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Depression and Meditation

Peter
USA

Question

I've been diagnosed and hospitalized at times for depression and anxiety. Not suicidal. Am hospitalized because I am not able to take care of myself.

Part of the symptoms of depression is fatigue or in my case exhaustion. When I meditate I fall asleep very quicky, wake up exhausted or I'll sit quietly sometimes for an hour or two. Feeling nothing. But I find that a short time after meditating I will feel angry or sad (all the symptoms of depression) I don't know if I am meditating correctly.

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Peter,

I'm sorry to hear of this difficulty you're experiencing. I applaud you, however, for sticking with your meditation practice despite the difficulties.

Since I don't know which meditation technique you practice, if any, I can't comment on whether you're practicing correctly. But here are a few ideas that might help.

  1. Pick up your energy level before you sit for meditation. If you know the Energization Exercises, practice them. If you don't, get the DVD or booklet and start. Better still, come to The Expanding Light retreat and not only learn them in person, but also build some momentum through the daily group practices.
  2. Practice an affirmation for a few minutes, maybe quite a few minutes, as you begin your meditation. The affirmation should be positive and energetic. Here is a useful article on how to practice effectively.
  3. Keep your meditations dynamic. Don't let your energy drop. If that means that you meditate only for 10 minutes at a time, well, 10 minutes with dynamic energy is much better than an hour or two without energy.
  4. If you find your energy dropping, but really want to continue meditating, go back to your affirmation for a while before you resume meditating. Or do some Double Breaths: a short, sharp inhalation followed by a long, strong inhalation, through the nose; then a short, sharp exhalation, followed by a long, strong exhalation, through nose and mouth.
  5. Regularly check your posture during meditation: Are you sitting up tall, away from any back support, with your chest a bit lifted and shoulders back? Such posture will help you.
  6. Behind closed eyelids, keep your gaze turned to the spiritual eye, the point between the eyebrows. The more you focus at that point - comfortably, not straining your eye muscles - and bring energy to that point, the less vulnerable you'll be to depression. You're not trying to see anything this way; it just brings your energy and awareness to a higher level.

In short, get creative. Don't let your meditations become routine; change them up regularly if that's what it takes to avoid falling back into what's been happening for you.

Don't give up; you can do it.

Blessings on your practice,

Gyandev

 

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