ARVINDUS

Contemplationam

Depression

DEPRESSION

Depression is considered as something so widespread that few can escape it.1 It may thus be useful to shed more light on this problem through this contemplation. And for this etymosphy and esoteric philosophy shall be applied.

Etymosophy

In the psychological sense a depression is understood as “a sign of psychiatric disorder or a component of various psychoses, with symptoms of misery, anguish, or guilt”.2 Academic psychology understands it under the name of a “depressive disorder” as the “presence” of a “sad, empty, or irritable mood, accompanied by somatic and cognitive changes that significantly affect the individual's capacity to function”.3 Literary a depression is understood as “the action of pressing down, or fact of being pressed down; usually more widely: The action of lowering, or process of sinking; the condition of being lowered in position.”4 The word stems from the Latin ‘depressio’,5 meaning ‘lowering’.6 This Latin word consists of the prefix ‘de’, denoting a movement away or down,7 and the word ‘pressio’, meaning ‘pressure’8. A depression then can be basically understood as a decrease of pressure. Etymosophically this general meaning also applies to the psychological notion of depression. A depression in that context can be understood as a decrease of psychic pressure. And since pressure regards force a depression can also be understood as a decrease of psychic force.

Psychic Force

The term ‘psychic force’ here should be understood in the line of esoteric psychology instead of that of academic psychology.9 In the esotericism of Alice Bailey man is thought to consist of spirit, soul and personality, whereby the latter consists of a mental body, an emotional body and a physical body, whereby that latter again consists of an etheric body and a dense physical body.10 Now it is stated that the soul, or pure consciousness, comes to being through the coming together of spirit and the physical body as matter and from that it can through analogy be induced that the concrete thought of the mental body and the emotions of the emotional (or astral) body come to being through the coming together of soul and the physical body. Now where academic psychology defines the psyche as man’s mental and emotional faculties there does esoteric psychology define the psyche as the pure consciousness of the soul.11, 12 With regards to the aforementioned in esoteric psychology a distinction between the lower psychic nature and the higher psychic faculties is set.13 In figure 1 an overview of the above is given.

Constituents of man Psyche reference Psychism type
Spirit    
Soul (pure consciousness) Esoteric psychology Higher psychic faculties
Mental body (concrete thought) Personality Academic psychology Lower psychic nature
Astral body (emotions)
Etheric body Physical body    
Dense physical body    

Figure 1.

Above the term ‘psyche’ in ‘psychic force’ was somewhat elucidated, leaving ‘force’ to be elucidated here. In esoteric philosophy (and the corresponding esoteric psychology) a force is understood as an energy which is confined within a form, whereby an energy is understood as that which is impacting such a force.14 An energy is that which impacts a lower form while a force affects forms that are not lower. When for instance from the consciousness level an impact is made upon the emotions of a person we speak of ‘energy’ while when the emotions of a person affect the emotions of another person we speak of ‘force’.15 In general it is safe to say that force affects forms on the same or a higher plane than the form through which it works while energy impacts forms on a lower plane than that from which the energy emanates.

Thus psychic energy must be understood as that which impacts concrete thought and emotions from consciousness while psychic force must be understood as that which affects concrete thought and emotions through other thought and emotions or through the physical body.

Person and Environment

Depression was defined as a ‘decrease of psychic force’. Due to the two different levels of reference of the word ‘psyche’ such a decrease of psychic force could logically considered occur on both the levels of consciousness and thought-emotion. However since depression is considered to be accompanied by negative moods the first must be excluded since moods are found on the emotional level and not on that of pure consciousness. A depression then must be understood as a decrease of psychic force of thought-emotion. And since force was understood as affecting its own environment a depression can also be understood as a decrease of psychic thought-emotion affection on the environment.

Let us elucidate this situation a little. Every person is placed within an environment. The person and his environment interact with each other. The person affects the environment and the environment affects the person. This also goes for thoughts and emotions. Now three ratios between environments and persons are possible. The first is that of balance. In this ratio the psychic thought-emotion pressure of the environment on the person equals that of the person on the environment. In the second ratio the environmental psychic thought-emotion pressure on the person is decreased and in ratio the personal one on the environment is increased. And then in the third ratio the environmental psychic thought-emotion pressure on the person is increased and in ratio the personal one on the environment is decreased. This latter situation occurs with a depression. In a depression as a decrease of psychic thought-emotion force a personal psychic thought-emotion force has decreased in relation to its environmental psychic thought-emotion force. In such a case a person feels that his thought-emotion environment is too strong for him to cope with. This decrease can be caused by a personal decrease but also by an environmental increase of psychic thought-emotion force.

