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Spirituality and depression

Been feeling rather crap today. Like I've been hit by a tornado of negative stories and ideologues but now its passed I find myself thinking how silly it was. It feels like the calm after a storm.

Anyway what is the relationship between spirituality and depression? Is it supposed to help depression? I ask because I thought depressive spouts were a thing of the past because I practice.

Is depression a lack of spirituality and is true inner happiness the result of strong spirituality? By spirituality in this sense I mean time practicing meditation.

Then again can depression be good for awakening? I mean look at eckhart tolle.

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Mingle said: Anyway what is the relationship between spirituality and depression?

    There is no relationship between depression and spirituality. One is an affliction, the other is a tool.

    Is it supposed to help depression? I ask because I thought depressive spouts were a thing of the past because I practice.

    Think again. Human beings, being subject to human conditions, are as susceptible to depression as anyone is. However, being students of Buddhism (which is what I think you mean by 'spirituality') we are equipped to understand that it is an ephemeral condition, true to the |Buddha's 2nd Noble Truth.

    Is depression a lack of spirituality and is true inner happiness the result of strong spirituality? By spirituality in this sense I mean time practicing meditation.

    No. Depression is brought about by many different things; it could be associated with a mental malady, such as bipolar, or circumstantial, due to a life event such as job loss, bereavement, termination of a relationship or many other factors. One person's down in the dumps' can be another's consideration of suicide. It depends on many things, as to the intensity and effect....A spiritual person is just as subject, or vulnerable, to bouts of depression as anyone else.

    That said, Matthieu Ricard is an exceptional human being whom depression once visited. However, that was long ago. he has been meditating for decades, and seems now to have risen above such possibilities...

    Then again can depression be good for awakening? I mean look at eckhart tolle.

    No, I don't think depression can be good for awakening. It was ok for him; it does not necessarily follow that the same will apply for others.

    RuddyDuck9dhammachickTBRulh
  • MingleMingle Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Mingle said: Anyway what is the relationship between spirituality and depression?

    There is no relationship between depression and spirituality. One is an affliction, the other is a tool.

    Is it supposed to help depression? I ask because I thought depressive spouts were a thing of the past because I practice.

    Think again. Human beings, being subject to human conditions, are as susceptible to depression as anyone is. However, being students of Buddhism (which is what I think you mean by 'spirituality') we are equipped to understand that it is an ephemeral condition, true to the |Buddha's 2nd Noble Truth.

    Is depression a lack of spirituality and is true inner happiness the result of strong spirituality? By spirituality in this sense I mean time practicing meditation.

    No. Depression is brought about by many different things; it could be associated with a mental malady, such as bipolar, or circumstantial, due to a life event such as job loss, bereavement, termination of a relationship or many other factors. One person's down in the dumps' can be another's consideration of suicide. It depends on many things, as to the intensity and effect....A spiritual person is just as subject, or vulnerable, to bouts of depression as anyone else.

    That said, Matthieu Ricard is an exceptional human being whom depression once visited. However, that was long ago. he has been meditating for decades, and seems now to have risen above such possibilities...

    Then again can depression be good for awakening? I mean look at eckhart tolle.

    No, I don't think depression can be good for awakening. It was ok for him; it does not necessarily follow that the same will apply for others.

    Thanks @federica. I know this is a random question and a major shot in the dark but around a year ago someone on yahoo answers recommended me to this site. They were known as Been There and they always had really good answers to my questions. That wouldn't be you by any chance would it. I ask because your writing style seems very similar.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    No, it wasn't me. I've never been on 'yahoo'... but I'm glad you got good answers. It's always uplifting when someone 'out there' can help... :)

  • MingleMingle Veteran

    @federica said:
    No, it wasn't me. I've never been on 'yahoo'... but I'm glad you got good answers. It's always uplifting when someone 'out there' can help... :)

    Yeah there were some good answers but also the questions were open to any Tom Dick and Harry to answer so I wanted a place thats Buddhism focused. Back to the topic though I've always thought seeing as the goal of meditation is to make you happier that must meen the lack of it must mean depression. And of course not everyone meditates but I kinda imagined people would get the same effects through flow state activities such as working. In a nutshell I've thought of negativity stemming from having too much time to think and identify with your thoughts. Perhaps I'm thinking to black and white.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I don't think depression and spirituality are intrinsically linked. Of course depression does have an effect on some of your virtues / perfections, such as vigour, but I've known depressed people to be very spiritual.

