photo by ClintJCL

The heavier emotions are “heavier” because they’re more tamas, more inertia. This doesn’t make them bad – inertia gives us a consistent physical form, for example.

The key is balance. Life is a continual dance of homeostasis, of re-balancing the creative and destructive flows. Too much inertia and we get sluggish and lean towards dissolution. Dissolution helps resolve things but we don’t want the whole thing falling apart.

That tamas aspect also ties those emotions more into our bodily state. Fear, for example, is closely tied to the fight, flight, freeze response. We experience a perceived threat, and the body responds in one of those three ways.

Depression can be the heaviest of all. In some ways it’s not really an emotion. Drained of fire, Rajas, it’s a non-energetic mood closely tied to the body. It may also need a little different approach than healing other emotions. For example, it helps to resolve anger by giving it attention. Not by engaging it but by allowing the emotion to be there and seeing where it takes us.

But putting attention on depression draws us into it more because of its tamas nature. It feeds on itself. It’s easier to resolve by changing physically first, by getting active and adding energy. With a little perspective, then it can be healed the usual way. However, depression itself can make this more difficult as inertia brings an aversion to activity.

Depression is often tied to anxiety and heavier emotions like guilt and hopelessness. We may find that as we move out of depression, another emotional driver comes into view. Then we can use the usual approach to resolve that.

We’re in a season where many people struggle with depression. Most depression is a normal and temporary mood. Festive expectations, physical and financial excesses, SAD from too little natural light, and more can trigger it. Behind it is often stress, energy-draining emotions, and imbalance.
Keep in mind that everyone has different thresholds for stress and excess. We all need a little fun and socialization but we all have limits. Our history, karma, DNA (ancestors) and our sustained stress levels can set our thresholds.

Moving back towards a sensible routine, eating better, and getting some physical activity can help a lot. These are common New Year’s resolutions as they can help even if we don’t reach our goals. 

The easiest prevention is through transcendence and staying within our healthy physical ranges (activity, diet, sleep) to avoid or much reduce its severity.

Of course, this is for normal, passing forms of mild depression. A deeper issue can require professional support and treatment.

No matter how many people tell us Merry Christmas, it’s pretty normal to have mixed feelings about the whole thing.  🙂

Happy New Year!

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  1. Jim

    Happy New Year, David, and thank you for this article. A lot of good pointers on getting ourselves out of a funk.

    In addition to a depressive state linked to seasons, actions and feelings, there is also depression as a chief symptom of chemical deficiency.

    This one can be tricky to identify because it is not improved by therapy or meditation. Both of those approaches work on understanding and clearing the mind and emotions. Whereas a chemical deficiency is something that is rapidly addressed by introducing the missing ingredient. To do otherwise is like trying to understand starving, instead of simply eating. Nothing personal.

    The missing ingredient in this case is serotonin, a pervasive neurotransmitter. When there is not enough of it in our neural gaps, it is like a lamp energized but not fully plugged in, so that it flickers. The symptom of this is a consistent and pervasive depression, irrespective of circumstances or action.

    Once a sufficient amount of serotonin can remain in the neural gaps, by taking an SSRI, a Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor, this allows the nervous system to function normally again. So when such drugs are referred to as, “anti-depressants”, that is the main symptom they relieve. It has nothing to do with mood elevation or emotional manipulation or even transcending, rather it is simply restoring normal functioning to the nervous system.

    To help diagnose this, please see your doctor (an MD (medical doctor), PA (physician’s assistant), or NFP (nurse family practitioner)).

    Thank you!

      1. don salmon

        I’m sorry Jim, but at this point in the development of psychological research, there is simply not one credible scientific study that establishes neurochemical causation for any psychological disorder.

        That is not to say medications don’t help. They clearly do for many people. But I think that understanding the science can be helpful, and misunderstanding it can lead to much misery and confusion.

        Let’s say that it is true that in some cases, neurochemical causation is involved. How would you know in a particular case? If you have 1 million people, and give them a placebo, about 400,000 on average will be cured of even the most severe depression.

        The funny thing is, a very large percentage of those 400,000 people will have tried every kind of therapy, dozens of medication regimes, diets, chakra balancing and who knows what else, and when they got (without knowing it) the placebo, they swear that “This time I got the right medication”

        And the most amazing thing is, when the researchers or doctor TELLS them they got a placebo, they simply don’t believe it.

        Our psychological knowledge at the beginning of this new era of consciousness is still stunningly primitive. It is just beginning to expand in a new direction, but the purely quantitative, one-dimensional physicalist means of studying our psyches is not yet “transcended.”