Causes

From what is written above it shall be clear that two primary causes can be mentioned. The first is environmental increase of psychic thought-emotion force and the second is its personal decrease. Environmental increase of psychic thought-emotion force simply occurs when more ideas and emotional situations are pressed upon a person than before. Most of us are experiencing such challenging forceful situations sometimes. Often it doesn’t take long before a new balance is found, however when such situations are prolonged and the person in question is not able to establish a new balance then this situation may result in what we call here a ‘depression’.16 This environmental increase of psychic thought-emotion force should be understood in its widest context, including the esoteric thought that thoughts and emotions are not only objectively pressed upon persons but also subjectively.17

The second to mention cause is a personal decrease of psychic thought-emotion force. A bit more attention shall be given to this cause, for the consideration of a decrease of psychic thought-emotion force as cause of depression may raise the question of where its own cause can be found. To answer this question it must be emphasized that we speak here of psychic thought-emotion force and not of psychic thought-emotion energy. The psyche under consideration regards the lower psyche of thought and emotion and not that of pure consciousness. At the same time however the consciousness is present in that lower psyche because the latter owes its existence to the coming together of consciousness (the higher and true psyche) and the physical body. Thus the lower psyche is so to speak being fed by the higher psyche.

Now it was mentioned that the physical body consists of the dense physical body and the etheric body. Of this twofold the etheric body is the one that is most immediately coming together with the consciousness, because on the vertical line it is placed the closest to consciousness, as figure 1 shows. Now this etheric body is also called ‘vital body’ and it consists entirely of streams of vital energy (with regards to the physical body) or vital force (with regards to the lower psychic body).18 And thus the psychic thought-emotion force is not only fed by consciousness but also by vital force. The psychic thought-emotion force is fed through the in its domain coming together of vital force and consciousness. A personal decrease of psychic thought-emotion force as cause of depression may thus on its turn be caused by a lack of etheric vitality or a lack of consciousness (or both).19

Solutions

In the previous paragraph causes of depression were uncovered. This will make it possible to here mention possible solutions to the problem. Because depression is a problem of the lower psyche, that of thought-emotion, it shall be clear that a transcendence of the lower psyche will be the most certain solution. Because then the problem is transcended. When an individual becomes polarized in the higher psyche of pure consciousness instead of in the lower psyche of thought and emotions he will not experience depression.20 This solution is connected to evolutionary development. Such a development is prescribed for all but polarization in the higher psyche is the result of a long and initially slow process which cannot be forced.21

Depending upon the point in evolution however it may be possible to feed the force of the lower psyche with the energy of the higher psyche. The making receptive of the lower psyche for the higher psyche can be done through relaxation exercises after which proper spiritual practices may be applied to bring about an inflow of the energy of the higher psyche.22 At the centre of these practices are (spiritual) study, meditation and service,23 but they may contain also well known practices like prayer and affirmation.

Where the cause of depression is to be found in a lack of vitality of the etheric body this vitality can be build up through rest, exposure to sunlight and a nutritious diet.24 This needs no further explanation.

The above solutions are directed at the increase of personal psychic thought-emotion force. Solutions may however also be directed at the decrease of environmental psychic thought-emotion force. In this case the depressed person is shielded from mental and emotional impressions.

Most of the above offered solutions shall already be found in academic psychological practices. Overall benefits of a proper diet, rest and exposure to sunlight are acknowledged, as well as the benefits of being shielded against stress invoking impressions. Even relaxation exercises are often applied. However because academic psychology thinks of the psyche as consisting only of thought and emotion, excluding it as being pure transcendent consciousness, it misses the application of spiritual practices. Thus the academic treatment of depression may in many cases miss crucial elements. And this is where esoteric psychology can complement academic psychology. Through its conception of the psyche as pure consciousness this higher psyche may be drawn upon in the healing of depression by prescribing spiritual practices such as study, meditation and service.

