow through us into all that we do. We get the sense that without this unity of self there is no lasting happiness possible. There is no fulfilment in the things we do, until the true authentic self is present in the doing of those things.
Once the true self is present, we no longer hang our hat on the things we do. True purpose, enthusiasm, and happiness flow through the things we do, and the actions we take are based on intuition not anxiety.
In this realisation of the self, depression and anxiety cannot sustain themselves. I’m here to tell you 100%, I know this as fact through my own experience over time. They cannot exist and spawn in this occupation of the true self. Only when we go back to the mind story, do they get the chance to wedge their foot back in the door. They are products of a disconnect that we were taught at a very early age.
It’s not about eliminating mind, because of course it does have practical purposes; it too is a form of consciousness. It is about staying connected to the true source of being, in your own state of conscious awareness, that gives you the sense of your own existence. If it wasn’t here, you wouldn’t be here either. Simply because what we have forgotten, is that the sense of being alive is what in fact we are. That is our true nature and definition, and it knows nothing of anxiety and depression.