Source: Mindfulness and Depression
Over the years I have studied with many spiritual teachers and studied the writings of many others from all over the world. But the one spiritual teacher who was the most influential to me was an American from Alabama by the name of William Samuel. Bill was more than just a teacher to me though, he was also my friend.
Bill was a prolific writer and a generous being. He made it his life’s work to help others find the Truth so that they could live more fulfilling lives and thereby help others. I spent many hours and days talking with Bill via letters, email, phone and in person. I was blessed to be able to be a guest at his home in Alabama many times, staying at the little cottage, Woodsong, down behind his house. Bill and I would have long conversations about spirituality, life, love, business, food, physics, ancient civilizations and everything else that came up to be discussed. We took long walks in the farm fields around Birmingham to hunt for ancient arrowheads left behind by the pre-historic native inhabitants of Alabama. He and his lovely wife Rachel were far better at finding those arrowheads than I was and I still have one of those cherished arrows he found and gave me.
Many of the teachings you will find here have their basis in Bill’s teachings to me and from his books and essays. If you are inspired, you can find his writings, talks and books at www.williamsamuel.com.
It was always Bill’s admonition to me that I would be responsible to help others as he helped me. I have done my best to do just that over the years. I admonish you to do the same. We are all One Being. We are responsible to and for each other. We are here to help and to support one another. Nothing can change that fact.
Please remember this; especially in these days when selfishness, narcissism, cynicism and greed seem to be attributes to be admired rather than shunned.
I highly recommend reading the works of William Samuel. I promise it will be well worth your time as it was mine.
Often people write to me and send some wonderful questions. I have collected the answers that I have written to one individual and thought they might be helpful to others.
A moment of Enlightenment
Thank you for your guidance. I tried to do the meditation that you mentioned, but I haven’t been having much success. I think I only once got the feeling of “being the watcher”, in the beginning of a meditation, but it only lasted for a couple of seconds. It was a strange feeling tho, like I tried to step back and just be the watcher, and then like… I completely disappeared. I was just not there, I couldn’t find myself anywhere, but something was left there, that wasn’t me. It’s like they say – awareness was there, and I was not. Everything was gone, but there was something left, and that was awareness. Of course, I am not sure about this experience, may be I was just hallucinating it, but it felt like something real, at least the only thing that “happened” during meditation. I tried to meditate some more, but it feels like nothing happens and I’m just struggling through it.
That sounds like a wonderful experience. You began to experience your Self.
It is normal to try to hold on to your identity or personality even when you begin to feel the Self. But feeling as if you are nothing is part of the process. The next step in this is to completely surrender to the experience of nothingness as if you were melting or dissolving into it. It may feel as if you will die if you go too far with this but you will not. No matter what that voice in your head tells you. Just keep going until there is nothing left of ‘you’.
Everything changes once you do this.
Do not struggle with it. Struggling is like shadow boxing or playing air drums and expecting to get a sound from the snare.
The emptiness, nothingness is what is Real. The personality you call your name is just a hologram.
Just relax and watch and then surrender.
In response to a question about non-dualism
While it is true that meditation can perpetuate the illusion that there are two of you, I have found it to be very helpful in relaxing and dissolving all those things that are not who I am and just Being.
I am quite resistant to fundamentalism in any form, including non-dualism. I consider myself a believer in non-dualism but not from an intellectual standpoint. For truly there is only One writing this and it is the same One reading it. But the human intellect can get itself woven into any belief system including non-dualism. When that happens one can become pedantic. I am open to many different things and love exploring, so following one narrow path has no appeal to me. Maybe that causes my words or deeds to be perceived as dualistic or non-spiritual. It does not concern me. Self-Awareness never changes nor is it ever affected by any of that.
More about shadows and dissolving them and a sales tip.
Let’s begin with the meditation process.
