The Body as the Path Through Depression.

Via Benjamin Riggs
on Jun 24, 2013
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Hell is a state of alienation from the power of Being that substantiates life, God.

This is experienced as depression. Essentially, depression is a state of separation from the body. The body is the temple. It is the house of God. So, a life alienated from the body is a life devoid of meaning.

When working with depression, the emphasis should always be placed on the body. This emphasis is contemplation, which means “that which is done in the temple.” You will have to will your way through the laziness and sit. It is tough. You have to sit with diligence, coming back over and over again to the immediacy of the body.

As for the torment of depression, you must consent. There are no detours on this journey. You have to bring your awareness into the depression and be with it. Then something magical happens: Depression becomes a gateway to the body.

The body emerges from behind the fog of depression, as if depression was nothing more than a distant echo of our innate vitality. This vitality is the basic goodness that endows all of creation, even hell.

Here is the deal: Life is going to unfold regardless of my attitudes and opinions. I’ll never be asked for permission. So, the fact that it is happening is beyond you or I. But the position I take, in relationship to this process of expansion, is my responsibility.

The presence of this responsibility in our heart is the condition that necessitates free will.

I choose whether I will consciously participate in the expansion of my life or not. This is the only question we are ever asked: Where are you? Once we accept our journey as a mandate, we see that the world is born within our body—every moment of every day. We see life through the lens of disconnection, depression, and frustration. Or we see the whole of creation pouring forth from the goodness in our heart.

“It is life or death, so choose, and I put both before you.” ~ Matisyahu


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Ed: Sara Crolick


About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West. He is also the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA and a teacher at Explore Yoga. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist and Christian spirituality on Elephant Journal, and his blog. Click here to listen to the Finding God in the Body Podcast. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter.


7 Responses to “The Body as the Path Through Depression.”

  1. Laura S. says:

    I'm so happy to see this truth posted so clearly and directly. While I don't believe in God, I do believe in the basic premise of this post: depression is directly related to separation from the body. An embodied, spiritual awareness is the antithesis of depression. I have suffered from clinical depression most of my life. Even with meds, it did not become manageable until I started a meditation/asana practice, and that practice has made a phenomenal difference in my ability to experience a mostly depression-free life now. One important point I would like to stress, though, is that there is a very real physiological element to depression for many people, and it can't be meditated away. Mental/emotional perspective is, for many people, only part of the equation. While my practice has greatly improved my ability to cope with and manage depression, that alone is not enough. Brain chemistry plays a significant role. While it may be possible for an embodied practice alone to "cure" depression for many people, that will not be true for everyone. I would caution anyone who suffers from depression to be very careful about accepting the premise that if your depression has not been cured by your practice, you just aren't practicing hard enough. It is very easy to fall prey to self-blame for not solving all of one's problems through practice. But part of practice is self-acceptance and a reality-based acceptance of things as they are. For me, the reality is that my practice makes a huge difference. And so do my meds. I would not be taking very good care of myself if I were to give up either one.

  2. BenRiggs says:

    Thank you much for your comment, Laura.

  3. K S says:

    Thank you for this! I have had many times of depression throughout my life and it was much bigger than I ; the body doesn't want to override what the mind knows. The depression gets worse when your body doesn't want to change through doing.!

  4. K S says:

    I am so thankful for your idea's, I need to find that balance in my life!

  5. Judy says:

    Thank you, Laura! There is a young person I know who needs this message, and this really helped me to clarify how to help him. Bless you!

  6. Elena says:

    Laura, thank you so much for your balanced, articulate comment. I have suffered from clinical depression since childhood and know well the anguish of depression overwhelming the need and desire to care for my body. Which, of course, leads to deeper depression in a downward spiral to increasing hell and self-damnation. I too take meds though eventually they all stop working and a new one must be found–in itself a return to hell. I clicked on Elephant Health completely by accident. I was aiming my finger elsewhere. What a blessed mistake!

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