This article is part of a talk given by Julie at Light Omega on Sept. 6, 2009 called "Depression - A Spiritual Perspective." To order a CD of this talk, contact email@example.com
Beloveds, we live at a time when increased spiritual energy on the planet is creating a raised awareness of the values of the heart and of life itself. At the same time, it is bringing into consciousness all that is out of balance and not in harmony with these newly awakening values. It is in this way that it is possible to look at the increased incidence of depression in developed countries, which, in many nations, has become of epidemic proportions. In the same light, though from another world, we can look at the increased incidence of post-traumatic stress or ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ in military personnel returning from the 1990s Gulf War, the Iraq War, and now from Afghanistan.
What brings these two phenomena together is that they are emotional and spiritual ‘signals’ of something being wrong. One may look within the individual psyche to see what is ‘wrong,’ but that reveals only a partial truth. The awakening of the values of the heart creates a greater collision between the values of one’s humanity and the actual exigencies and ‘necessities’ of hand-to-hand combat and war in general. Similarly, the values of the heart awakening create an increased sense of urgency that the empty, loveless, or meaningless places in one’s life be filled with something real and something meaningful. In both cases, there is an interaction with individual psychological and spiritual motivations, and the actual landscape of one’s present life. In the case of military engagement, one can only wonder that there are not more post-traumatic stress reactions to the tragic and often unforeseen involvement in the killing of children and of innocent civilians during a military operation.
The values of the heart are those enhanced by the presence of spiritual light: peace, unity, love, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, and a desire to live in harmony with others. These values may come up in contrast to the outrages of war – the horrors that cannot be put out of mind or heart regarding what one witnessed, felt, or took part in. Though of less dramatic intensity and certainly of less violent impact – the meaninglessness of a life lived without the full measure of love, joy, or a sense of deeper connection with oneself or others, can also bring to awareness the sorrow of loss - of a hole that needs to be filled. At bottom, depression fosters a yearning for a spiritual, energetic, emotional, and relationship healing that can only take place if one is aware that it is needed.
The increased rise in depression in developed countries may, by some, be attributed to more proficient and earlier diagnostic capabilities, the availability of a wider array of treatment options including an entire pharamaceutical industry devoted to treating the symptoms of depression. Both of these are, indeed, contributing factors, but only address the symptomatic picture – the symptomatic expression of depression, not its cause. To look at the cause, nationwide or worldwide, one must look at the changing inner landscape of what people value and what they find missing.
Depression (and also post-traumatic stress) is a teacher, a signal, an announcer, that something needs to be addressed within one’s life that has not been addressed. It is a calling of the spirit for an increased awareness of what is missing. Although on an outer level, it may seem that what is missing is practical and tangible – such as a job, more money, adequate housing, or improved prospects for the future, on an inner level, at least for many, these may still only be ‘signposts’ to what the real cause of depression is.
Depression, as a teacher, tells us that something essential is missing within life that needs to be found. Often, one can fill the outer elements of life with a job, greater security, relationships with others, and still it remains. Because, as a collective human family, we still do not think of spiritual causes in relation to physical symptoms, we continue, for the moment, to look at the neuro-biology of depression as its explanation. We study higher cortical functioning, understand the work of neuro-transmitters, and think we understand what causes depression. However, the level of the physical is, without exception, activated by the level of consciousness in which spiritual, moral, and emotional values reside. Therefore, in an analysis of the future, we will not view neuro-biology as a cause of depression, but itself as a symptom. We will, at that time, look to the domain of spiritual energy and spiritual consciousness as the primary cause for physical and biological conditions.
For the present, we are still immersed in material explanations for a material world. We still explain the physical by the physical. As the world changes in its understanding of spiritual reality, depression, post-traumatic stress, and, indeed, all physical disorders will come to be seen to be energetically based, and new forms of healing will develop in order to treat them.
For individuals today, and before such a collective development takes place, it is important to understand the ‘signal’ function of depression and the wisdom of the body that is trying to convey something important from the soul. Though society may not be ready, individuals may be ready to bring their lives into greater balance and harmony, restoring to both the body and the consciousness a spiritual energy of love, hope, and unity, that for many has been missing for a long time and on a very deep level.