by Donna Quesada: Consciousness Blooming—
One of my students from the college came to me and said that she’s been suffering from depression. I got a very clear sense that it was a result of not living her life in the way that something inside of her really wanted to live.
This is so often the case when we haven’t blossomed into our own consciousness, which for our purposes here, in the context of this article, shall mean living deliberately and authentically.
Generally, it is fear that keeps us from living consciously. And in so many situations, that fear is itself, the result of the anxiety which is attached to merely surviving, when someone else is taking care of your livelihood. In other words, when someone else is paying your bills, and there are strings and expectations attached to the exchange. This was my student’s situation.
We are all on a consciousness journey. We are growing like a little flower, into what we will ultimately blossom into. And it’s by degrees. It’s a progression. It’s not “a thing” that’s on one side of the wall or another. It’s not something that you turn on or off. It comes in degrees and is more often than not, compromised by challenges we face.
Listen to Your Heart—
And that’s why it’s so important to listen to your heart, as simple as that sounds. Those little three words “follow your heart“ were the most important ones I ever heard when I was younger and at a crossroads.
I love the way the Quakers describe this wisdom… as “the still small voice within.” They say that divine instructions are whispered into your heart. But in order to hear those instructions, we have to get still. We have to get quiet.
One of my own spiritual teachers once elaborated: “Don’t look for anything. All you have to do is find within you, your own sacredness.” Which is really just another way of saying, “Get still… Get into your heart. Get into what’s true and valid and real for you.”
Mostly… Just listen.
Courage is in Le Coeur—
But here’s the catch. In order to listen to our hearts, we have to have not only the courage to follow the instructions that are whispered there, but we have to be honest enough to confront what is there. Hence the problem of fear.
Funny that the word courage means heart in French. Listening and getting into our hearts requires a certain internal strength. It requires the daring to ask ourselves difficult questions like, Do I have enough faith to trust what I might find there? And, Am I ready to take a chance on what I hear? Or, Am I ready to assert my boundaries to those who are compromising me? Mostly, Am I ready to take responsibility for my own life and stop being a victim?
True courage also requires being ready to let go of all of the stories we tell ourselves that prevent us from grappling with those questions in an honest way—in a way that allows us to be authentic. In a way that allows us to understand why we’re not doing what we need to do.
The Great Cleanse—
And in that way, the whole spiritual journey is a kind of cleansing. This is the true meaning of purification. It’s not purification in the sense of some ritualistic bathing or confession. It’s purification in the rightful sense of letting go of all the stories we tell ourselves. It’s a release of all the crap we allow ourselves to believe insofar as it adequately masks our ability to hear the message in our heart. It’s a deliberate unleashing of the crutches we hold onto because we now understand that we need to walk freely and in the direction that is right for us.
It’s knowing that the crutches and the stories only get in the way of our ability to define for ourselves who we are and what we require for our own well-being… It’s knowing that if we’re not able to be authentically who we are, then the result will be frustration, followed by its downgraded version… depression.
All About Power—
Depression sets in when we feel powerless. It’s a kind of spiritual depression that consumes us when we’re not listening to the still small voice within. In other words, we give away our power when we’re not owning who we are.
But, when we own who we are, we are, in a very real sense, pulling ourselves in. It’s like the expression “pull yourself together.” Energetically, we are taking back those pieces of ourselves that we have given away in a lousy exchange. We have plugged into what others expect of us, thereby draining ourselves of our own life force. Even if there’s no monetary dependence, this energetic drainage happens through the everyday habit of looking for approval from others. This is just another way of “plugging in” to others’ opinions. But the result is always the same… it hijacks the message of our own heart. And that hijacking takes over our consciousness.
To Be Whole Is To Heal—
When we’re scattered around in a hundred places, we are anything but whole. But by pulling ourselves in, we become whole again. That’s all Yoga really means… to become whole again. By this definition, anything that genuinely heals is a kind of Yoga. To heal is to become whole.
It is to own who we are.
And when we own who we are, depression cannot live there anymore. It’s incompatible with a whole and complete and integral environment. And that’s what integral means—to be in one piece. This is the real meaning of living in integrity… to be integral. To live in a way that is consistent with your deeper needs and with that divine message that is whispered into the portal of your soul… your heart.
This also speaks to the importance of setting aside sacred moments each day… of setting aside time to get still, so that you can really listen to your heart.
And that’s the most sacred prayer of all… as well as the simplest one—“I’m listening.”