“Vedic Meditation should not be attempted on its own to cure depression. However, it is an enormous aid and a great tool and the very great need of the time to bring to people of all cultures, western, whatever culture it may be, relief from this condition in which one feels defeated on a daily basis.”Thom Knoles
Despite the myriad advances made by humans over the centuries, depression is a condition that seems to be consistently on the rise. We can all do more, have more and experience more than our ancestors could have possibly dreamed of, yet so many of us struggle to find a sense of peace within ourselves.
In this episode, Thom explores the subject of depression and the role that Vedic Meditation can play in reversing the cycle of depression and anxiety-related conditions.
With depression often having serious and life-threatening consequences, Thom advocates a multipronged approach: appropriate professional care supported by Vedic Meditation to relieve the stress that brought it about.
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Anger With Good Manners
Two Flavors of Depression
Reversing the Vicious Cycle Through Vedic Meditation
Accumulating Distorted Memories and Maladaptive Reactions
The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety and Depression
A Feedback Loop of Mutual Enrichment
An Enormous Aid to Depression
Jai Guru Deva
Depression and the Role of Vedic Meditation
[00:00:45] Anger With Good Manners
Q – What’s the Vedic Worldview on depression, and can practicing Vedic Meditation help ease the symptoms and feelings of depression?
Depression is one of the most common psychopathologies, a pathology means a disease state, psycho means mind, so a mental disease state, prevalent today in all Western countries. It is far more prevalent in Western countries than it is in developing countries. That’s a very interesting thing.
Depression comes about in part because of our consciousness, being able to not see all great possibilities around oneself, and getting itself into a habit of boredom, and also anger. Some psychiatrists refer to depression as anger with good manners, very, very good manners, so not to bother anybody, but really kind of angry.
And depression turns itself into a feeling of great hopelessness and sadness, a feeling like you can’t get out, and you can’t get beyond it.
[00:02:02] Two Flavors of Depression
And we know one thing about depression, and that is that stress makes depression worse. The more stressed you become, the deeper your depression becomes.
Depression is of two types largely, and of course there are variants of all of this, but bipolar, which is where someone goes into a depressive state for a period of time, followed by a manic state for a period of time, followed by a letdown in a depressive state and bipolar conditions.
And then there is such a thing as unipolar depression, where one is just at the depressive pole of things, living a life of misery because of feelings of hopelessness, perhaps accompanied by feelings of worthlessness, perhaps accompanied by feelings of very low self-esteem.
[00:03:03] Reversing the Vicious Cycle Through Vedic Meditation
So we know that stress makes all of these things worse. Stress certainly does not make depression better, and we know that Vedic Meditation is the technique par excellence for removing layer after layer upon layer after layer of stress that has accumulated in the human physiology, affecting the brain.
When the mind conceives, and constructs, governs and becomes the physiology, and then the physiology feeds back to the mind, feelings of depression, then the mind, not being able to understand why the body feels that way, becomes further depressed.
Then this conceives and constructs and prints out even more depressive brain chemistry. And then that brain chemistry yields back and reflects back to the mind feelings of hopelessness and despair, feelings of low self-worth, low self-esteem. And you can see here, a vicious cycle gets started.
With Vedic Meditation, we can begin to peel away all the layers of stress, which reflect back to the mind the miserable brain chemistry state, or a miserable body, sets of body sensations.
Vedic Meditation should not be thought of by anybody as, on its own, a self-sufficient means to defeat depression, but it can certainly be an enormous aid.
[00:04:31] Accumulating Distorted Memories and Maladaptive Reactions
One thing we know about depression is, it becomes increasingly important, and very urgent, not to accumulate stress further.
You see, the thing is about stress; it’s not so harmful to have a stress reaction. Some big change comes, or you can’t meet a particular demand with sufficient adaptation energy, and you have a stress reaction. That on its own is not so bad for you.
Although we’d prefer not to have stress reactions in the face of situations which, by any objective standard, are relatively petty. And a lot of people do have stress reactivity in situations that actually are not worth having a fight-flight lifesaving survival style reaction, as if you’re being attacked by a tiger.
However, what really is bad is not to be able to release the stress, to have stress accumulating day by day. But when we get stressed in the moment, that’s not so bad for us. What’s really bad is when we accumulate stress.
When our body and brain continue to accumulate distorted memories of maladaptive reactions, then what happens is our threshold for becoming stressed gets ever lower. That means it takes ever-increasing or ever-diminishing levels of stimulus to cause us to feel stressed.
[00:06:14] The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety and Depression
And so when people are getting stressed many times in a day, every time they get stressed and accumulate that effect in the distorted memory in the cells of the body, the next stimulus has to be a much smaller challenge in order to make the person have a full-blown stress reaction. Until eventually one is having stress reactivity frequently, far too frequently, perhaps several times in every day, perhaps, maybe many times.
And then this becomes that notorious thing of anxiety, depression, where anxiety and depression seem to go hand in hand. Fear, depression, fear, depression, fear and depression, fear and depression together, almost in infinite frequency.
So, to break the vicious cycle, we have to have a cycle of mutual enrichment. We practice our meditation technique, remove the stress from the body, and then the body fails to generate that depressive stress state to the mind. Instead, the body feeds back to the mind feelings of comfort, feelings of joy.
Then the mind is uplifted by the body report, and the mind, as a result of that, produces more of the bliss chemistry, which then feeds the body and has the body reflect back to the mind those tidings of comfort and joy.
[00:07:50] A Feedback Loop of Mutual Enrichment
So when we are practicing our meditation regularly, we set up a feedback loop of mutual enrichment rather than the vicious cycle of sadness begets physiological-depression chemistry, which then begets more sadness, which then begets more of the physiological sadness and depression chemistry.
We have the opposite, the mind experiences a body, which is becoming progressively more free of stress. The body gives the mind those tidings of comfort and joy, and the mind then produces more bliss chemistry in response to this, and a cycle of mutual enrichment comes in and changes the whole scene.
It’s a very important thing that if people feel they’re depressed that they begin receiving, right away, help from either a qualified medical practitioner, or from a qualified and certified psychological therapist.
[00:08:56] An Enormous Aid to Depression
Vedic Meditation should not be attempted on its own to cure depression. However, it is an enormous aid and a great tool and the very great need of the time to bring to people of all cultures, western, whatever culture it may be, relief from this condition in which one feels defeated on a daily basis.
To have to wake up every day feeling defeated is really just the worst kind of experience.
And so, in addition to receiving help from our qualified medical practitioner or our certified psychology therapist, we should also add Vedic Meditation to the mix to give ourselves every chance to come out of depression as soon as possible and to stay out of that state.
This is my great wish for all of the people of the world who’ve experienced this, a psychopathology of depression.