Personal Development: Soothing the Mind


Personal Development: Sarbani Sen offers tips on a soothing depression and how to return to infinite possibilities.

When I go through my spiritual books, I see a lot of mind control suggestions. As if, somewhere along the road, we sometimes lose track of reality and go deep into depnegative thoughts. These thoughts can be embedded in real sad situations of grief and loss, but sometimes we tend to slide into a negative mind frame and mindset, and at the end of the day, we no longer appreciate our lives.

What happened? Maybe we lost someone dear, maybe we lost our job or had to close down our business. These difficult situations can lead to a depressive state. There are different stages in depression. The first stage is denial: of course nothing is wrong with us, we have every right to be pissed off after what happened and please do not disturb our almighty grumpiness. Then comes the stage of anger. We are angry against the world for what really is unfair and only happens to us. We are such victims and life is so unfair. Then we’ll try to bargain. Maybe there is still something we can do to avoid the horrible situation we are in? When we realize there is nothing more we can do, we slowly melt into a depressive state and sometimes get stuck there (especially if we start eating the wrong food for our bodies, going out a lot, sleeping less etc).

At some point, however, we have a wake-up call (maybe because we started asking for help, seeing a coach or people start telling us things). We then have an ‘eye opening’ period. This is a very slow process because our negative tendencies are still very vivid and take over very often. But we need to be courageous and keep walking in the right direction. How do we know we are in a depressive state? When the day hasn’t started that badly and yet we are a mess already. Picking on details and feeling insulted at every sentence we hear or just having no energy to do the things we had so much joy with before.

Rolling up our sleeves: When we find ourselves out of sorts we start to ask
ourselves: “What can be done here? How can I have fun again? When will I start
enjoying the great mystery of creation again?” We can start working on it with different
techniques. For one, we can try therapy, or sports, or even medication. Some people go deeper and start learning techniques and even become professionals at the art of analyzing themselves and others. If we still have these ups and downs, after trying so many techniques, then it might be a perfect moment to go back to spirituality, to start reading philosophy or shamanic books, to reconnect with ancestral wisdom and look at things from a different point of view.

I suggest meditation. It is an easy, cheap and quick fix! When we start meditating, we realize how much time we spend on bad habits, we realize where our thoughts go, what kind of thoughts we tend to feed. This is when we can start acting on our mind frame and our thoughts. This is when we realize that we need to put a full stop to bad mental habits. There is no middle way, no mercy. They need to be uprooted. We can start by ‘offering our negative thoughts to the universe’ if we want to. This is an easy technique of mental release. Just to offer all our angers, fears, jealousies, conclusions, judgments and decisions to the universe. One by one, we let them go. The next step is to actually meditate.

How to meditate? A simple way is to put your timer on five minutes to start with. Just close your eyes and focus on our breath. Just observe breath coming in and out. What is its smell, its taste in our throat? Very very very gently inhale – hold your breath for 5-10 counts and then exhale and stay empty for 5-10 counts. Do this a couple of times and then let go the natural rhythm of your breath. You can then just sit there and try to keep attention on life happening in your body. Soon you’ll realize your thoughts start to wander. Gently bring your focus back on your breath. No judgment, no stress.

This is perfectly normal, even the biggest yogi have that some days. So be indulgent with the ‘self’. Maybe after a few days you want to increase the time to ten minutes then twenty. At some point you will feel so much ease and joy that you will be surprised to want to go for half an hour and more. Try to keep an upright posture while you do this. Sit comfortably with your back stretched out straight. You can start against a wall and even on a chair if it is more comfortable for you. You can close your eyes or stare into a candle flame. Hold a soft, peaceful gaze.

When we meditate we clean our thoughts, we become very creative as the brain throws up all sorts of ideas. It might be interesting to write a few down (keep a paper and pen next to you). You might even get some answers to your questions. You can set an intention too. Some gurus or teachers will ask you to meditate like a mountain (see Jean Yves Leloup). It’s a very interesting technique where you actually become a mountain, breath like one and have its sensational world. You might want to sing a mantra, or just your own name (which is also a mantra and helps to reach more consciousness over the self).