Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Depression Meditations

I found out in '06 it's likely I've had depression most of my life.

One of the people I live with has a similar history.

A number of my blogging friends are in the same boat.

I'm submerged in a medical treatment that increases depression.

I take medication but I realize it's, at best, a chemical life jacket; certainly not something that can remove the Drowning Sea of Feelings...

I'm striving for a spiritual cure.

Today's Excerpts:

"He was very sorry to hear of the condition of your dear sister. He would advise her to turn her thoughts determinedly and intelligently -- by that I mean unemotionally -- to God, realising that He is forgiving, that in one moment He can, through His Blessed Mercy, take away our sense of failure and help us to do better in the future -- if we sincerely wish to; to turn to Him in prayer and seek to draw closer to Him; and to accept His Will and submit her own desires and opinions to His Wish and plan for her. "There is a tremendous darkness in the world today, the darkness caused by mankind's going against the Laws of God and giving way to the animal side of human nature. People must recognize this fact, and consciously struggle against pessimism and depression."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, July 14, 1945, Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 115)

Let not too much reading (of the Sacred Word) and actions by day or night make you proud. To chant but one verse with joy and gladness is better for you than reading all the Revelations of the Omnipotent God with carelessness. Chant the Tablets of God in such measure that ye be not overtaken with fatigue and depression. Burden not the soul so as to cause exhaustion and langour, but rather refresh it that thus it may soar on the wings of Revelation to the Dawning-place of proofs. This brings you nearer to God, were ye of those who understand.

(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha'u'llah and the New Era, p. 92)

The death of Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, which occurred in Cairo on January 21st 1914, brought deep sorrow to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Speaking at His home, the next day, He said:

". . . No matter how much we want to console ourselves, we cannot be consoled. How good for man to be like this, so that the hearts of all the friends are attracted to him in every way. While in Alexandria, every time my heart was depressed, I used to go and meet him and at once my depression vanished. He was very truthful. He never harbored deceit and revenge."

(H.M. Balyuzi, Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 403)

Life, in all that composed its deepest values, seemed to have left me high and dry on the banks of its swiftly-flowing stream. Outwardly all was well but that inward voice that adds, "All is well indeed," was silent. I know of no greater disappointment, no more terrible depression than that which comes to the sincere soul who, seeking God, finds Him not.

(Howard Colby Ives, Portals to Freedom, p. 19)

In this valley he discovers the breezes of divine contentment, which waft from the desert of the spirit and consume the veils of poverty. There he witnesses the Day wherein "God will make all independent out of His abundance" with his outer and inner eye in the visible and invisible parts of things; he passes from sorrow to happiness, returns from sadness to joy, and changes depression and rejection into gladness and cheerfulness.

(Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 167)

"You also ask what one should do to 'handle depression and anger with someone' one feels 'very positively about'. The Universal House of Justice suggests that you call to mind the admonitions found in our writings on the need to overlook the shortcomings of others, to forgive and conceal their misdeeds, not to expose their bad qualities, but to search for and affirm their praiseworthy ones, and endeavour to be always forbearing, patient, and merciful. Such passages as the following extract from one of the letter written on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his secretary will also be helpful:

"Each of us is responsible for one life only, and that is our own. Each of us is immeasurably far from being "perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect: and the task of perfecting our own life and character is one that requires all our attention, our will-power and energy...."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, September 23, 1975, Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 90)