Depression and Allowing

(In a letter to a friend who asked about letting go and depression; personal references have been removed)

Dear -,

Depression is the opposite of love.

Depression is rage turned inward.

Depression is all our hard emotions we had in the past for which we were not fully present, turned inward.

I understand how you feel. I understand the utter numbness. It’s hard to be comfortable in your own skin. Whatever you are doing, you want to be doing something else. If you are with people, you want to be alone. You don’t have any energy. You can fake it for a while, but the energy to pretend becomes harder and harder to gather up. There is insomnia or too much sleeping. The things that seem to motivate other people become meaningless. You have forgotten what pleasure is.

You wonder how is it that other people manage. Are they just pretending? How is it that they are not questioning life? How do they go about their lives, day after day after day?

You don’t like sunny days because they urge you to feel better, when you cannot. You do not like people who tell you to be happy or positive or “snap out of it” because they have no idea what it really feels like.

You wonder if people have noticed. What do people think of me?

I know these feeling intimately.

To people who are depressed, I suggest to use the full arsenal at hand. There is nothing wrong with using medication, though many people, particularly of our background, may feel that medication is an admission of weakness. I have taken anti-depressants in the past and I would take them again if I thought they would help me. Medicate, use therapy, meditate, exercise, avoid the things and people who make you feel down. Allow yourself to be depressed–if you want to be alone, sleep, or whatever, allow yourself to do or not do without judgment or guilt.

A very important tool in understanding and releasing depression is learning to let go.Sunrise at my beach
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ariesfairy

Letting go is a simple practice, it’s very natural, but often there is resistance to it. The resistance shows up as “I need to understand more” or “it’s too simple to work” or “I don’t know what it is that I’m supposed to let go of.”

Some people have obvious emotions that go with depression, such as anger or loneliness or sadness or anxiety. I had anxiety. The mechanism of anxiety is so very obvious and demanding, that it can’t be ignored so in a sense it’s easier to get a hold of to release.

In depression, often emotions are numbed, so it’s a little harder to get hold of an emotion to let it go.

Letting go, ironically is all about allowing.

What do you think when you hear “allowing” and “letting go”?

If you look at the concepts of “letting go” and “allowing” you will find that you already have a bunch of judgments about them. They may seem weak, passive, lazy, giving-up-control, wishy-washy kind of concepts. You are used to hard work and control. Your judgments about these concepts have to do with the deep fear that if you slow down, or stop pushing hard, or simply expect life to be easy, the whole house of cards will collapse.

Allowing, with patience and love, is however the most essential part of living and growing.

For two years, I went through a period of very low-energy and self-isolation. I wasn’t unhappy, but nothing seemed to be happening in life. I would have rather been alone than with people. I would rather have been doing nothing than doing something.

My lesson at that time was to be allow, be patient, with love. To watch, with awareness.

It isn’t always easy to remain in stillness and allow and watch because all our conditioning screams at us to do something. Do something, get up, change yourself, be better. Even in depression when it isn’t easy to get up and do something,  the feeling that you should nevertheless persists.

When you are able to allow yourself and people and events and life and situations to be as they already are—without judging or wishing for change, you begin to understand the immense power of allowing and letting go.

You may not understand what it is that you have to let go of—most of us don’t—but you can still practice allowing and letting go.

Start with this: http://www.beyond-karma.com/how-to/how-to-release-big-and-small-emotions-release/

Use it for the smallest emotions. Use it for the sense of dread you may feel for having to go to work, or to be with people when you don’t want to, or when you are somewhere where you don’t want to be. Try it for that funny feeling you may have at night before you go sleep when you wonder what is this all about. Is this all there is? Try it for that feeling that comes up which asks, what is it that I am missing in life? What is it about me that is broken? Try it for these little, vague feelings of uneasiness.

When your mind objects and says it doesn’t understand or needs to know more or it doesn’t know what it is that it should let go of, look at the judgments your mind has about letting go. Let go of that resistance.

