A few months ago I posted an article titled “You’re not depressed. You’re selfish.” In it, I claim that depression is primarily caused by self-centredness, and that it is our personal responsibility to find something greater than ourselves which can free us from our depression-causing egos. With a few notable exceptions, the response to the article has been negative.
In the comments I have been accused of not understanding depression; of not understanding the causes, the symptoms or the experiences of people who suffer from it; of being arrogant; and rather ironically, of being selfish. While none these accusations upset me, the one that does bother me is the claim that I am in some way unsympathetic to the plight of the unhappy.
If the true and correct practice of religion has taught me one thing it is the importance of compassion. Compassion equates to love, and love is so powerful that it can independently relieve personal suffering. While I am well aware that my tone in the article is confrontational, to take that to mean I haven’t compassion for the sufferers of depression is strongly misguided. Truthfully, my real problem is not with compassion, but with acceptance.
You see, I can’t accept people so casually allowing themselves to be labelled as having psychological ‘disorders’. Allowing yourself to be labelled creates a sense of identity within you, and as opposed to being a person in need of spiritual fulfillment you become what you have been labelled. This creates nothing but confusion, and as your ‘disorder’ is a unique diagnosis meant exclusively for you it serves to feed the ego from which you should be trying to escape.
It further blows my mind that in times of depression, which are essentially times of great spiritual imbalance, those who suffer depression seek to resolve it with further complexity. Addressing spiritual imbalances with psychological solutions is not effective and such practices show an extreme lack of self-understanding, if nothing else.
We humans are far simpler than we like to think. At our core we are all very much the same, and that which we have most in common comes at a spiritual level. One need only understand our true core and our common spiritual nature to understand one’s own self.
The first step to understanding your true self requires you to forego your own ego, which is difficult for two reasons:
- We so strongly identify with our ego, such that despite its complete flexibility and subjectivity we come to think it’s who we are.
- As we so strongly identify with our ego we fear that letting it go will result in the nullification of self. Paradoxically, when we let go of the ego we actually find our true self.
The things I say about depressed people I say about everybody. You’re selfish? So am I! So is my neighbour, and so is pretty much everyone who I’ve never met. It’s not something to be taken personally as it’s in our shared nature. It is not therefore a question of “Am I selfish?”, but “How selfish am I?”.
To truly understand what I am talking about we need to get past all the psychoanalytical bullshit that we’ve been taught and to look at the universal spiritual traits that we all share. These traits are absolutely superior to our subjective, psychological ones.
The four communal spiritual traits are:
- Oneness. This is the longing to be one with something.
- Duality (or Twoness). This is the division that we have within ourselves. It is also the opposite of Oneness.
- The Centre. We all have and need a centre. For the religious it’s fixed (God). For the non-religious it can be variable (but it’s usually themselves. Yes, it is!).
- Self-centredness (Selfishness). We are all egotistical.
In knowing and understanding these four truths, we must understand how we are realising them in our own lives and whether the net result is a positive or a negative. Ask yourself questions like:
Do I achieve Oneness by hanging out with a bunch of negative people because they accept me?
Is my Centre something worthy of my time, energy and worship?
Do I suffer from multiple personalities, or am I pretty much the same person all the time?
Do I ever place myself above others?
Also look closely at Duality’s place in depression, because it plays an important part. As we all tend to suffer from multiple personalities (such as one at work and one at home) depression can act to suppress our duality, and it does so by placing us in a consistently negative state. This to many people is preferable to the insincerity of Duality. By being constantly (or ‘chronically’, or ‘manically’) depressed we can resolve our duality, but the net result is a negative.
My point is a simple one. We all long to be whole, single, centred and selfless. It is our directive as spiritual beings. We work towards it in different ways, but we are all trying to achieve the same outcome. The net result of depression, however, is an absolute negative, and it is the incorrect path to achieving spiritual harmony.
There isn’t a drug or a doctor in the world that can change your mind better than you can, but first you have to want to, and you also have to understand the spiritual reasons for your state of being. You are longing to achieve Oneness. You are longing to find your true centre. You are longing to rid yourself of your duality. And you are likely longing to be selfless. Your depression is hampering your potential to lead a happy, spiritually fulfilled life.
There’s one last thing I need to say. As obvious as it is already, I’m not even remotely a genius, and I’m not sharing knowledge that I came up with because I’m so much smarter than you. The things I say have been known since the beginning of our conscious existence and you can interpret them from any good spiritual text. They are truths which I embraced long ago, and I have since lead a more conscious and fulfilling existence as a result. I can show you the truth but only you can open your eyes long enough to see it.