        1. I suspect we may have a semantics issue here. If there is a chemical deficiency, certain ones can cause symptoms that are akin to depression. In this case, it’s not a psychological issue but a physical one. But to the person on the street, they’ll seem pretty much the same due to the mind-body connection.
          I’d also disagree with your opening statement – it’s a little too broad.
          But yes, I’d agree on the status of psychology. How can you determine illness if there isn’t a baseline for healthy? Normal is hardly healthy. (laughs)

  2. Phil

    Happy New Year David.

    My first time back online after a Christmas break and I see this post, when I very nearly wrote to you about this very subject before Christmas – a continuation to our conversation on

    Indeed as you write above, I found depression different to the other emotions as it defies target when allowing healing. In my limited experience, I’ve found other emotions, and the sundry energy charges/sensations that are their substrate, to have distinct locations and patterns. But depression is nebulous. It seems to envelop the whole subtle body.

    When I had a bout of depression before Christmas, I could only sit to allow healing and simply widen the focus/or relax all focus to encompass the whole experience. After a while, more distinct energy contractions, perhaps more akin to anxiety, appeared and I assumed those were more the cause and focused in on them.

    The depression, which was tied in with a burnout/an overwhelm, seemed to alleviate over 24hrs. In the past, having a history of deep depressive episodes and without knowledge of healing, I could be taken out for weeks or months with it.

    Regarding healing depression, I thought (before reading this post) perhaps the problem was one of width of focus.

    Actually, width of focus is still an issue with all healing here – remember the Whac-A-Mole analogy I used way back. I get a knot/contraction, for example in the solar plexus area, so place attention needed there, then contractions start announcing themselves in the face (laughs). Too wide a width of focus doesn’t seem to cut it in that I can’t seem to give adequate attention to diverse areas, so a back and forth Whac-A-Mole healing ensues (laughs).

    You raise the key debilitating point with depression in that it has a catch 22 bind – as you point out, and doctors too, it is easier to resolve by adding activity, but depression can rob an individual of the very wherewithal to get active in the first place. I exercise most days, but when depression hits, I have not the power to do much of anything. Depression can disempower an individual to engage in all life.

    When my recent bout occurred, I reasoned it must be unresolved ‘stuff’ and manifested as depression because it was blocked, but drained of rajas makes sense too. Even the elemental language fits: Drained of fire = burnout.

    Each situation may be slightly different. I guess an individual can only do what he/she can do should such a situation present itself. 🙂

    Oh BTW, Jeff Foster has a nice soundbite, perhaps simplistic but compassionate take on depression that I found helpful when looking into healing depression before Christmas, other readers may find it helpful too, or not. Anyway, here’s the link:

    1. Hi Phil
      Happy New Year!
      Width of focus is fine. Allow the attention to be overall, then it will be drawn to a specific location to heal something, then perhaps something else. Such things can be many-layered.

      For example, the energetic contraction on one level may be in one place but stored physically somewhere else. Or they’re inter-related. Consider acupuncture, where treating an energy point in one place eases pain somewhere else.

      Don’t worry about trying to manage the process or keep it tidy. Let the attention go where it’s led and it will heal what it can in that moment. And then on to the next thing. Most of us have lots of intertwined contractions on multiple levels. Heal what you can when it comes up.

      Burnout/ overwhelm mainly does just need rest, time for the system to process experiences and emotions. Transcendence can deepen the rest in that regard.

      And right – you do what you can with what arises. Learning some energy healing tricks and meditation can help move through things more quickly but doesn’t prevent them from arising. You want them to arise so they can be cleared.

    2. On the Jeff Foster clip, a agree that the burden is in the ego stories. However, unless there is enough detached presence, there isn’t that ability to see it as an invitation to let go of it all.

      Without that, it’s just the mind. Then this becomes another story about how it’s all just a story. That can deepen a depression rather then relieving it. Seeing the inner or outer world as an illusion doesn’t help depression. (laughs)

      Of course, there is the option of causing an ego collapse
      Tolle-style. But I would not describe that as an easy way to shift. 🙂

      To my perspective, the path of samadhi/ transcendence is the deepest, smoothest way home. Mindfulness without presence just increases mind. Samadhi increases presence and helps see through mind by going beyond it.

      Then the stories of the mind are seen through and fall away, not to mention healing the contractions that drove them.

      1. Jim

        “To my perspective, the path of samadhi/ transcendence is the deepest, smoothest way home. Mindfulness without presence just increases mind. Samadhi increases presence and helps see through mind by going beyond it.”

        Yes, Yes, Yes! Without continuous transcending, it becomes a real struggle against the domination of the ego. It all becomes quite personal, and self-centered. With simple mindfulness, there are worlds left undiscovered and massive opportunities lost.