I will publish an article about a breathing-release technique soon which you can also try, and you may also want to look at this allowing meditation: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Adyashantis-Meditation-Allowing-Everything-to-Be-As-It-Is

With love,

Kaushik

23 thoughts on “Depression and Allowing

  1. Eduard @ People Skills Decoded

    I think that as bad of a reputation that depression has, it’s actually an adaptive reaction. It’s our way to try to adapt to a specific or generalized threat we think exists, which we don’t trust we can handle. So we retreat in our shell and get demotivated.

    Sure, it’s usually not a good adaptive reaction, but there is a positive intention in it. I like to acknowledge this first, because I believe it’s an important step in getting…aa…un-depressed :)

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Eduard,

      Yes, at least some part of depression is a learned response. Possibly because of a combination of genetics and conditioning, the response may evoke even when circumstances don’t demand it.

      It may be important to acknowledge that. With awareness and release, we can rise above the conditioning.

      Thanks for the important insight.

      Namaste,
      k

      Reply
  2. Nitin

    Good day Kausik,

    In recent days everything turned in to commercial and valued in currency.
    So, hobby which is stress-releasing activity also turned in to stress increased work. We have time to do everything except talking care or our mind & body to healthy path.
    Most of the time it’s excuse to avoid healthy life style then turned to stress.
    Simple hobby like painting, craft work, photography does help to take way your mind from so called depression. If mind & physical body occupy with creative activities will defiantly help reduce the stress level. I know it’s not possible all the time, but thinking toward creativity gives mind a new thought.
    Isn’t it easier to detour the thought then control the mind ?
    In poverty, all the talents and great creativity develop with minimum. When we will be happy with less, we will have time & energy for healthy living.
    I may sound like lots of advice, but I have said what I have experienced.
    Thank you.
    Nitin

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Nitin,

      Yes, indeed, we lead very stressful lives. The stress is completely unnecessary. It comes from having an image of ourselves in our minds. This separates us from our true nature, and everything we do and feel is for the complex web of beliefs and stories about the false image. This is root of stress and fear and all the emotions we consider negative.

      When we can learn to be conscious, and to let go, we can be happy with less, as you point out, because we no longer look for completion in things and accomplishments and validation and control.

      You’re completely right that many creative activities reduce our stress, and this is because in these activities we are closer to Being. Our minds are more relaxed, we are not identified with thinking.

      Thanks for the insights, Nitin. I hope you are well!

      Namaste,
      k

      Reply
  3. Lisa (mommymystic)

    Kaushik – How lucky your friend has you in his life.

    I also wanted to let you know that I did in fact read your last post on World Trends with great interest. Structures and paradigms are of great interest to me, including how they play out in politics and economics. I actually didn’t comment though, because I am still not sure what I personally see is happening. I commented on this on Brenda’s post too. I am very hesitant to settle into a ‘story’ around what is happening. I am just not sure yet, where everything is heading. But it was an excellent, excellent post…- Lisa

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      I understand completely about “stories.” That’s why I have hesitated with posting “World Trends” for over a year. I’m not completely sure either, and I don’t want to make a mind-story out of it, and certainly don’t want engender more fear than there already is, but looking intuitively at structures and paradigms and sentiment, this is what came up.

      Your point is well-taken. We must be aware of our stories.

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  4. Patty - Why Not Start Now?

    What a good friend you are, Kaushik. To write this letter to your friend is such a gift, and there’s so much here to grab on to. “Letting go, ironically, is all about allowing.” I wake up each day and try to remember that. It is a good place to be.

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Patty,

      Thank you for saying that.

      There are several paradigms where our relationship to Truth and the universe and God emerges in a microcosm. Compulsive eating is one of them; depression is another.

      Yes, letting go is about allowing and watching, with love and patience.

      Thanks for your comment. I hope you’re doing well!

      Namaste,
      k

      Reply
  5. Happiness and Wisdom

    Suspension of judgement is absolutely key to letting go. Once i became aware of this, I couldn’t believe how many judgements I was making in a day. It’s a great exercise……as you go through the day, be mindful of the labels you assign to things – good, bad, pretty, ugly, etc. It’s very enlightening!

