It is raining outside, and I have many chores to do, but I sit. A feeling I use to call depression, that I now call friend, has crept into my awareness, and we sit together. This feeling I now see as a gift, a gentle invitation to stop and just be. My mind goes to all the things I could use to avoid this feeling: food, social media, action adventure movies, mood and mind altering drugs, sleep, shopping and more. Instead, I use meditation to bring me deeper into this feeling until I find a point of peace and acceptance. Surrender. I am not magnificent in these moments; I am the low point in the day. I am the monochromatic cloud cover outside. I am the simple quiet room lit only with the low light of the grey day outside the window. I am the small one, the quiet one, the one with nothing to say and nothing to do. I am simple, unintelligent and plain.
But I am willing -- I am willing to be all these things because they are here and they are now. I once strove franticly for magnificence, beauty, attention and love, the kind that can only be found outside The Self. This struggling left me desperately empty. Then a gentle voice spoke to me, suggesting I look inward -- but I could not listen then. For many years the desperation and emptiness were my driving force, only soothed temporarily with the illusion of achievement, or drowned-out with drugs and alcohol. But one day I heard the gentle voice and I listened. This gentle voice has shown me incredible peace and joy I never imagined possible and so I trust it, even now as it has brought me right here -- to this day, sitting in stillness, feeling a feeling I use to call depression but now call friend.
There is quiet here, the rain gathers and gurgles out of gutters and drips on leaves and into puddles, everything outside is wet and tired. It is fall and the leaves are falling from the trees leaving the forest sparse and thinned. On days like this there is nothing for me. There is simply nothing in it for me. There is no hint of pleasure today, no wanting whose fulfillment could bring me comfort.
In meditation I ask: What does quiet have to tell me? What does a feeling I use to call depression, that I now call friend, want me to know? When there is absolutely nothing in it for me, what then? When I give up all resistance to being alone what is left? What am I? And in defeat what is it that rises to wrap the depression in unconditionally loving arms? What says yes to the low point in the day, what loves the monochromatic clouds cover outside? What is at home in the quiet room lit only with the low light of the grey day outside the window? What says yes to the small one, the quiet one, the one with nothing to say and nothing to do? What smiles on the simple, the unintelligent and plain? What whispers: "You are safe, you are loved and you are home" even on days like today when it is raining outside and I have many chores to do and a feeling I use to call depression, that I now call friend, has crept into my awareness? What could it be but gratitude?
Have a story about depression that you'd like to share? Email email@example.com, or give us a call at (860) 348-3376, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.