The mind makes us depressed and then makes us depressed that we are depressed
Life by its very nature is characterized by both good and bad. And when bad things happen, we naturally feel disappointed. But our mind starts replaying inside us the many bad things that have happened to us. Till we start feeling that our life is filled with gloom and doom — and that’s how it’s always going to be. And as that dark vision saps our hope, our energy, even our very purpose for living, we start sinking into depression.
Then our mind berates us for being too weak to face life’s difficulties. We start seeing depression not as a mental state, but as a character flaw. As we start condemning our spinelessness, we start feeling depressed about being depressed.
How can we avoid being trapped by the mind? By seeing things objectively. On the road of life, difficulties are like pits. When we start obsessively dwelling on life’s difficulties, our mind is pushing us into those pits. And when we start feeling guilty about having fallen into a pit, our mind is making us depressed about being depressed. Such depressive thoughts are typical of a strong affliction by the mode of ignorance (Bhagavad-gita 18.35).
While walking on a slippery road filled with pits, we need to hold on to some supportive railing. Similarly, while navigating life’s difficult times with a depression-prone mind, we need to hold on to some uplifting thoughts. The most uplifting thoughts center on the most uplifting reality: our all-powerful Lord, Krishna. He is our unflinching, unfailing, untiring benefactor (05.29) — he loves us always, whatever be our mental state. Rather than trying to directly counter depressive thoughts, we can strive to practice some limb of bhakti-yoga that keeps us connected with him. Thereby we can gradually transcend the mind’s malefic influence, including its capacity to induce depressive thoughts (14.26).
Think it over:
- How does the mind make us depressed?
- How does the mind make us depressed about our depression?
- When we are slipping into a depressive state, what can we do?
18.35 And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Prutha, is in the mode of darkness.
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