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi HappinessandWisdom,

      I like your domain name. You make a great point about judgment. It’s a good exercise to become conscious of the judgments we make, and then it is shocking how many and how often we judge. No wonder we are exhausted by the end of the day! Thanks, that’s a very valuable exercise.

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  6. Farouk

    nice post Kaushik,
    i agree that sometimes depression results of attachment and that letting go can be the solution in many cases, keep up the good work :)

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Farouk,

      Yes, it’s about letting go. Depression can be a portal to awakening because it encompasses in condensed way our relationships with life and living and mind and Being.

      Thanks for your comment.

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
  7. Janice R.

    Dear Mr. K.,
    For me once I quit saying to myself “I hate my depression”, “I hate my depression”, it started getting somewhat better. Everytime I hate something it always hates me back, much worse than I ever hated it.
    That hating thing can be a dangerous area to tread. When I am hurt, sad or feel powerless, I can say “dammit, I hate that”. And I feel like the hate makes me powerful or back in some kind of control. Then the hyper-control creates anxiety for me. It really does go around and around.
    So now ( and only occasionally can I do this) when I feel depression I have to ask myself “do I have an expectation that I feel is not being met”? Usually for me that is what it is, an expectation that I may be aware of or sometimes it is an expectation that I wasn’t even clearly aware of.
    So, I am back to dropping and erasing expectations, beliefs, judgements and the like. And of course practicing, the Awareness and Breathing Technique.
    Have a wonderful day, Mr. K. your articles are great!
    Janice

    Reply
  8. Kaushik

    Hi Janice,

    I’m writinhg this from a smartphone; the internet where I’m staying is out. )Our comment was wonderfully wise so – wanted to make sure it gets out quickly.

    “Everytime I hate something it always hates me back, much worse than I ever hated it”

    That’s exactly it. In my experience, release and wisdom comes from completely allowing, with love and patience, and without the inner lurching to for change or expectation. This is why many of us get stuck with spiritual practices–because in our lurching of desires and fears, past and future, beliefs and expectations, we cannot be fully present, we cannot inhabit the body fully, we cannot be aware of what is because we are looking for something different, and so we cannot fully release.

    Thank you, Janice. I hope you enjoyed Florida!

    Namaste,

    k

    Reply
  9. Janice R.

    Dear Mr. K.,
    When my daughters grew up and moved out of the house, I used to stare at the wall feeling completely numb. I thought I was clinically depressed, empty nest and all. Now, I think I was in a paralazed exhaustion. I took parenting so seriously and their health and well-being was huge to me. I worked myself to a nub.
    If I would of allowed my mind, body and spirit to rest at it’s own speed, I would of probably recovered with energy and spirit much more quickly. I was scared of the time and feelings that it took to shut down, rest and re-boot my brain, spirit and body. I was terrified of the abandonment of my girls and angry that they had so much more support and love than I ever did at that age. Of course, I thought they were ungrateful.
    I have never admitted this to anyone before. I have never said these words.
    Part of me wants to delete this message and just go in the other room and watch T.V., you know, think about it later. The other part of me wants to send this to you and allow the feelings to rise up in me, name them, am I willing to release?, yes, exhale slowly. Exhale, lovingly.
    Thank you so much for reading this, it makes it real.
    Janice

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      HI Janice,
      Thank you again for your openness and sincerity.

      I’ve had the same experience. Our tendency is to hide. When we are able to allow, with patience and love, we see that it really isn’t as bad as we had feared. I’m glad you didn’t delete the message. This openness is very helpful for others.

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply
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  12. Farouk

    if depression was because of something that the person badly wanted to get but didn’t manage to then certainly letting go is one of the good cures, thanks for the post :)

    Reply
    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Farouk,

      Not getting what we want bring about anger and sadness. Depression, the way I use the word, is mild to moderate clinical depression, and in my experience comes about when we suppress emotions, and turn them inward. Depression is essentially rage turned inward.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I hope you are well!

      love and peace,
      k

      Reply

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