        By transcending, we reach a point of optimal functioning, where both Samadhi and breath suspension are commonplace, even in activity. This greatly increases the life-span too, because the body machine processes so little fuel. 🙂

        The energetic equation also reverses, so that instead of being an energy sink, Darshan is radiated both locally and for vast distances. All of this hiding in plain sight, available to all who wish to get out of their own way. 🙂

  3. Jim

    Yes, Sometimes goes by the name clinical depression. Can also be a mix and match scenario with some relative depressive episodes mixed onto a background of the other. For that relative or PTSD induced variety, yes, meditation is great.

    This other is like an inherited lack. Depression vs. being depressed. Meditation (TM) is helpful with the inherited variety in an indirect way, simply because the nervous system gets more sensitive and any supplements can be greatly reduced, vs a non-meditator.

    1. Thanks.
      Meditation seems a fundamental. Because it touches source and heals, it raises the whole platform up and supports all types of healing and growth.

      Of course it’s not a panacea – it won’t heal everything. But it will help our ability to heal, whatever is needed.

    1. Thanks, Sunrise. Yes, there is research on various types of meditation for helping with various aspects related to dementia.

      Evidently, Alzheimers is an effect of inflammation in the brain, much as inflammation in blood vessels causes plaque buildup. Thus, adjustments to diet and lifestyle that reduce inflammation are very valuable. (Ayurveda is helpful there)

      Activities that encourage cognitive function helps also. Many seniors develop very passive lifestyles- use it or lose it.

      And meditation itself can reduce stress, improve cerebral blood flow, reduced latency, and so forth.

      Of course, the sooner the easier it is to treat. And I’m no medical expert – get expert help.

        1. Thanks, Phil.
          The approach i would take is to see an Ayurvedic doctor and find out the best treatment for their particular physiology. What works for one person may not be as effective for another.

          But yes, food can very much be seen as medicine and diet adjustments can make a big difference with various chronic issues. Often, they’ve been caused by what can broadly be called long-term dietary imbalances or deficiencies.

          However, it’s not as effective to experiment. Better to know what the imbalances are so they can be directly addressed.

          1. Phil

            Agreed, best to seek professional advice.

            It’s just nice to see that such health reversals have been evidenced. Most in the allopathic medical system aren’t even aware this is possible with dietary change. There’s still a huge disconnect in those spheres.

            1. Agreed Phil
              Allopathic medicine is very good with disease, broken bones and such but doesn’t understand systemic issues very well. Nor that there are different types of bodies that respond differently to the same things.

              “Food as medicine” is also considered ignorant and is a banned topic on TED. And yet, I was watching a neurologist talk yesterday about how she discovered the advantages of Ayurveda for Alzheimer’s, MS, migraines, and other neurological issues. It was more effective and much easier on her patients that many of the drugs. The drugs not only created side-effects, they were treating the symptoms rather than resolving the issue.

  4. Michael

    Hi David!
    I have suffered from severe depression. i have healed that and know some who also have (maybe interesting for Phil also, mental stories are driven by a charge behind them, so they are not the cause, digest the charge and the story is silent 🙂

    Meditation can help a lot!!….but i would approach that subject differently. Depression is a symptom..a result… it is a warning sign that we do not FEEL. you mentioned stress as a cause for light depression etc. but that is also a sign that we do not feel our boundaries (almost no one can, because our feeling ability is so shut down) and say no when we mean no.

    The most powerful understanding regarding depression came from Michael Brown (he has also worked with hundreds of people) and that was what brought me healing and a few others. And that is that depression is the symptom of repressed anger/rage/resistance. Of course there is a salad of other emotions but once the supressed anger is contacted and one digests that anger the depression feeling lifts very quickly…usually within days. though of course the whole thing needs some more time, but starting to digest the anger starts the healthy energy flow in the emotional body again and that quickly feels very uplifting and healing.

    Regarding Jims comment….the studies on which the serotonin deficiency is build up are not good and a lot of alternative practitioners are very sceptical about it. I have heard stories from people who had a so called “serotonin deficiency syndrom” and they have healed that with emotional work.
    We do know much less about this neurochemical profiles then we like to admit. Even Adyashanti shared a story where he was in an extremly blissful phase and they did a neurochemical profile of him. the result? They thought he must be extreme suicidal! 😀
    Our bodies are not just some lego bricks..there is much more going on.

    I work with these type of drugs on a daily basis and they have mostly horrible side effects and are not as effictive as it is often made to believe. They can be good to lift one out temporarily but are no solution at all in the long term as they suppress our ability to feel the authentic condition of our emotional body even more than we usually suppress that condition out of our awarness.


    1. Thanks, Michael
      Good insight. Makes sense. If we have unresolved emotions that have no healthy outlet, we repress them and disengage from them. But that cuts us off from how we feel which removes life’s richness. The combination of repression and flatness, not to mention the amount of energy needed to keep the lid on, leads to depression. Stuckness.

      Anger is also often a result of fear. Anger at not being able to control, get our way, etc. Yet neither emotion is considered “acceptable” in western culture.

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