This may sound a little insensitive – but hear me out.
Many of you know from attending our workshops, launch or reading About me on this blog, that I’ve suffered from depression in the past. It’s one of my ‘Why’s for joining Bets and Kylie in Elevate.
Every day I still ‘work’ on myself to maintain mental clarity. Sure, from time to time I feel down; think that people are judging me and I sometimes judge others and push them away; I’ll make poor diet choices if I’m premenstrual and I can be a down right bitch to my boyfriend. I get tired and can feel overworked and stressed not to mention tired and I feel angry that I’m not where I want to be with my life. I can tell myself I’m not doing enough, not being enough and not achieving enough. Blah, blah, blah.
I’m not excusing any of this behaviour but I am, more and more, conscious of how I treat myself and others and I’m getting stronger. I realise that I can’t afford to be depressed or deflect my negative ‘stuff’ on others when there are so many incredible relationships to be had with people, so many amazing opportunities if only we are open to them and so many laughs to be had when we surround ourselves with people who makes us happy.
And this philosophy was echoed this week when I took a trip to Tibet…or at least visited some Tibetan Monks here in Bondi Beach.
The Gyuto Monks of Tibet have been visiting Australia since 1994, giving us the chance to experience the ancient rituals and traditions that these monks have been practicing since their order was established in 1475. From April 6 to this Sunday, 22, the monks, who practice with the Dalai Lama, are here on their Infinite Present Tour running workshops, meditations and seminars on living in the present moment and leading a happy life.
One of the meditations I attended this week was on ‘Dismantling Depression’. It was led by Gen Lama and his witty translator.
One thing he kept saying in the session was allowing us to linger or wallow in depressing thoughts is self indulgent.
Ultimately I agree with this statement. It’s important to note that Gen Lama was not referring to severely and chemically depressed people but more our day to to day stresses and depressions we get as mine described above.
When I look at depression in this light and of it being a luxury it makes me more determined and focused to work on myself and stay ‘mentally tough’. How can I afford to be depressed when there’s so much suffering in the world? I would hope that those of us with healthy bodies and masses of opportunities – if only we open our eyes to them – show gratitude and take the old ‘glass half full’ or dare I say it, ‘glass full and brimming’ view of life.
My three biggest take aways were these:
1) Staying mentally focused and showing gratitude are powerful weapons in times of depression.
Feelings of depression will pass if we stay mentally focused on gratitude. Even if you don’t have many positive people or situations in your current environment, you can begin to change your situation by acknowledging and appreciating things like your health, wholesome food to eat, clean water, pets, friends and a roof over your head. When we show gratitude for things, they come back to us two fold. Gen Lama suggested meditating on the mantra, ‘This will pass’ when down and out.
2) Sad things happen and life is hard sometimes – for everyone. It’s how you roll with the punches that determines happiness.
It’s natural to mourn the loss of friends and family and it’s healthy to ‘feel’ through the raw emotions and let them play out but to also know that ‘this will pass’. Everyone gets stressed out and confused about their place in the world. That’s just life. The only constant in life is change and how we take those changes.
3) These Monks must be the comfiest humans alive.
Check out their flowing robes. Bliss. Happy.
I highly recommend getting down to experience some of the workshops, discussions and meditations of you haven’t already. Entry is by donation. There’s also a great photographic exhibition of them by a local photographer. It’s all happening down at the Bondi Pavilion until Sunday, 10am – 5pm.