A Spiritual View of Depression, Part III: The Boundary of Self
With the possibility of greater space occurring between us and the things we feel, we become better able to notice our feelings without becoming quite so involved with them.
The line between self and world tends to be one that we perceive as clear and definable, generally having to do with what is inside and outside of our skin. As a result, when we feel things strongly, we tend to assume that these are our feelings that we are experiencing — our pain, our joy, our loss, our grief, our anger, our hope. It is what living within a separate body gives rise to as a view of reality, namely, that what is inside our skin belongs to who we are. We would have no way of knowing that this is an illusion until the skin becomes more porous, both literally and metaphorically, and the heart begins to know with greater sureness that all is one. At such a point, it begins to make more sense to us that what is felt on the inside as an emotion can arise on the outside as a wave or current of energy that affects a great many people, sometimes the entire world. Yet, even before this point is reached, we can seek to understand such things in order to better appreciate both the condition the world is in, as well as the condition that our own emotions are in.
The world is held within a band of interactive energies that surround the earth in an invisible spiritual atmosphere. Many of these energies resonate with particular emotions such as despair, rage, grief, fear, loneliness, anxiety, and so on. There are also positive energies contained in the energetic atmosphere, but at times when darkness is strong, as it is currently upon the earth, these positive, light-filled energies can get covered over by the intensity of the negative ones. While this doesn’t mean that the light disappears, it means that we often have less access to it. As a result, when there is a choice within our own lives to sink deeper into something that is painful or to step out of it, it becomes harder for us to do the latter. Similarly, when a choice exists regarding how to view a situation, person, relationship, or event, a heart influenced by the current energetic atmosphere is likely to feel less open, more angry, more despairing, with less possibility for forgiveness, love, and trust, even while the heart may simultaneously be seeking these. The opposite, of course, is also true. Because light is only covered overby darkness and is not extinguished by it, if we were to reach for it, if we were able to separate from the darkness and seek that which we know lives beneath it, our hearts would feel uplifted and much more would be possible.
The situation of being permeable to energies that belong to the world’s condition is everpresent. We are never immune to the impact of what surrounds us as a spiritual atmosphere and what we live within. What this knowledge can do is to help us separate just a little more from the feelings of despair, sadness, grief, or emptiness that we think of as belonging to us alone, and to know that though we are carrying these feelings within us, they are not entirely ours. They are partly ours, for our own inner state draws to us that which is similar to it. But they do not entirely emanate from within.
With the possibility of greater space occurring between us and the things we feel, we become better able to notice our feelings without becoming quite so involved with them. Depression often has a strong effect on the body and because of this, despite our wishes, it is not likely that the bodily sensations themselves will completely disappear, simply as a result of our spiritual knowing. However, such knowledge can make us more tolerant, stronger, and more detached from both bodily sensations and emotions themselves as we recognize: “what I feel is not me. A partof what I am feeling is me, but the rest is not.” Such an understanding can create hope that there might be another way to feel, indeed, that an alternative can be found to hopelessness, sorrow, emptiness, and despair for ourselves and for the world as well. While we cannot, in the moment, heal the world in its entirety, we can help do this on a smaller scale by bringing our own self out of the depths that we may have fallen into. Through separating to a greater degree from difficult emotions, we can return more easily to a place of light and spaciousness, the place in which Spirit dwells.