Just asking these emotions/shadows/thoughts to leave will not help very much. They will come right back. The process I have described must be done exactly as written. You must learn to USE the shadows to define who you are. They are not who and what you are. So if they are not who you are then who are you? Once you have a clear sense of your real identity then you must surrender into that identity. That is when the shadows dissolve. When you really live that identity only then will the shadows will not come back.
If you are living as the Light that you are then shadows cannot exist in you. It is very simple. Not easy but very simple.
I will recommend 2 of my guided meditations. They will help you get started…. Leaving Behind the Darkness, and Walking Into the Light. These two mp3 files should be worked with every day two times a day. Then you will really understand the process.
So to your insights….
The physical world can be a very difficult place to exist. There is a great deal of pain and suffering here. I live in a 3rd world country and see it so much every day. I too am extremely sensitive. I am an empath and feel everyone’s feelings all day every day. I have had to learn to help when I can and let it go when I cannot. And to know the difference. It has taken me a long time and a great deal of suffering to accomplish this. You will need to learn this also. That sensitivity that helps you sell also opens you to feel suffering. You must always be compassionate but learn to step back a bit as well.
Depression will take a lot of work on your part to get rid of. You must follow all the practices in the book I put up at the website. All of them. If you really want to get rid of the depression then you must be absolutely committed to doing so. It is not easy but it will be well worth the effort.
This feeling of peace that came over you is a gift. A wonderful gift. Every time you feel it you must surrender to it. Just imagine that you are melting into it until there is nothing left of you. Ignore all other thoughts and feelings. Nothing…..nothing is more important than surrendering into that peace or into that love. Nothing. Not even your life. If you do this you will see the shadows dissolve very quickly.
Sales tip #1…. Be yourSelf. Be genuine. Care about the other person and their company more than you care about selling to them.
About having a busy mind and fear.
Oh my, your mind is so busy.
Take a few deep breaths right this moment and relax before reading further.
Now contemplate this…..
There is nothing to figure out right this moment. There are no answers necessary.
The Real You is not trying to cope. The Real You has no fear. The Real You is not searching. The Real You laughs at the human nature of you quite often.
Are you drinking any alcohol or smoking any weed? If so, stop for a while.
Now take a few deep breaths and relax before reading any further.
Look at the fear.
Look at all the things that fear is telling you.
Look at your reactions to the fear.
Is that who and what you really are?
The fear is lying to you. Everything is says is exactly opposite of the truth. So if you hear fear say something then you can figure out what the truth is by listening to the lies. Do you understand this?
If I say that black is white then you can know that black is black.
The fear is not your friend. The fear does not protect you. The fear is not any part of who and what you are. The fear is exactly the opposite of who and what you are.
Contemplate all of that this evening. Feel these things as you go to sleep tonight.
Surrender to the Real You, the Truth as you fall asleep.
When you finally live as the Self, the Being that you Really are, the fear will dissolve and will have no place in your experience any longer.
Forget all the concepts for a while. Just focus on experience.
Won’t just Being the Self be boring?
Believe me, if you just Be the Self in life it will be anything but boring. Life will flow and be magical. Things will work out for you as if all the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place each time you take a step forward. It will be amazing.
I tell you this from experience.
Watch the human you.
There will be more upcoming but watch the human self for now for a month or so. When you are ready we will move forward with this.
Remember, the closer you come to dissolving the shadows the more they will attempt to distract you and to fill you with fear and depression.
Don’t let them distract you. Everything depends on it.
This is what the shadows do. Just imagine all of these shadowy characters floating around you trying to distract you. And every time you react to them they get some energy. They love your fear and depression. It is like ice cream or chocolate to them. But when you recognize what they are saying and that they are not you they begin to lose their power. Then you can use them. “If they are not me then who am I?”
When you recognize your real Self and relax into It then the shadows dissolve.
Pretty simple. Not easy, but it is quite a simple truth.
You are doing fine.
Do not let these shadows have any more chocolate.
About the fear of surrendering.
Surrender is frightening to everyone. Dissolving into Nothing is scary to the one who says “this is my life”. The fear of losing control, losing everything or dying is a strong shadow. It takes a great deal of courage for the first year of doing this. It takes extraordinary courage to surrender, to let go the first few times. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.
