Depression is not an illness, its a condition of life. Guru Nanak writes ‘Dukh daru sukh rog paiaya, ja sukh tam na hoi – Sadness is the remedy happiness is the disease, in happiness I forget thee’. This is a positive take on the sadness life can bring, that we can use this time to introspect and do naam simran and sewa, and carry these positive activities on into good times as well!
The Guru tells us in Gurbani that life is dukh and sukh, sadness and happiness, we just can’t get away from it. All of us will lose loved ones, have illness, have good times, have family and friends we love, and good experiences of life, and this really goes without saying. Sometimes depression is when we can’t accept the sadness in life, so we get hung up on it. We so desperately want to be happy, that we make ourselves more miserable, that even the sight of a happy person makes us even more upset. We can get increasingly frustrated that are life is not the perfect KEN and BARBIE dream! Well real life is never going to be plastic is it? We also say why me? This is not true, Guru Nanak says: ‘Nanak dukhia sabh sansar’, the whole world is in suffering but through naam we can find bliss.
The first part of tackling depression, is to use reasoning, this part of the mind often works less in those who are depressed (PFC), so an active attempt at using reasoning must take place. That firstly it is ok to feel down, and accept it, that life has ups and downs, and this is just where I am on the journey. Secondly, be mindful of negative thoughts and emotions, and actively strive to balance with positive affirmations and feelings.
A proven way of tackling depression without the need for medication is simple meditations like witnessing the breath going in and out, breath of fire (kapalbati), mindfulness, singing or listening to Rag Durga, and the use of mantras. Also getting sunlight everyday for at least 10 minutes in the afternoon, and exercise, all help to loosen the grip depression has on us. So, if you feel down then lift yourself up. Then when you know your slipping you know how to elevate yourself.
Here is prayer meditation used in the tradition said to relieve us of sadness:
Dasam Granth Sahib Gurbani is said to get one back into chardikalah very quickly!
Have a beautiful day!
By Kamalroop Singh (Author)