Notes
  1. Alice A. Bailey, 'A Treatise on White Magic', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Rule Ten, Astral Energy and Fear. “When we touch on the subject of depression we are dealing with something so widespread that few escape its attacks.”
  2. Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0), Oxford University Press, 2009, ‘Depression’, 6, b.
  3. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, Washington / London, 2013, p. 155.
  4. Oxford English Dictionary, 1.
  5. Ibidem, ‘Depression’.
  6. Oxford Latin Dictionary, Oxford University Press, London, 1968, p. 521.
  7. Ibidem, p. 485.
  8. Ibidem, p. 1453.
  9. See: ‘Contemplationam, Transsexualism and Transgenderism’, Index: 201907302, Transcendental Psychology.
  10. ‘Secret Wisdom Teaching, Triplicities in Man’, Index: 201308292.
  11. ‘Contemplationam, Sex, Romance and Love: Types of Attraction’, Index: 201001181.
  12. Alice A. Bailey, 'From Intellect to Intuition', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Ch. 8. “Psyche, the name of the soul.”
  13. Alice A. Bailey, 'The Light of the Soul', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001. “The lower psychic nature can be subdued, and the higher psychic faculties demonstrated,”
  14. Alice A. Bailey, 'Esoteric Healing, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume IV', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001, Part Three, Ch. VIII, Law V. “The forces are those energies which are limited and imprisoned within a form of any kind—a body, a plane, an organ, a centre; the energies are those streams of directed energy which make impact upon these imprisoned forces (if I may so call them) from within a greater or more inclusive form, from a subtler plane, thus making contact with a grosser vibratory force.  An energy is subtler and more potent than the force upon which it makes impact or establishes contact; the force is less potent but it is anchored.”
  15. 'A Treatise on White Magic', Rule Ten, The Centres, Energies and Rays. “For the beginner a clear distinction can be made between forces and energies by appreciating the fact that personalities affect us through the forces emanating from their form aspect, but that these same personalities, purified and aligned, can be transmitters of the energies of the soul.”
  16. DSM-5, p. 155. “It is characterized by discrete episodes of at least 2 weeks' duration (although most episodes last considerably longer) involving clear-cut changes in affect, cognition, and neurovegetative functions and inter-episode remissions.”
  17. 'A Treatise on White Magic', Rule Ten, Astral Energy and Fear. “We might therefore study depression in individuals and look at its causes.  It is caused by:
  18. 1. The world glamour.  This sweeps an isolated unit, otherwise free from individual conditions producing depression, into the depths of a world reaction.”
  19. ‘Secret Wisdom Teaching, The (Human) Centres’, Index: 201909091.
  20. 'A Treatise on White Magic', Rule Ten, Astral Energy and Fear. “We might therefore study depression in individuals and look at its causes.  It is caused by:
    […].
    2. Astral polarisation.  Just as long as a man identifies himself with his emotional body, just as long as he interprets life in terms of his moods and feelings, just as long as he reacts to desire, just so long will he have his moments of despair, of darkness, of doubt, of dire distress, and of depression.
    3. A devitalised condition of the physical body.”
  21. Ibidem. “e. Detach thyself therefore from the form side and come to Me, so dwelling in the place where Light and Life are found.  Thus illusion ends.”
  22. ‘Secret Wisdom Teaching, Classifications of Humanity’, Index: 201404081.
  23. 'A Treatise on White Magic', Rule Ten, Astral Energy and Fear. “Fear […] and Depression […] must be met by the omniscience of the soul working through the mind, […].”
  24. Alice A. Bailey, ‘Training for New Age Discipleship’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001. “The principles of the Ageless Wisdom are presented through esoteric meditation, study and service as a way of life.”
  25. ‘Esoteric Healing’, Part One, Ch. IV. “The principal factors in re-establishing or making a better etheric control are:
    1. Sunshine.
    2. Careful diet, with the emphasis upon the proteins and vitamins.
    3. The avoidance of fatigue and worry.”
Bibliography
  • ‘Contemplationam, Transsexualism and Transgenderism’, Index: 201907302.
  • ‘Contemplationam, Sex, Romance and Love: Types of Attraction’, Index: 201001181.
  • ‘Secret Wisdom Teaching, Classifications of Humanity’, Index: 201404081.
  • ‘Secret Wisdom Teaching, The (Human) Centres’, Index: 201909091.
  • ‘Secret Wisdom Teaching, Triplicities in Man’, Index: 201308292.
  • Alice A. Bailey, 'A Treatise on White Magic', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, 'Esoteric Healing, A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Volume IV', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, 'From Intellect to Intuition', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, 'The Light of the Soul', in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Alice A. Bailey, ‘Training for New Age Discipleship’, in: Twenty-Four Books of Esoteric Philosophy, (CD-ROM, Release 3), Lucis Trust, London / New York, 2001.
  • Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, Washington / London, 2013.
  • Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0), Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Oxford Latin Dictionary, Oxford University Press, London, 1968.