    It can be a natural effect, a temporary shift in some of your perceptions which changes the way you see things, and could ultimately have some beneficial effects. But I don't think it helps spirituality, and the basic depression can lead to clinical depression which can be hard to shift, or even psychotic depression. It can become permanent.

    It is certainly something you need to treat with caution. If you are feeling an excess of negative emotions, I would try some insight meditation to try to find out why it affects you so. Pay especial attention to your inner image of your future, your faith and hope. Make sure you counterbalance the real effects in your life, mix some positive, pick-me-up experiences that you enjoy with serious matter.

  • MingleMingle Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I don't think depression and spirituality are intrinsically linked. Of course depression does have an effect on some of your virtues / perfections, such as vigour, but I've known depressed people to be very spiritual.

    It can be a natural effect, a temporary shift in some of your perceptions which changes the way you see things, and could ultimately have some beneficial effects. But I don't think it helps spirituality, and the basic depression can lead to clinical depression which can be hard to shift, or even psychotic depression. It can become permanent.

    It is certainly something you need to treat with caution. If you are feeling an excess of negative emotions, I would try some insight meditation to try to find out why it affects you so. Pay especial attention to your inner image of your future, your faith and hope. Make sure you counterbalance the real effects in your life, mix some positive, pick-me-up experiences that you enjoy with serious matter.

    Whats insight meditation? Is that another name for mindfulness meditation?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman Veteran
    edited June 2016

    @Mingle said: Whats insight meditation? Is that another name for mindfulness meditation?

    What do you mean by "mindfulness meditation" - mindfulness of breathing? If so, then insight meditation would involve broadening attention out to observe other sensations, thoughts, feelings and so on. Noticing whatever arises at the sense gates.

  • MingleMingle Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Mingle said: Whats insight meditation? Is that another name for mindfulness meditation?

    What do you mean by "mindfulness meditation" - mindfulness of breathing? If so, then insight meditation would involve broadening attention out to observe other sensations, thoughts, feelings and so on. Noticing whatever arises at the sense gates.

    Mindfulness is what I do. Focusing on the breath and being aware of thoughts and sensations. Then returning to breath.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Mingle said: ...I've always thought seeing as the goal of meditation is to make you happier that must meen the lack of it must mean depression.

    I don't know where you got the impression that the GOAL of meditation is to make you happier; The Goal of Meditation is to bring Attention to the Moment, and tame the Monkey Mind.
    If a side-effect to your Meditation is Happiness, then that is something you must bring about yourself, as a consequence; but the Goal of Meditation is not to make you happier...

    ... In a nutshell I've thought of negativity stemming from having too much time to think and identify with your thoughts. Perhaps I'm thinking to black and white.

    I don't think you're thinking too black and white; but I do think you need to review why you yourself practise meditation, and whether you can achieve what you seek, when you are NOT sitting; that is to say, be Mindful during the day as your thoughts and emotions arise, and observe their effect.

  • MingleMingle Veteran

    @federica sorry, poor choice of wording there. The goal of meditation obviously isn't to become happier it is of course to become present but the consequence as you say can be becoming a happier person as you are becoming less attached to the thoughts in your head. The goal isnt happiness but if you want to be a happier person mindfulness is a good way to get there.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Mingle said:

    Whats insight meditation? Is that another name for mindfulness meditation?

    It's a Buddhist meditation form also known as Vipassanā, which predates mindfulness by many years. There are some similarities with mindfulness of breathing, but there are also a few differences.

    RuddyDuck9rohit
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    Not specific to Buddhism necessarily but there is definitely something to the idea that "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." The more pain you have, the more God you need.

    But if God doesn't help you, or if he isn't actually there (wherever "there" is), can Buddhism help you? Can meditation?

    Yes, it can. That might not mean that it absolutely and permanently protects against all depression. But it can help.

    Can depression lead to a good path? Of course. Anything might lead to a good path. We never know what twists and happenstances await. Not that I'd recommend depression if given a choice. But we all have lows and highs, and sometimes one magnifies the other.

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