We are all living in a world of depression. That means many of us are susceptible and vulnerable to it, and we all may have experienced depressive episodes from time to time during our lifespan. As a matter of fact, depression has become an epidemic in the contemporary world we are living in, and millions of people are diagnosed with this mental disorder every year. This mental struggle is as old as age, and it is no respecter of persons. To illustrate, Sir Winston Churchill, the World War II British Prime Minister, had bipolar depression; Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel-Prize-winning author, had depression that led to his ultimate suicide wisdom.
First and foremost, do not stigmatize depression. The explanation is simple: once we stigmatize this mental disorder, we tend to not only deny but also avoid it; in the process, we may consciously and subconsciously perpetuate it. Once an individual is diagnosed with depression, it always comes back to haunt that individual. Why? It is because depression is a mental struggle to escape from the inescapable.
That is to say, if we stigmatize it
We want to avoid it at all cost, and we then strive to escape from it with many distractions in life, such as taking an anti-depression meditation, a dose of alcohol or drugs, going on a shopping spree or a vacation, All these distractions do not work because they do not eradicate the root problem: taking a medication to uplift a depressive mood only ends up in taking more medications; taking alcohol or drugs may result in addiction problems; going on a shopping spree may create debt and financial problems leading to more depression further down the road; going on a vacation with its planning and traveling may create undue stress triggering another depressive episode.
Depression is no more than a mental incapability
To confront or cope with the many life problems created by the realities of life. To free ourselves permanently from depression, we must not avoid it with medications or with distractions; instead, we must attain profound human wisdom.
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Why? It is because we need the wisdom to ask ourselves many self-intuitive questions to find out who we are and what we really want out of life. More importantly, we need the wisdom to understand how the human mind functions: that is, how it perceives and interprets everyday life experiences, transforming them into the so-called “realities” of life, which ultimately affect how we make our life decisions, as well as how we act and react in everyday life. Profound human wisdom may enable us to see the truths about ourselves, as well as everything that happens to and around us. In other words, we may see things as they are, and not as what we wish they were. Knowing the truths–separating them from the half-truths or even myths–holds the key to the art of living well as if everything is a miracle, which may free us from depression.
Why do we need Tao wisdom, or what is Tao wisdom?
Tao wisdom is the ancient human wisdom from China, based on the book Tao Te Ching, written by the sage Lao Tzu more than 2,600 years ago. This immortal ancient classic is make up of 81 short chapters of poetry (only 5,000 Chinese characters altogether) about a way of life and living in balance and harmony.
The first essential of Tao wisdom is to have an empty mindset with reverse thinking. In other words, to attain true human wisdom. We must, first and foremost, empty our minds of any pre-conditioned thinking. Such as the need to use medications or distractions to avoid or overcome depression. Instead, we should go “through” depression by experiencing its every aspect in order to fully understand how and why we might have depression in the first place. To do just that, we have to live in the present moment.
Living in the past or projecting our expectations into the future is inevitably the underlying cause of all depressive episodes. In addition, according to Lao Tzu, everything in this world is impermanent, and thus everything follows a natural cycle. Such as life is inevitably followed by death, what goes up must also come down. Understanding and applying this simple but profound wisdom to everyday life may make us see the futility of our “over-doing”. Which is doing more than what is necessary to achieve our life goals. And thus causing undue stress in our lives. That leads to distress and disappointment, which are the major elements of depression.
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Tao is neither a religion nor a philosophy
It is just a way of thinking, a way of living with simple but profound human wisdom. Going “through” depression with Tao wisdom may enlighten us so that we may think differently about our depression. Tao wisdom teaches us to embrace everything in life. Both the good and the bad, as well as the pleasant and the unpleasant, and then learn anything from everything. That is true enlightenment of the human mind.