There are many perspectives on the causes of depression. The medical community blames depression on our foods, habits, lifestyle and chemical imbalance in the body, while the spiritual community believes depression to be caused by deluded thoughts and wrong perception.
Whether you believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in your body or by the patterns of your thinking, the fact remains that a depressive state originates in the mind.
A calm and silent mind does not allow for a depressive state of being and it’s possible for everyone to practice this state of mental quietude irrespective of their medical condition.
How Does Meditation Help Relive Depression?
Meditation in simple terms is the practice of steadying your mind through “presence”.
What is presence? It’s simply a state of alertness where one is not lost in the stream of thinking.
When your attention is lost in the stream of thoughts, originating in your mind, you are in a “dream state” and each thought tends to pull you around like a magnet.
This is a very powerless state to be in, and most people, in whom negative thoughts are prominent, such a state of being can lead to depression.
Each thought has the capacity to affect the vibration of your body. In other words, each thought can affect your energy field. A thought which has a “negative” content will cause your energy field to vibrate in a manner which feels like resistance or suffering. When one is constantly in the grip of negative thoughts, the energy field of your body can feel suffocating and creates a depression in your state of being.
When you are feeling depressed, it means that the energy field of your body is replete with resistance created by a negative emotion or negative pattern of thinking. Under these circumstances one feels very de-motivated and lacks the drive to do anything constructive.
The best thing to do at this time is to avoid wallowing further into the grip of your mind, or emotional field, and stay conscious in a state of meditation.
How Meditation Can Benefit You
Here are a few pointers on how meditation can help alleviate depression:
- Meditation helps you become more aware of your thoughts and your bodily energy.
- Meditation can help you become aware of your mind’s conditioning. In doing so, you can easily identify and overcome your insecurities and limited beliefs.
- Meditating in silence can be very nourishing to the body and it helps the cells heal themselves naturally. So any chemical imbalance in the body can be rectified simply by practicing inner silence.
- Meditation allows your attention to become free of the stream of thinking. This will allow your negative thoughts to lose momentum and subside eventually.
- Meditation has the power to transmute confusion to clarity, negative thoughts to positive thoughts and restlessness to calm.
- Meditation brings in ‘space’ in the area of a noisy mind. This space of silence allows intelligence to flow through. You will be amazed at how solutions can make themselves evident when you allow some silence to come into the noise of the mind.
- Meditation can increase the vibration of your energy field and help you attract positive thoughts and feelings. Consciousness, or silent awareness, has a nourishing effect on the body and automatically hikes your vibration.
The bottom line is that meditation helps bring about a conscious awareness into the area of noise dominated mind. The energy of silence can easily counteract the negative thoughts and emotions.
Also, meditation is considered to be healthy for the body because it has the capacity to bring about a balance by rejuvenating the energy field of your being.
Most Beneficial Type of Meditation for Depression
Some simple forms of meditation are – breath awareness, focusing on a sound (like om), focusing on an object or simply focusing on silence.
You can practice any form of meditation. Here I am going to discuss two types of meditation that you can consider trying out:
Focus on Breathing – Breath Awareness
Focusing on your breathing will help you anchor your attention to the present moment.
Even if you do this for a few seconds, you are no longer actively thinking. Instead, your attention is focused on your breathing. As you continue to do this, you will realize that you are the master of your attention. You can either use your attention and focus it on your thoughts or you can divert it elsewhere like your breathing. This is the first realization.
Once you realize this you start to become more and more aware of your thoughts.
You will also start to become aware of certain negative thoughts and the kind of emotions they generate in the body.
Experiencing Your Emotions Fully
This type of meditation involves, feeling the energy behind your emotions consciously.
As you feel these emotions, try and relax your body as much as possible. If you find any tightness anywhere in the body, relax that area and loosen up as much as possible. This helps release these emotions as you no longer fear or resist them.
Of-course, to practice this meditation, you need to have better control over your mind. You need to be more aware of your thoughts which you can achieve by practicing staying present through ‘breath awareness’ as discussed above.
Story of Eckhart Tolle – How He Used Meditation to Break Free from a Depressive State
Let’s take the story of Eckhart Tolle.
Eckhart had an extremely bad childhood and was living a highly depressed life as an adult. He was almost on the verge of committing suicide when one night he had a realization.
He realized that his mind was constantly producing thoughts and that he could watch these thoughts without getting involved. This realization helped him dis-identify himself from his mind’s chatter.
After this he started practicing living in the present moment. He did this by consciously focusing only on the present instead of dwelling in the past or future. With time, he became more and more aware of his mind and the thoughts it generates. The moment his mind went back into thinking about his past or worried about the future, he would pause and bring the mind back to the present moment.
He found immense power and clarity in this present moment. He was able to allow his creative juices to flow because he was no longer lost in negativity. Using this powerful energy, he wrote his first book ‘The Power of Now’ which became an international bestseller.
This example clearly demonstrates that meditation can help break the cycle of depression. And in doing so, help you become more aware of life and your life’s purpose. It can also lower dependencies and make you self dependent eliminating needy behaviour. And as per the law of attraction, the moment needy behavior stops, we start to automatically attract things into our life that we have always desired.
So Can Meditation Help You Come Out of Depression?
When faced with tough situations, or anxious periods, it’s common for the mind to get insecure and enter into depression. Under these conditions, meditation can help relieve depression more than any other activity or action. There is also growing evidence to support the case for meditation.
Any action taken from a depressive state of being can create further trouble, so it’s best to use meditation to calm your mind and improve your vibration, which in turn will automatically allow clarity and solutions to seep through.
It is to be noted that even if you recover from this count bout of depression, there is a always a possibility of the depression reoccurring. But whenever it does, you can use meditation to tackle it. The best way of-course is to make meditation a part of your daily routine.
In addition to meditation, you also need to find and work on things that make you happy and give you a sense of purpose. Having a sense of purpose is a sure fire way to get out of depression.
Meditation helps you clear your mind. When you have clarity, you will automatically start to think of things that you can engage yourself with everyday. These can be simple things like working out with the objective of building a strong physique or accumulating knowledge on a subject that interests you, playing a musical instrument or even meditating and growing spiritually.
A good way to find out what you like doing is to take a pen and paper and make a list of all such things. Things that make you feel good. And then set out to do at-least some of the things on the list that you can.
By meditating, setting simple goals and doing things that make you feel productive, you will be able to stop the cycle of depression.