13 January 2010


Hello Ed,

I feel depressed, I cannot find an escape to it. I'm not sure
going deeper can help me, or I don't know how to do it.
I'm not even able to work.



The answer for depression is not meditation, but medication.

I know these things as I have functioned as a psychologist for over 20 years and a teacher of Zen and meditation for over 30 years. 

Depression can be chemical in nature and it can be a thought process. Actually, they are closely related. You would not meditate on food to cure hunger, you would eat. Similarly, medication can ameliorate the chemical depression.

Go to a doctor and get an antidepressant, such as Celexa or Lexapro, or some of the newer ones which are more costly. Then, after the depression lifts, reengage in self-inquiry.

Anyway, keep me informed. 

Lots of spiritual people will offer their method instead of self-inquiry or medication, but if the depression persists despite self-inquiry, try medication.


  1. dear J,

    The sensation or feeling or state that you are calling depression will change, you can be absolutely sure of that! Take comfort in that fact.
    What action/medication or whatever you choose to do in that moment will be whatever you deemed as fit....take comfort in that!
    You are love dear J....and as the first poster said..hang it there!
    And for this moment being shared..a big hug (())

  2. I wish not acquiesce in on it. I regard as nice post. Specially the appellation attracted me to read the whole story.

  3. What are the differences between clinical depression and feeling existential suffering, or "heart hurt" of being separated from truth and love?

  4. Depression is a very complicated subject, far too complicated to be explained in a few words.

    Let's just say mood disorders can be chemical or thought caused, and can be triggered by events, such as a loss, or endogenous, which means there is no external trigger.

    Some people think spiritual practices can fix depression. Sometimes they can, and sometimes not. Not all mental disorders can be fixed by talk psychotherapy or practices, just as cancer and many organic disorders can't be fixed by talking therapy or meditation.

    For some reason though, lots of spiritual people believe the mind can cause and cure anything. They are wrong. Mind is relatively superficial compared to the gross body and also compared to pre-conscious beingness.

    I have written a book on how lots of spiritual people try to use spiritual techniques to escape mental problems. It is in the psychoanalysis section of the website: http://itisnotreal.com. It does not work well for that purpose. It can work for a short time, but a good many mental disorders, such as anxiety or most depressive mood disorders are best treated with medication and then some technique, such as talk therapy or meditation.

    Other disorders are harder to cure by any means: schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorders, manic depression and personality disorders.

    There are lots of professional "spiritual" people out there who will try to sell you their techniques for fixing depression, etc., which may or may not work--but likely not.

    But medication is very fast, and if the depression is primarily a medical condition, it will begin to resolve in a week or two, and can completely resolve in two or three months to six months. Sometimes you have to try various medication protocols. I am astounded though by the number of spiritual people who fear medications and think they can power out of the depression by some sort of technique.

    After the mood disorder remits somewhat using medication, then you can do real self-inquiry as opposed to using self-inquiry to avoid depression.

    Now you posed the question in terms of a hypothetical clinical depression and an "existential" depression. These are not the proper framework for understanding how to get out of a depression. You get out by proper actions.

  5. "For some reason though, lots of spiritual people believe the mind can cause and cure anything. They are wrong. Mind is relatively superficial compared to the gross body and also compared to pre-conscious beingness."

    "1. Mind is everything. Nothing exists but mind. Mind creates everything, from the atom to the cosmos, from a blade of grass to a grain of sand, from an elephant to a flower and the scent of the flower. Your feelings, objects you see, your body, your aches and pains are all mind stuff. Everything is mind; everything!"

    Why shouldn't a perfectly empty mind (including also the unconscious part of it) be able to reflect perfection in every way possible, most likely through bodily health and well being?

  6. Seung Sahn Soen Sa died of diabetes complications. Mayzumae Roshi died of a heart attack. Robert died from liver cancer. Ramana Maharshi died of melanoma cancer. Nisragdatta died of throat cancer. Jean Dunn died of emphasema. Thich Tien Ahn died of brain cancer.

    They all died due to diseases of the body. What YOU are has nothing to do with the body or mind.

    The physical body has nothing to do with YOU.

  7. "The physical body has nothing to do with YOU."

    Absolutely, thank you for the reminder!

    Just a question for clarification:

    Everyone speaks of sat chit ananda these days as the ultimate. Robert and you on the other hand seem/seemed to be and eminate this profound peace. Is that peace the absolute of which Nisargadatta talked about? The "foundation" for Knowledge - and in its course Ignorance - to happen? The Parabrahman or Peace that passeth all understanding?

  8. You are absolutely right that spiritual practices can't just magically transform people and lift them out of depression or other mental illness. I have met a number of people who meditated or practiced self-inquiry or other sadhana for years but were depressed. Sometimes spiritual practice will help. Other times, it won't and can even intensify mental and emotional problems in some. Medication definitely helps a lot of people, though not everyone.

    For about 15 years, my sister, a beautiful and spiritual person, was routinely hospitalized for a mental health disorder. Then, she was finally prescribed the right medication, at the right dosage, and she was never hospitalized again and lived a normal, productive life.

    There is still a lot of stigma associated with mental health disorders. Stigma is one of the reasons it took my sister so long to get effective treatment. I think it's important that people don't assume that someone who is mentally ill is somehow deficient if he or she can't escape the illness through spiritual practice. Even the most spiritually inclined people can be affected by mental disorders, and it is not a sign of weakness to seek help through traditional channels like medication and psychotherapy.

  9. The absolute is beyond experience, but the experience of one who knows their true nature is happiness and peace.

    Right now I estimate that every third person in the world is claiming to be a nondual teacher of some sort, but I have no idea what their internal state is like.

    If you set the bar low enough, anyone can be a guru.

  10. Ed, I did a little research and was able to confirm your assertion that one out of every three people is indeed a nondual teacher of some type. Take a look at this recent official U.S. Census Bureau data:

    Total U.S. Population: 305 million

    Total Number of U.S. Nondual Teachers: 102 million
    Advaita Subtype: 50 million
    Zen Subtype: 20 million
    New-Agey Subtype: 31.9999 million
    "30-Year Students": 2

    Population of California: 37 million

    Percentage of all U.S. Nondual Teachers Residing in California: 99% (we know the math doesn't add up, but we got the same numbers after re-counting)

    Total Number of U.S. Nondual Students: 2 million (not including Oprah book club members who read The Power of Now out of a sense of obligation)

    You just can't ignore the facts. Nondual is this year's black.

  11. An ancient Chinese saying (over 3000 years old): In a company of three, there is always a teacher!