All these things had already been raising several queries and questions in my mind as to what it is all about and after coming in pleasant contact with Swamiji in March 2013 I noted again that He has been stressing the role of meditation i.e. seva and sadhna to cure depression, anxiety, and tension related diseases in almost every one of His discourses. Not only for depression but Swamiji also stated in various discourses from the core of his heart that now a days children of small ages (chhote chhote bachhey) are wearing glasses which was not the case in ancient India.
Although I cannot list exactly how it happened but by listening to his parvachans regularly I started getting clues as to what depression was all about and also my queries started getting solved to some extent. Now together with the regular listening of Swamiji’s Vani I also studied the activities of some people who called themselves depressed and were taking medicines and also some relevant material on the subject. The effect of undertaking all these activities as a whole was such that I myself started feeling lighter and full of love for all and I also gradually realized that unknowingly I had also come out of some kind of depression which was not known to me because I was feeling mentally better than earlier and a kind of ecstasy started prevailing in the mind ever after.
Now what I understood and experienced is being mentioned by me in question answer way so as to enable more clarity for the readers.
Q : What is depression ?
A : Depression is a medical illness that causes a constant feeling of sadness and lack of interest in any activity. Depression affects how a person feels, behaves and thinks.
Depression can lead to emotional and physical problems. Typically, people with depression find it hard to go about their day-to-day activities, and may also feel that life is not worth living. The patients suffer from a combination of symptoms that undermine their ability to sleep, study, work, eat, and enjoy activities they used to find pleasurable.
Q : Why it happens ?
A : There are millions of chemical reactions in the human body that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.
An awful experience or a major stress can trigger a depressive illness, for example, the loss of a family member, a difficult relationship etc.
But how does it all happen? For this we will have to understand the overall functioning of stress and how it can lead to depression.
Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Not all stress is bad. All animals including humans have a stress response, and it can be life-saving. But chronic stress can cause both physical and mental harm.
There are at least three different types of stress :
Routine stress related to the pressures of work, family, and other daily responsibilities.
- Stress brought about by a sudden negative change, such as losing a job, divorce, or illness.
- Traumatic stress, which happens when you are in danger of being seriously hurt or killed. Examples include a major accident, war, assault, or a natural disaster.
- Different people react to stress in different ways. Some people experience digestive symptoms. Others may have headaches, sleeplessness, anger, and irritability.
The nature has made human body in such way that it can deal with the stress up to a certain level effectively through automatic balancing of several chemical reactions happening in the brain without causing any major harm to the body, and the body feels normal when the stress is over.
The climax appears when a person remains entangled in a chronic stress and finds himself unable to get out of it for a longer period of time and in this way the natural process of automatic balancing of chemicals as mentioned above is lost and an imbalance of various chemicals occurs which in turn disturbs all the various natural systems of the human body leading to various emotional and physical problems and in one word it is called “depression”.
Some people cope with stress more effectively than others. It's important to know your limits when it comes to stress, so you can avoid more serious health effects.
Q : Do Anti-Depressants Really Work?
A : There is a volume of research available on the lack of efficacy of anti-depressant medications. This research began over a decade ago and has shown that anti-depressant medications are not much more effective than placebo (sugar pill). The placebo effect creates an expectation of healing so powerful that it can actually decrease symptoms. Even though individuals with depression may get better taking these medications, it may not be due to the medication, rather to the placebo.
Q : How Vishvas meditation helps in coming out of depression ?
A : People who suffer from depression are able to benefit from meditation as stressed by Swamiji. Meditative techniques focus on practices that relax the body and mind. This relaxation can lift the mood and provide relief.
Now how does it happen needs to be elaborated. I have learnt and experienced from the words of Swamiji that depression is the result of identification with the Mind. Mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts. There is not even a single moment when you are not doing anything- physically or mentally. For years, the mind has carried on a haphazard reign over our experiences and emotions, continually replacing happiness with stress, satisfaction with anxiety. It can never stay in the present moment, never be content with what is here.
Main point to understand is you are not the Mind. You are the Master, infinitely beyond the mind's limitations. The mind, the thoughts do not have any energy of their own. They work in your energy.
As you meditate, the same energy that was earlier getting used up by the mind begins to freely flow up the spine. It happens automatically in Meditation. This upward flow of energy, starts creating chemical and hormonal balance back in the body which was earlier lost. As a result, you begin to feel healthier, happier and more balanced. All negative emotions such as anger, irritability, moodiness, depression, feelings of loneliness and isolation, begin to diminish..
I can firmly state that if someone follows the Swamiji’s path of meditation and broods deeply over some hitting points in his parvachans then he can gradually lift from the devil of depression by developing oneness and love for all, avoiding duality, understanding the role of seva and sadhna because all these factors mellow down oneself and the process of generation of positive chemicals begins and the depression like tendencies disappear in no time automatically. Believe me it happens.