I have thought a lot about what I was going to write for this column. The subject of meditation
and depression has been giving me cause. As someone who has managed his own mood
swings for many years using meditation, I felt there were a few things that should be said.
There is some research that says that certain types of meditation may be beneficial in the
treatment of depression. There is, it seems, also a meta analysis that says that the benefits
of meditation are over stated.
Meditation is not a treatment for depression. It is a way of working with the mind, derived
from contemplative spiritual practice. It is not good for everyone. Where someone is
stressed, tired and in a negative place, then, like cognitive behavioural therapy, NLP, and
relaxation, some forms of meditation may help. However, anyone feeling low and non
functional should see their G.P..
If you become concerned about a friend or acquaintance, then attempt to engage with them.
It is not necessarily easy to tell if someone is depressed. Some people feel there is shame in
admitting to it. The idea of talking about it to anyone, or even worse, then taking the
medicine, is something they would rather not do. The shame to me is in the unnecessary
And it's not just the shame associated with mental illness. Shame, guilt and feelings of
unworthiness are part of the depressed state. This is where meditation can help. By giving
you the experience of knowing that you are not your thoughts, you are not your feelings.
They are things you experience , mental states can become easier to recognise.
Two years ago my life changed markedly and I had to make a considerable number of
changes. I did what was required. To begin with all went well, then I noticed a change in my
thinking. I was meditating, I was getting things done, but It was dark and unpleasant. It was a
few months before I realised what had happened. Having been there before it surprised me
that I missed it.
A visit to the doctor and a small dose of the medication later and the darkness lifted.
There is no shame in this and it is far better to be functional than not.
In the absence of references for this piece I will give a few opinions.
The mind is like a river, if you just go along with the flow, you are controlled by it. If you try
and dam it, dams silt up and can burst. Learning to watch the river flow, that's another thing
Meditation is a spoke in a wheel of spiritual practice, in the same way that tai chi hand form
is a spoke in a martial wheel. If you try to make a wheel of a spoke you are liable to end up
with a hoola hoop.