You do not need to feel bad about being afraid. But you do need to ignore the fear and press on. To go ahead and dissolve into the Infinite no matter what the shadows scream. You must be willing to die to experience your Infinite Self. It is the same for everyone. Nothing can be more important.
Most people do it only when they have nothing left to lose.
It is certainly something yourSelf wants to experience, otherwise you would not have connected with me.
I can tell you a thousand times that you will be fine when you surrender, when you dissolve. But that will only get you to the edge of the cliff. Only you can take that step into the Infinite Self. Only you can dissolve all that you are not to finally Be what you Are.
But consciousness loves all, even the negative sides. So who is the one wanting to feel better. Isn’t it just mind fighting mind?
Just to be clear….
Gently contemplate this:
Conscious does not love all. Consciousness does not love at all. Consciousness Is Love.
There is a universe of difference.
Consciousness is beyond positive and negative. Both are illusions.
The one wanting to feel better is not who you are. If that is not who you are then who are you?
Surrender to that One.
In response to a question about an awakening movement in humanity at this time and about being Born Again.
The fundamentalist Christians in America always talk about being Born Again. But they miss the point entirely. They do not realize that you have to die first before you can be born again. They are too afraid to try that because they do not understand the true nature of Infinite Love – God.
So your statement is correct.
As you dissolve into the Infinite Self you will understand more and more.
But remember this important point:
Understanding follows surrender.
You cannot understand first.
You must surrender and die into the Infinite Self – God, without understanding the nature of the Universe or knowing what will happen.
Age of Awakening?
I see humanity evolving very slowly. I do not see humanity awakening for centuries. We would all like to think that our time frame is the age of awakening, the age of enlightenment. I do not see it but maybe I am missing something.
I see you awakening and that is all that is important right now.
Awareness of who and what you are. Awareness that you are one with all.
Awareness that you are not a human having a spiritual experience but a spirit
having a human experience. Awareness that you are Awareness.
Awareness of the Self is a wonderful gift. It is oft times confused
with Enlightenment because it is such an uplifting and freeing experience. But
Awareness of your true identity is only a step. Many people choose to stay on
that step. It can be very comfortable even though it ebbs and flows. The ego
also feels fairly safe here because it can still be a ‘me’ co-existing with Awareness.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying here. It is just wonderful and
perfect for many.
But if your heart leads you to experience Enlightenment then you will
certainly need to take the next step.
Surrender into what you are. Surrender into Awareness. Dissolve into
Awareness until you feel one with Awareness.
Imagine that you are a drop of water. You have thought of yourself as a
drop all your existence. You were born a drop and you grew up a drop. You went
to Drop University, you worked at Drop Corporation, you married a fabulous
drop and had 3 great drop children. You went on holidays to Drop World every
year and lived a good life as a drop. Then one day you went to a workshop and
learned that you were not just a drop. You learned that you were actually part
of something greater, something wonderful. You read drop spiritual books about
this and studied with many great drop spiritual masters. You became aware that
you were Ocean and not just a drop. Wow! Your life changed.
“I am one with the Ocean! I am not just a drop!”
Then one day your drop master took you to a beach. You both slid up to
the edge of the sea.
“Look at the sea now, “ he said,
“You are actually one with that sea. The sea is actually a vast Ocean of drops.
Would you like to feel one with that?”
You expressed your desire to do so. So he told you to slide into the
sea so that you can feel your oneness with the Ocean. You do so very slowly, a
little at a time. Finally you are completely immersed in the sea and you now
feel one with the Ocean. It is fantastic, it is blissful, it is peaceful. Then
you slide back out and stand with your drop master.
Day after day you go to the sea and you feel your oneness with the
Ocean of drops. You gain more and more insights, a greater sense of Self and
deeper feeling of peace. You are now able to share this with other drops that
Surrender into the Ocean of Awareness is all these things and much
more. It is a wonderful place from which to experience life. But it is still
not Enlightenment. It may be though that you wish to stay at this place and
that is just fine. Surrender into Awareness and feeling oneness with Awareness
will change your human life experience and the experiences of those around you.
