An Illness of the Ego
A depression is always unreasonable as it leads nowhere. It is the most subtle enemy of the Yoga.
All depression and gloom are created by the hostile forces…
Depression is always the sign of an acute egoism.
…depression is the worst of all illnesses and we must reject it with as much energy as we use to get rid of a disease.
All depression is bad as it lowers the consciousness, spends the energy, opens to adverse forces.
Causes of Depression
Depression is a sign of weakness, of a bad will somewhere, and bad will in the sense of a refusal to receive help, and a kind of weakness that’s content to be weak. One becomes slack. The bad will is obvious, because there’s a part of your being which tells you at that moment, “Depression is bad.” You know that you shouldn’t get depressed; well, the reply of that part which is depressed is almost, “Shut up! I want my depression.” Try, you will see, you can try. It is always like that. Eh, it is not true? And then later one says again, “Afterwards, afterwards I shall see … for the moment I want it, and besides I have my reasons.” There you are. It is a kind of revolt, a weak revolt, the revolt of something weak in the being.
…those who do not know how to accept defeat, who get angry and bad-tempered when things do not go according to their wish, lose their energy more and more.
Also, if you slip into depression, you cut every source of energy—from above, from below, from everywhere. That is the best way of falling into inertia. You must absolutely refuse to be depressed.
…one is almost constantly in an ordinary vital state where the least unpleasant thing very spontaneously and easily brings you depression—depression if you are a weak person, revolt if you are a strong one. Every desire which is not satisfied, every impulse which meets an obstacle, every unpleasant contact with outside things, very easily and very spontaneously creates depression or revolt, for that is the normal state of things—normal in life as it is today.
…like a child who sulks, becomes low-spirited, sad, unhappy, misunderstood, abandoned, helpless; and then, refusing to collaborate, and as I just said, indulging in his depression, to show that he is not happy. It is specially in order to show that one is not satisfied that one becomes depressed. One can show it to Nature, one can show it (that depends on the case, you see), one can show it to the Divine, one can show it to the people around one, but it is always a kind of way of expressing one’s dissatisfaction. “I am not happy about what you demand”, but this means, “I am not happy. And I shall make you too see it, that I am not happy.
From Where Does the Depression Come?
It comes from disharmony in the being, from a lack of receptivity to the divine forces. When you cut yourself off from energy and light that sustain you, then there is this depression … it is doubt, gloominess, lack of confidence, a selfish turning back upon yourself that cuts you off from the light and divine energy and gives the attack this advantage.
How to Avoid Attacks of Depression?
Do not pay attention to depression and act as if it was not there.
How Can Depressions Be Controlled?
Depression … and one is overpowered by depression only when one keeps the consciousness in the vital, when one remains there. The only thing to do is to get out of the vital and enter a deeper consciousness. Even the higher mind, the luminous, higher mind, the most lofty thoughts have the power to drive away depression. Even when one reaches just the highest domains of thought, usually the depression disappears. But in any case, if one seeks shelter in the psychic, then there is no longer any room for depression.
Depression may come from two causes: either from a want of vital satisfaction or from a considerable nervous fatigue in the body. Depression arising from physical fatigue is set right fairly easily: one has but to take rest. One goes to bed and sleeps until one feels well again, or else one rests, dreams, lies down. The want of vital satisfaction comes up rather easily and usually one must face it with one’s reason, must ferret out the cause of the depression, what has brought about the lack of satisfaction in the vital; and then one looks at it straight in the face and asks oneself whether that indeed has anything to do with one’s inner aspiration or whether it is simply quite an ordinary movement. Generally one discovers that it has nothing to do with the inner aspiration and one can quite easily overcome it and resume one’s normal movement. If that is not enough, then one must go deeper and deeper until one touches the psychic reality. Then one has only to put this psychic reality in contact with the movement of depression, and instantaneously it will vanish into thin air.
We may take the example of someone who has frequent depressions. When things are not exactly as he would like them to be, he becomes depressed. So, to begin with, he must become aware of his depression—not only of the depression but of the causes of depression, why he gets depressed so easily. Then, once he has become conscious, he must master the depressions, must stop being depressed even when the cause of depression is there—he must master his depression, stop it from coming. And finally, after this work has been done for a sufficiently long time, the nature loses the habit of having depressions and no longer reacts in the same way, the nature is changed.
How to Face Depression?
A smile acts upon difficulties as the sun upon clouds—it disperses them.
Another remarkable sign of the conversion of your vital, owing to Agni’s influence, is that you face your difficulties and obstacles with a smile. You do not sit any more in sackcloth and ashes, lamenting over your mistakes and feeling utterly crestfallen because you are not at the moment quite up to the mark. You simply chase away depression with a smile. A hundred mistakes do not matter to you: with a smile you recognise that you have erred and with a smile you resolve not to repeat the folly in the future. All depression and gloom is created by the hostile forces who are never so pleased as when throwing on you a melancholy mood. Humility is indeed one thing and depression quite another, the former a divine movement and the latter a very crude expression of the dark forces. Therefore, face your troubles joyously, oppose with invariable cheerfulness the obstacles that beset the road to transformation. The best means of routing the enemy is to laugh in his face! You may grapple and tussle for days and he may still show an undiminished vigour; but just once laugh at him and lo! he takes to his heels. A laugh of self-confidence and of faith in the Divine is the most shattering strength possible—it disrupts the enemy’s front, spreads havoc in his ranks and carries you triumphantly onwards.
To yield to depression when things go wrong is the worst way of meeting the difficulty. There must be some desire or demand within you, conscious or subconscious, that gets excited and revolts against its not being satisfied. The best way is to be conscious of it, face it calmly and steadily throw it out.
If the lower vital (not the mind only) could permanently make up its mind that all desire and demand are contrary to the Truth and no longer call for them, these things would lose very soon their force of return.