There are periods in my life where I’ve been faced with depression, mostly stemming from thinking too much. I over analyze and am reluctant in letting things just be. People are happiest in the moment, when they are present within that moment. The problem of depression arises from being absent, from thinking about the past or alternatively, the future, namely what could have been, and what we think should have been. Thinking about the future is somewhat similar: we want it to be the way we wish, but we have little to no control over it. Ultimately there is only right now.
What can I be doing right now? Sometimes we get enveloped in the moment, but it should always be in a positive sense. Playing an instrument, dancing, making love or taking in a beautiful scene. We could also be doing something productive instead of allowing worry, doubt or confusion to creep into our psyche. Taking control of the moment obligates us into self-mastery, to regulate our emotions and behavior that is most in tune with what we really want. Do I want to feel sad and depressed over something that happened in the past, or may never happen at all (future events)? Of course not.
We get pulled this way and that from pressing concerns and worries. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and it’s because we don’t allow ourselves room to breathe. I think the more healthy choice would be give ourselves such room, maybe not a sabbatical but some time to slow down (lay down?) and relax. We get pressed on all of our lives to live up to expectations set by ourselves, by others and society at large. If we don’t allow time for ourselves we abdicate control to societies whims, to matters at hand that has less to do with the core of our being than with external pressures. This is why alternative communities come into being, people want to escape or to create an umbrella of safety and support where they can find something that is more affiliated with their core beliefs and dreams.
This is easier said than done with those living pay cheque to pay cheque, those barely subsisting at all. I sympathize with the wage slave, they don’t have time to philosophize or to deconstruct what society is telling them they should want or should do. They don’t even have time to slow down and articulate their own thoughts and to even have a voice at all in how their lives should be run; they are slaves to necessity. Such a situation should be stamped out, we live in the damn 21st century after all. At the very least we can prune as much poison from our lives as possible, get rid of any unrealistic expectations until we get a stronger foothold and to associate with more positive things, it is in these safe havens, or enclaves that we may find refuge.
I find such refuge in books that inspire, the laugh of a loved one, the purring of my pet cats or the thoughtful comments by a friend. We need to find mechanisms for spiritual renewal, or face becoming some sort of animal, slave to our impulsive desires, defensive and ready to lash out. There is enough negativity in the world, we should’t contribute to or prolong it in our lives or in others. To be kind to one another, to help one another and to really listen to the voices of the voiceless, and most importantly … to yourself. These are the kind of things that give me pause, and that cause moments of gratitude for what I have.
This may give connotations of spiritualism, but it really is about pragmatism. There is only so much energy we have, and it should’t be wasted on the past or the future … as they don’t exist except in your head. There is only the present moment, and that is where it is decided if our lives will be lived well or not. It begins with giving time for introspection and reflecting on both the positive and the possible. To press forward and not to gaze into the past or a worrisome future, stand strong, be calm, and act appropriately.