Death of the ego, the ‘me’.
We must be willing to die to experience the Truth. Not understand about
Truth or intellectually study about the Truth, but die. Give up control
absolutely and completely knowing that you could die in the process. But you do
it because nothing is more important than Being, not even life itself. So
without purpose, without desire, without understanding, without knowing what
will happen when we give up all control, we die.
Maybe you will stop breathing; maybe you will no longer be aware. Anything
is possible. You will not know until you die. You cannot know until you do it
yourself. No amount of study or reading will help you when you reach this
point. There will be a million distractions attempting to stop you from doing
this. There will be very convincing internal dialogs that tell you that you
will really die, that you will be nothing, that you will lose everyone and
everything you love. No matter how much you feel you have prepared for this you can still experience fear, sadness and other emotions associated with death
that will attempt to stop you or to distract you.
When and if you truly wish to experience Enlightenment then you will
need to die. In Enlightenment there is no ‘me’ feeling one with Awareness.
There is only Awareness experiencing ItSelf. In Enlightenment there is no ‘me’
understanding Oneness, Peace, Bliss, Awareness and Enlightenment; there is only Oneness, Peace, Bliss, Awareness and Enlightenment experiencing ItSelf.
What happens after you do this? If I told you then it would put the
experience into the realm of your intellect. It would just make it more
difficult to experience it for yourself.
If you wish to experience the Truth, your Self, then just do it.
Sorry but I have not made a meditation for this. I can only help people with this in person.
I have decided to post my entire Freedom From Suffering book online here at the blog for everyone to read. It is not as pretty as the printed book or the electronic book but the words and essence are all here. I will post one chapter a week until all 8 chapters are online.
Of course you can always purchase the beautiful hardcover edition or download the eBook version in .PDF format.
Enjoy the book and accompaning meditations.
If you have any questions please feel free to post them here for all to see or write to me.
In the last few months I have received many emails from people suffering from depression. I had not planned on writing any articles here about depression but I now feel that it is a very important topic to address.
I have a great deal of experience with depression. I know it intimately. I spent 3 years in the most severe depression imaginable. Each night as I went to sleep I would pray to die before morning. Each morning I would awaken and wonder how the hell I was going to deal with another day in pain. I tried suicide but was unsuccessful. I spent a week in a psychiatric clinic and went through psychotherapy and was on different antidepressants for a period of time. Nothing helped. I could barely function in day-to-day life. I had a few friends that helped me with shopping and dealing with other personal affairs. I tried traveling but that did not help. I tried shopping until I had almost no money left and that was even more depressing. I was in a downward spiral into darkness that had no bottom.
People would tell me that I would hit bottom and then could start back up. It was obvious that those people had never been in severe depression. I knew that there was no bottom. Most people just did not understand. Even those with clinical experience. I had been a psychotherapist for many years and even I could not help myself. I had been deeply involved in spiritual studies and teaching for many years and none of that helped me either.
Then one morning I was lying in bed not wanting to get up and a thought came to me. I know intellectually that God is All and that in God there is no darkness. I know intellectually that I am one with God. So if I am one with God then there cannot be any darkness in me either. So if there cannot be any darkness in me then what the hell is this I have been experiencing for the past 3 years?
A light bulb turned on. This darkness, this depression is not me. It is not any part of me. So if this is not any part of me then what is it? The answer that came was that this was darkness itself. It was something other than me that had attached itself to me for purposes of its own. I felt something stir within me. Something good, something I had not felt for a long, long time; a glimmer of hope.
Immediately an internal dialog began. It went something like this;
“Of course I am part of you. I am your other half. We are one.”
“No, I think you are not part of me. I believe that I can be rid of you.”
“No, if you get rid of me you will die. You cannot exist without your other half. I am your friend. I am always with you. I protect you. You need me.”
