A mental health disorder characterised by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life is known as depression, which can co-exist at times with anxiety. The difference between depression and anxiety is that depression causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness and reduced energy whereas anxiety creates feelings of nervousness, worry or dread.
Depression refers to a mood state where sadness, apathy and lethargy are predominant. In an interview with Hindustan Times Lifestyle, AiR Atman in Ravi, Spiritual leader and Founder of AiR Institute of Realization and AiR Center of Enlightenment, shared, “Spirituality can fill our life with peace, bliss and happiness. It can help us live with meaning and purpose. When we are peaceful and happy; when we realize that life is meaningful, that we have a purpose to realize, how can we be depressed?”
Gushing over how to deal with depression through spiritual healing, AiR Atman in Ravi explained, “Unlike religion, spirituality helps us differentiate between the myth and the truth. Spirituality eradicates the darkness of ignorance that we live in. It brings in the light of the truth. In this light of enlightenment, where we realize the truth, there is no space for dark thoughts of depression. Negative thoughts and emotions are replaced by positive thoughts and emotions of love, courage, hope, trust, belief. Spirituality leads us to the state of SatChitAnanda, where we experience Divine bliss because we live in the consciousness of truth.”
What exactly is spirituality? AiR Atman in Ravi answered, “Spirituality is the science of the Spirit, the Soul, the Atman. Spirituality leads us to realize who we are, who God is. We transcend the body, mind and ego. We are enlightened with the truth that we are the Soul and not the body, mind and ego that we appear to be. What is the Soul? The Soul is the power of the Supreme Immortal Power we call God — we are that very power. The God that we seek is not in temples or churches, but within us, everywhere, in everything. This realization in itself leads to a feeling of peace and bliss. We no longer feel lonely or alone - we are at one with this world, with people, with nature. It fills us with joy, love and peace.”
He added, “Spirituality debunks all myths. We realise that life is an illusion— a cosmic drama. Nothing is real. The earth is a stage and we are but actors who come and go. We must, thus, enjoy the show. Nothing really disturbs or upsets us. We also realize that everything that happens is because of our own karma, not because God is indifferent or cruel, or because of luck or chance. When adversity comes our way, when we are struggling or suffering, instead of being miserable or depressed, spirituality helps us rejoice because we realize that some negative Karma is being negated. It encourages us to accept responsibility, to surrender to what we cannot change. Sometimes, depression leads to suicidal thoughts but a spiritual person realises that suicide can never be a solution to suffering because our unsettled Karma would still remain and need to be settled. If we end our life abruptly, when we are reborn, we would still have to pay for our unredeemed Karma.”
Asserting that through spirituality, we overcome the misery caused by the mind, AiR Atman in Ravi said, “It is our mind that produces miserable thoughts that make us depressed. The mind is a thought factory that produces 50 thoughts a minute. We have to stop this bombardment of thoughts. Meditation, which is a spiritual practice, stills the mind. It makes it silent. This quietens the mind. To do this, we have to observe the mind. We have to watch it, catch it and latch it. When a thought comes, we must watch that thought, just like we watch fish swim in the ocean, so that we become the witness, the observer."
He dramatically concluded, “We have to tame the the monkey mind and make it a monk. We have to stop it from wandering. Every time it wonders pointlessly and wanders fretfully, we have to bring it back. If we look at the word ‘MONKEY’ carefully, we will see that it has EY at the end. What is this EY? The EY is the tail that is Ever-Yelling and Ever-Yearning. We have to cut it. If we cut the EY from the MONKEY, it becomes a MONK. We have to make the MONKEY a MONK. Once the mind becomes quiet, we become calm. We become peaceful and peace is the foundation of happiness! Spirituality, therefore, changes our life and how we look at it. Faith, belief, trust in the Divine — all pillars of spirituality— help overcome depression.”