Taoist Views on Depression

Taoism was founded by Lao Tzu. He created this philosophy so that people can be deeply related to the nature or his surroundings. It refers to the power which envelopes surroundings; all things living and non-living. Some of his teachings and quotations are:

- " Be still like a mountain and flow like a river" = means that we, people, should go with the flow. And that is also one of the main teachings of Taoism.

- " There would be no love without hate, no light without dark and no male without female." = means that for every thing (whether living or non-living), there is always an opposite side or part of it. That belief is also called the Yin-Yang.

Depression, in the Taoist view, can be looked at in 4 levels of depth:
  • Spiritual,
  • Mental,
  • Emotional and
  • Physical.
At any level, depression is an inner conflict of an individual. Spiritual depression is not a health problem and medical science cannot deal with it. The other three types can be helped by various healing arts, because they are all connected to chemical and body energy imbalances.

In the simplest way of understanding, depression is an emotional conflict with the logical mind and physical/chemical hormonal balances of the body. There is a good chance that if you can logically and completely solve your own inner conflicts emotional and/or chemical imbalance can be significantly improved or even normalized.

In the most cases, depression is involved with hormonal imbalance, usually between the pancreas and adrenal glands. These glands can simulate emotions as physical and behavioral patterns. The brain can also secrete hormones to govern the emotions.

Note that in some cases, if you know why you are feeling depressed, it is harder for you on to work on your hormonal chemical balances. If you do not know why you are depressed, it may be easier to alter your condition with antidepressants, at least on the behavioral level. That may be related to unsteady blood glucose level, causing frequent anxiety. The former case is an energy condition of so called ‘broken heart’, or ‘Closed Heart Chakra’. The Heart Chakra is the bridge between the upper and middle Tan Tien.

Among the seven Chakras, the fourth Heart Chakra is the center that has the role of connecting mind and physical body. The Heart Chakra works like the fourth dimension (Time dimension). It allows the Mind (5-th dimension), the Spirit (6-th dimension) and the God (7-th dimension) to connect with the physical body.

Having a broken heart means, that the person is having difficulty harmonizing two existence’s of self, the mind (spiritual existence) and body (physical existence, the reality). The body will only manifest what goes on in the mind. As your mind is moved, according to the brain, hormones are released to physically express the feeling, in other words, emotion. Even if we assume that hormones alter your mood, the natural order of feeling is led by brain’s logical process, and only then hormones are released from the brain itself and other glands.

In order to deliver the logical (mental) stimulation to the endocrine system, the Heart Chakra has to evoke and distribute the energy stimulation by resonating. For example, a physically perfect person can logically determine that he/she is happy, but he/she might not feel that way and no glandular/hormone response is achieved. Another common example is in the statement saying that the brain is the most important sexual organ. Here, the brain includes both the feeling mind and logical decision making mind. The feeling mind does not come from hormonal emotion. It is the feeling before the emotion triggered/reinforced by hormones. It is the same energy the Heart Chakra resonates. In the Taoist spiritual teaching, the Heart Chakra is the center of feeling, love; not the Eros, but the logos.

Having the Heart Chakra functional means no conflict of mind or no miscommunication between mind and body. The body cannot fool the mind, or the mind cannot fool the body. When the mind is in harmony and when body and mind is in harmony, there can be no emotional conflict caused by hormone imbalance. The precise emotional manifestation supported by the glandular system is always voluntary and conscious, and they are the home work for us to get spiritual; they are not the conflicting or blinding factor with unknown cause.

The Heart Chakra can evoke proper hormone balance at once. In short, an individual with full functional Heart (Chakra) cannot be depressed in the true sense.

Historically, the effort of helping depression has always been either by psychological or chemical treatment. Often, one finds self in a deep spiritual escape route that eventually crashes for lack of a foundation, (accepting or understanding of the multi-dimensional existence of self).

By organizing the Eight Psychic Channels, especially the Chong Mai, the segments of energy sources that were in one unit, in one location, the Heart Chakra, can be restructured. When the Heart Chakra is mended, one gets another chance to attain harmony within one’s own mind and between the mind and body. And, it can be achieved with his/her clear wisdom, through all difficult experiences, and without losing one’s own mental activity or chemical influence. The Heart Chakra becomes like a time machine that puts all past (memory), present (reality) and future (spiritual destiny) in one place, and allows one to put them in perspectives. That is how depression is neutralized; through the perspectives.

Even if there is no way to mend a fragile Heart (Chakra) permanently, being able to see the truth of multi-dimensional reality, in a bird’s eye view, can aid one’s attainment of understanding, which in turn, helps to eliminate depression, which is mere a conflict within.

An interesting observation of metastatic breast cancer is that depression starts out from the Heart Chakra and affects the balance of the two glands - pancreas and adrenal gland. The pancreas is a part of the nourishing system of body. The adrenal gland is a part of the urogenital/reproductive system. After prolonged and strong mood swings, the stress of the glands affect the reproductive organs (uterus, ovary, etc.) and the immune system (a self defining system) and the absorption of self nourishing factors, both in the physical and mental level. Mental suffocation from fear, anger, sadness and insecurity manifests in the diaphragm which is at the same area as the Heart Chakra. Stress accumulating in the uterus and ovaries form some type of abnormal masses. When such abnormal activity persists, the lung takes the impact, but it can conveniently relocate the impact on the breasts with the help of a tense diaphragm. Because, the breasts are the nourishing organ by the mother for us in the past, and for others (children) in the future, and the lungs are sensing outer atmosphere and defending the frontier of self, the lungs can resist longer than the breast. If both organs are ready for cancer, the breast takes the impact first to retain life longer. When the nourishing fails, the defense fails next. When the self existence concept is not clear, the immune system is not clear about making boundaries between self and others (pathogen).

As a result, the stress originating from the Heart Chakra (awareness of self), depression, can eventually affect the function of self-forming/nourishing (digestive system, pancreas,) and self-maintaining/defending (immune, lymphatic and respiratory system, adrenal gland). The self that cannot exist strongly or breathe with (communicate or express) the outside anymore becomes a small existence going into a non-existence. And, the defense force gives in to the outer force or the existence of others. Such abnormal stress eventually moves to the marrow and brain which is the deepest physical and mental manifestation of self in the physical dimension.

So, in simple words, when you feel that you are suffering from depression, Taoism teaches on how to flip everything around. So you should get to understanding and acceptance of the fact that you should not suffer from depression. Instead you should learn to embrace it, understand it, accept it, work with it and modify your life accordingly, in potential to shift your life in a positive manner.

It is not easy to resolve depression in this manner, since it’s a dynamic process: full of practice, exercises, actions, philosophy, and life style modifications to balance out your nature in a full manner. But, at least Taoism gives you direction and means on how to move on this way.

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