“Well, I will take that chance. I would rather die without you than live with you.”
So with that I spoke out loud to it; “You are darkness. I know you now and you are not me. You are not any part of me and you never have been. You have been feeding on me. You have instilled pain and fear in me and then fed on it. You have made yourself appear so much larger than me. You have made yourself seem totally overwhelming. But you are not. You are nothing. You are a lie and the liar from the beginning. Everything you have ever done to me or said to me has been a lie. You have used my voice to speak to me but it was never me, it was you. I thought I was speaking to myself but it was you who told me that life was a dark and sad place. You filled me with feelings of being worthless and being unlovable. You lied. You are no longer welcome in or around me. You are no longer welcome in my life. Your welcome is taken back. You must leave now.”
Immediately the darkness dissolved and I felt whole again. I felt light and joyous, blissful even. I realized that I had been surrounded completely by a warm wet blanket called darkness. It had been comfortable and painful at the same time. It was all I knew. I had forgotten who and what I really was. I had forgotten what happiness felt like. But that was over now.
Then the most amazing realization came to me. This whole past 3 years of darkness had been an illusion. The one that I am, the one I felt now, had never been depressed. I had always been joy and peace all along.
I laughed and got up and started my day from that perspective.
The darkness kept trying to come back for about a year. I used the same dialog over and over again. Sometimes a hundred times a day. Finally it gave up and happiness became the norm.
It is still important even now to pay close attention to my beliefs, internal dialogs, feelings and emotions, to pay close attention to any hint of depression or darkness’ return. I still use the same basic dialog but it does change according to circumstances. There are also a number of lifestyle changes and thought processes that are helpful in getting rid of depression and keeping it gone. I have written about them in my book, Freedom From Suffering, and on my book on tape, Freedom From Depression. If there is interest I will add some of them to this blog in the future.
Please believe me when I tell you that if you are experiencing depression you can get rid of it. I promise you this. And if you need help doing so remember that you are not alone. I will help you as much as I can as will others. The depression will tell you that you are alone and that no one really cares and that nothing can help you. It is lying to you. You may not be able to see it right this moment, but there are people in your life and some you have not met yet who care and there really is an end to this depression.
If you wish you can speak with me directly by setting up a private session with me at this website.
Ever since human beings have been attempting to understand their universe and their true nature they have been meditating. There are hundreds if not thousands of meditation methods. Some are specific to certain religions. Some are designed with a particular goal or purpose.
I am going to share with you some simple and effective mindfulness meditation practices that will be easy to do and easy to implement in your daily life. In other articles I will share with you some other meditation practices that are more specific in purpose or for experiencing profound states of awareness.
Searching for Enlightenment is like searching for warm water while you are standing in warm water at a Caribbean beach.
Let’s define Enlightenment as the conscious recognition of your true Self. The One Self, the Divine Self, the Infinite Self. The Self that is One with God. You are this now. You have always been this and will always be this. So as long as you are searching you cannot find the Self. When you tire of the search and surrender out of exhaustion you will then find what you were seeking and always were to begin with. The search creates the illusion of two, the searcher and the One being searched for, when there really is only One.
There is nothing wrong with spiritual searching. It is perfectly normal. But if you are tired of searching and want, more than anything in the world, to experience Enlightenment, then this is probably a good place to relax, read, practice, listen and ask questions.
Spiritual searching can be quite addictive. It can lead us into dark corners, bright lights, ups and downs. It can be fulfilling and exhausting. Most spiritual seekers I have met over the years are quite happy searching. The prefer spending their lifetime exploring one or more spiritual paths. They would rather seek enlightenment than find it. There are many who believe that only the great gurus of India or saints of the past can attain enlightenment.
There are some who believe that enlightenment leads to instant health, wealth and magical abilities. I have not found any of this to be true.
Again, if your desire is to seek Enlightenment then this blog will be one stop along your path. If you are ready and willing to give up the search to experience Enlightenment then I will do my very best to help you.