How can we help a non-Krishna conscious person overcome depression?
Transcribed by: Suresh Gupta
Edited by: Raji Nachiappan
Question: How can we help a non-Krishna conscious person to overcome depression?
Answer: Ideally speaking, the physical reality outside should be replicated on the inner screen, which is our mind. The screen, or the mind, is meant to act like a window which shows us what is outside. However, at times the inner screen starts acting like a TV and takes us on a journey to the past or future or sometimes all over the world. That is when we get absent minded, which means we are physically somewhere but the mind is elsewhere. When this screen starts going to the past and shows us all the bad things happened to us, that is when we get depression.
Basically, there are two major mental disorders, one is depression and the other is anxiety. In depression, the mind goes off the path and depicts how multiple things have gone wrong in the past, and therefore how the future is also going to go wrong. In anxiety, the mind or the inner screen goes into the future, and is constantly wondering about what if things go wrong. This causes fear, worry and can lead to panic attacks.
Firstly, we need to understand that bad things happen to all of us. For some of us, more bad things may have happened. However, we also need to understand that good things have also happened to us without which we will not be where we are right now. The very fact we are living today means that some good things have happened to us.
Despite all of this, sometimes, our mind is somehow set to look only at the bad things that have happened. Hence, the key is, when the mind becomes like a TV screen playing only bad things, it is needed to get it back to the present. What has happened in the past is history and we should try not to think about it too much. Of course, it is not possible to not think about something. Therefore, we should have something purposeful to think of and something tangible to do. Therefore, in depression, if people have something which they like to do, which is not just casual entertainment but something valuable for them, they should engage in doing that. Often, depression is caused not so much because many bad things have happened in our life or their memories, but because we do not have a worthwhile purpose in our life.
A materialistic vision of life that defines our self-worth is based on our possessions. A spiritual vision of life defines self-worth not based on our possessions but by our contribution. There is a simple way to understand the difference between material and spiritual consciousness. If we are in material consciousness, when we see another person, we wonder what this person can do for us. Whereas, in spiritual consciousness, we think what we can do for this person.
Hence, if we can help the person find out what is it, they would like to contribute, that can be very helpful. These things should not be superficial e.g. just going to Disneyland for entertainment. We have to find out what would they like to be remembered for at the end of their life. That will give them something worthwhile to do. In this way, we bring them to the present and find a purpose for themselves in the present.
Slowly, the spiritual aspect can be introduced. Actually, we are all eternal indestructible beings. Bad things may have happened to us, however, we are much bigger than our situations and emotions, hence we do not have to be as affected by those. Then, we can slowly bring in Krishna. We have to make them understand that whatever happens, ultimately, God is our well-wisher who always wants our best. What we are is God’s gift to us and what we become is our gift to God. Hence, we have to look at the good things in their life, show them that these are God’s blessings and encourage them to make best use of that. If we can somehow help them understand that God exists and cares and that even if bad things are happening, good can come out of it, it will be very helpful.
In this manner, when we focus on small things, do things one by one, gradually we will realise we have done a substantial amount. Gradually, the depression will decrease.
End of transcription.