7 Tevet 5767, December 28, 2006

Pay attention, open up and allow HaShem to speak His Words of Living Torah directly into your mind and heart...
Depression 2
By HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok. Copyright (C) 2006 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.

What I think and what I feel often do not coincide.  Sometimes I really want something very much but at the same time know that it is not good for me.  Sometimes I just want to do what I want to do and yet I am held back because I am told that such behavior is wrong and harmful. If only I could silence that nagging voice so I can be free to do what I want.

What I have been taught is right and proper can be an dreadfully heavy burden upon me.  How can I really pursue my every desire and still act in the way I am expected?  Better yet, how can I lighten my daily burden so I can run free in the wind and not have to carry my responsibilities and obligations on my back like a laden down work horse?

The desires of the heart can indeed make even the most lightest of burdens feel like the heaviest of sacks.  When we open ourselves up to a divided heart, we begin to experience divided loyalties and divided attention.  Long ago we have been taught that a house divided against itself cannot stand.  When the heart reaches out in one direction and the obligations of one’s life rigidly require one to move in another direction, this is the source of all kinds of mental and emotional anguish, and often is the source of depression.

Nature is indeed as profound as it is mysterious.  We see physical law state that the greater the load the heavier it becomes.  As this is true in the world, so is it true within us.  When head and heart move in opposite directions, the open space between them becomes a heavy void.  The weight of the void is what holds one down in the depths of despair, confusion and in a state of being lost. 

Only when one merges head and heart and acts as a single, indivisible whole can the void close.  Head and heart when united act together as wings enabling one to fly to the highest heights, feeling no weight whatsoever.  Yet, one cannot fly on one wing; one cannot soar without balance, harmony and graceful finesse.

I want so much that I cannot have.  I have so many obligations and responsibilities; if only I could be free of the burden, so can I lighten up to pursue my hearts desire.  This mentality is what leads to depression.  Depression is poison to the soul.  Depression weighs one down ever more so heavy than one’s obligations and responsibilities. 

The only way to fight depression is to face its cause and tackle it head on.  Only in accomplishment is there victory.  Facing depression is a very hard but doable task.  Yet, one must be willing to face one’s inner conflicts and then work on a practical and responsible plan how to address the issues discovered and deal with them with appropriate loving care. 

One word of warning here.  When one focuses only on what one wants instead of what one needs, one will never be able to overcome anything.  We ourselves are our own worst enemies.  We lie to ourselves more than anyone else does.  Addressing and solving depression does not entail hurting others, on the contrary, it has nothing to do with others; depression has only to do with ourselves and our choices in life. 

To solve depression simply requires one to embrace what is instead of pursuing what is not.  Long ago it was said, if you cannot be with the one you love, then love the one you are with.

One can overcome depression by addressing it, not avoiding it.  One must delve deep into the core of one’s being and find the true reason why one does not feel fulfilled.  One must be ever so cautious not to settle for surface excuses and placing the blame on others.

All too often we blame something superficial for being the source of our problems, when in fact it is no such thing.  Often, we place the blame on someone or something rather than make the strenuous effort to look deeper into ourselves to discover how our problems came about in the first place.  One who blames others instead of taking personal responsibility for one’s life and choices will never truly recover from depression.  For blame is like the wind, it will go from place to place and still never be settled. 

True, others can be a source of trouble for us, but this is only if we allow it.  When we choose not to flee and not to tolerate, we will then remain in a place and impose change on it.  This is the key to victory and the recipe for healing depression.  Only one who accomplishes will overcome.  All who just blame will forever know nothing but pain.
Shalom, Ariel Bar Tzadok

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