Is seeking God the answer to depression? Before you write this off as another Christian advertisement, please read on - because it's not.
I downloaded this free audio book a few days ago from the National Institute of Mental Health about Depression
in men. I was shocked to find that I had EVERY SINGLE symptom of Depression
they listed - not just some or even most. Here's a link BTW to the audio book. It was actually an excellent and eye opening summary of the subject, but please take the section about pharmaceuticals with extreme caution.
As a bit of background I had a split with Christianity at a young age (13) and became very interested and even rigorous with yoga, meditation and Hinduism in general. (This is not going where you think it is). In later years I've been trying to get back to a devotional belief system, but have frankly found Christianity and Hinduism both to seem equally as alien to me.
I've gone back and read some of the eastern texts I grew up embracing and found they didn't resonate the same way with me - and I've even been more put off with Christianity by the hideous actions and belief systems of the modern day Christian right. Although I know it's not fair to judge an ancient religion that teaches peace, compassion and kindness by modern believers that are manipulated into a bloodthirsty frenzy for any attrocity that puts geopolitical power or dollars in the pockets of their overloards - it's hard not to be put off. But what do I know?
Plus I've always been drawn to the mystical aspect of religion which is the actual experience of God rather than just belief and ritual, though I know Christianity also has it's schools of mysticism.
Back to my present situation, I've been feeling especially dispondant lately and often just go into the Barnes and Noble to read through any kind of book that can cheer me up or perhaps offer some small amount of wisdom or perspective. (They're amazingly far and few between)
One book I read a few days ago which really made me feel better was "When Things Fall Apart" by Canadian Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. This book actually is tough to read because it systematically strips away any sense of center or anything you'd like to cling to especially when you're depressed - and the result is confoundingly exhilerating.
However yesterday I came across another book that I've been reading all day now that not only has lifted my Depression
but has me positively pulsating with joy. It's a new book by Kriyananda that recalls Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi) cumulative teachings on the Bhagavad Gita. It's called "The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita: Explained by Paramhansa Yogananda, As Remembered by His Disciple, Swami Kriyananda".
I've tried reading many versions of the Bhagavad Gita in recent years, and they've all left me cold. This one is just absolutely glorius no matter what page you turn to (and it's a huge tome). I literally had tears of joy after reading this today (and I see I'm not alone based on the other rave reviews on Amazon). I can't tell you how great I feel to have discovered this fabulously inspired and written text (which just came out last year btw). After one day of reading, I feel that after years of feeling disoriented and confused about my spiritual direction I've finally come home.
This is not to say that my depression is cured or that reading these books would do a darned thing for anyone reading this (though I'm sure they might). I just want to share the possibility that sometimes spirituality might be the medicine we're thirsting for in the depth of our depression. And that especially in these unquestionably dark and menacing times, a strong spirituality and belief in goodness, God, or what have you might be the ONLY answer that ultimately works for many of us.
With the caveat of course to avoid anything that smells of dogma and doesn't make absolute intuitive sense to you and only you. God didn't give us dogma but he did give us our soul, reasoning, intuition and innate sense of right and wrong (and if I may say, longing to feel his presence).
If you're still trying to figure out my agenda after reading all this (if anyone actually has), I'd have to say its just to share the pure relief and joy on my part that the clouds have parted for however briefly. And that maybe I'm not the only one whose depression might be partially or fully caused by an extreme dehydration of the spirit.