Whilst working with a couple of clients to move past their low mood states such as unhappiness and depression, a quote from a spiritual teacher about depression and happiness came to mind that helps to explain how to break free from depression and other low mood states.
Jed McKenna, had a perspective on depression that made absolute sense to me when I read it, and perhaps the perspective may also make sense to you.
I pulled out Jed’s book from my library and opened the page where in 2010 I had bookmarked where he spoke about depression.
Here it is:
Depression is fear with hope removed. It arises as we discover that something we thought could be ours will never be ours…
…depression is when we realize we’ll never have it.
There is more in this quote about depression vs happiness vs freedom, but for now, I have pulled out only the relevant sections about depression.
Let’s look deeper into what depression is.
Depression is fear with hope removed.
So, to bring back the most positive aspect, hope, and create a better experience, you must remove the fear from your depression.
What is the fear in depression?
As Jed says.
depression arises as you discover that something you thought could be yours will never be yours.
What is the something that you want to be yours?
- Well, it could be something physical and tangible for you, such as your own house.
- It could be something non-physical and yet generally perceivable for you, such as your own enjoyable relationship.
- And it could perhaps also be something intangible and uniquely perceivable for you, such as your own enthusiasm.
It is when you experience not having, or not owning such outcomes or conditions, that states of depression or unhappiness are created.
Hence, it can be said that you seek happiness and other positive feelings in the outcome of your desires and wants.
It can also be said that happiness is defined by the condition of having as yours, something that you desire or want.
That is why when you don’t get or are continuously working and striving to get something you desire or want to be yours, you become unhappy.
And as Jed says “depression arises as you discover that something you thought could be yours will never be yours.”
However, there is a huge flaw in perception when happiness is defined by the condition of having as yours something you desire or want.
Why happiness is not in having something?
I ask you to really contemplate the following:
You desire or want something to be yours so that you can be happy, and that is probably because you have never had that something to be your own, and hence and again you desire and want it.
This loop of desires and wants contributes to your unhappiness and depression.
Also, contemplate this:
If you have never had that something to be yours, how do you really know you will be happy if or when that something becomes yours?
You don’t know, and you have no direct experience whether or not having something as yours will make you happy.
Everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.
— a quote of Jim Carrey, the actor, after he used the law of attraction to manifest 10 million pounds (7 million dollars) and then later becoming depressed. In this quote, Jim somewhat owned and experienced his definition of rich, famous and doing everything he ever dreamed of, but he experienced depression. Read more about this here.
Why you have depression.
Because you have been conditioned to believe that having something that you desire or want will make you happy, and you have convinced yourself that is true.
Past experiences have created conditioning for you which have created beliefs, which have created desires and wants for having something as yours to make you happy.
Some such conditioning and related desires and wants may be from your distant childhood experiences.
This form of long ago conditioning may be somewhat subconscious, subtle and you perhaps may not be aware of it.
However, the conditioning has maintained your desires and wants to date to have something as yours, and on that event, you will be happy.
Your other conditioning may not be subconscious, in that it is from more recent experiences which you remember that have created recent desires and wants to have something as yours which will make you happy
However, as above, you have no direct experience or knowledge that having something as yours will make you happy.
But you carry on making plans from your desires and wants, and doing things in life with a hope that you will have as yours something that will make you happy.
It is after making plans and doing things for some time and not getting your desires and wants, and then striving and further continuing your actions for your plans, that low moods and unhappiness are experienced.
As Jed says:
Unhappiness is when we worry about not having something
Not desiring anything yet being depressed.
I was informed by a client:
There is nothing about my depression that is related to my desires to have ‘stuff’…
…Depression is a black cloud that takes over your being and holds you hostage – it’s a feeling.
This perception of depression may relevant for you, however, consider the observation and question I posed to the client at a subsequent meeting.
You say you do not want anything but yet you say you are depressed. Would I be correct in saying that you do not want your depression [instead of it continuing]?
The reply was an immediate yes.
I then said to the client:
Then you still want something. You want your depression to go away. That is a desire or want.
The client understood what I meant.
I continued by stating to the client the possibility of an absolute worst case scenario where what they have been feeling as the depression continued for the rest of their life, but where I could show them another way of looking at the thoughts and emotions related to what they call depression.
I stated that this other way could help reduce the unhappiness and negativity around the condition and create other valuable experiences in life such as desires manifesting without having to do anything. The client became attentive.
The point is that depression can have negative feelings associated with it, but it does not have to be that perceptions such as a black cloud, are taking over your being. You are allowing the feelings to take over you and your happiness.
There is another way to perceive what is happening when you feel that you have depression.
That other way will at worst dampen and reduce the unhappiness and negativity around what you are feeling, or at best it will totally eliminate the dark thoughts and emotions.
Either way, the space should be created for you to have better days and new experiences.
What is happiness?
Happiness is a very subjective experience, meaning that your happiness will never be entirely the same as another person’s happiness.
Yes, two people can be happy about a moment of an experience in a life situation, however, the thoughts, emotions and sensations of the body would be different in both people.
So, happiness is a unique inner feeling and experience that you have, and that is why desiring and wanting something to be yours cannot make you happy.
If you have to have something then it is really your happiness that you want, and not for something to be yours.
That may not sound too profound, especially if you are unhappy or feeling depressed, and that is where Jed’s quote about freedom helps.
…freedom is when we realize that nothing is ours and nothing can be ours, so that, in effect, nothing isn’t ours.
How can you experience happiness or freedom without having anything?
If Jed’s quote means that if something that you want as yours will never be yours, you may ask yourself ‘what is the point of your life’, and is it not better to try to work to have something as yours, rather than accept that something that you desire or want for something will never be yours?
If you are having such thoughts read the following post before you continue reading below (click on the link, read the linked post and then come back here).
The human mind has thoughts which we often call intellectual knowledge, and we use them to create something as ours that we desire or want.
If all intellectual knowledge was aligned to your true desires, then you would not experience not getting something you desire or want, or if you actually got something you desired or wanted as yours, you would not then experience depression and unhappiness.
How do you break free from depression and unhappiness?
First, you need to break free from the thoughts and emotions from your conditioning that have created the desires and wants for something to be yours that will make you happy.
These desires may be conscious in that you are actively seeking them, or subconscious and probably behind you awareness of but creating what you do in day to day life.
You also have to accept that you have no experience that getting something, and especially that something to be yours, will actually make you happy.
In fact striving for such desires and wants could create more unhappiness and depression when you realise that you have spent decades working towards making something yours (e.g. making your life plans and dreams come true), and either, you never achieved your desires and wants but carry on striving to, or you achieve having the something as yours but it does not make you happy, and perhaps some form of low mood continues.
The last line of Jed’s quote which I marked is now relevant: “freedom is when we realise that nothing is ours and nothing can be ours, so that, in effect, nothing isn’t ours.”
And in that sentence lies the one biggest mistake that most people make when they try to solve any problem.
Once you know what that mistake is and what to do, you can then really start your journey to break free from low mood states such depression and unhappiness to create real and lasting transformation and healing in your life situations.
Read the full quote from Jed that I marked, as reading it in one session will help digest all of the above.
Depression is fear with hope removed. It arises as we discover that something we thought could be ours will never be ours. Unhappiness is when we worry about not having something, depression is when we realize we’ll never have it, and freedom is when we realize that nothing is ours and nothing can be ours, so that, in effect, nothing isn’t ours.
How to start your transformation & healing.
First, discover that one biggest mistake that most people make when they try to solve any problem, and also get another insight into freedom and no-thing being yours.