We tend to see depression as the enemy assaulting us by trying to crush our spirit. Is it the enemy or it is rather a friend whose strength is trying to push us down onto the ground where we are safe to learn to stand again? There is no more safer place to be than on the ground, laying low forced to recognize the bare truths of our own nature.
Our nature with nature, felt again on solid ground.
We are programmed, however to see depression as evil and demonic....an enemy living in a place where our own minds turn against us, rather than as an honest friend guiding us to a place where we can learn to heal. We come from the ground, can we not go there to find our way again?
Our churning thoughts fight depression through intellectual struggles, theories, reasoning..... trying to unlock the key to the mystery behind our perceived falsehoods....what we believe others see in ourselves. The battle of who I am versus who I ought to be. Could it be that we are so busy battling the enemy we can't hear the voice of our own life speaking? How can you hear "I love you" when the intellectual battle is raging in deafening silence?
Our egos slash away outwardly at depression through denial, anger, entitlement that it can't happen to us....but mostly its a protection from the fear of someone recognizing our incompetencies, our lies. The winning ego believes it has to keep up the persona rather than plunge into the frightening darkness of the unknown even if there is a slight chance that peace could dwell there. We focus on our limits rather than recognize and acknowledge our gifts..... the gifts we were born with....the gifts which harbour our authentic voice.
Depression as a friend? It can be the ultimate in disconnection, but it doesn't have to be. Could we not allow this friend to help scrape away the plaster molding of the masks to reveal what Thomas Merton refers to as our "true self?" If the ego self inflates, and the intellectual self tries to clobber depression with theories, and the ethical self berates it unforgivingly....how can we ever scale it down to what is real?? True Self...bare naked, vulnerable, beautiful, imperfect, real and wrinkled!!! No falsehoods there..... I wonder if depression sometimes is the hand of our true self, pushing us down to the ground where it is safe to learn to stand again....to a place that smells, looks, feels, tastes and sounds real. Earth.
Paul Tillich described God as the ground of being. I like that description and it makes me think......maybe depression offers us an introduction to God? Maybe He's down on his knees sowing seeds into the ground and would like some company? Maybe if we meet him on our knees He will help us learn to grow inward and downward as a means of living rather than outward and upward?
And maybe, just maybe Heaven is found in the hallowed ground beneath our feet.