How To Deal With Depression And Anxiety
The Power Of Now – Eckhart Tolle
I suffered a lot with depression since I was really young right up to my late twenties. Most of my depression came from identifying with negative thoughts about the past and future. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle talks about this in his book the power of now. His teaching is very simple which is to observe negative thoughts when they arise but to not identify with them. Being present in the now is the secret to overcoming anxiety and depression. As simple as this sounds it’s not that easy when you are constantly worrying about the future. However, you can practice observing your thoughts and being more in the present. I have found this state to come more naturally when you are very relaxed which can contradict the experience of anxiety and worry. I’m not going to disagree with this remarkable teaching from Eckhart toll which is thousands of years old and defiantly works. Let me first share with you what really helped me deal with my depression and anxiety than I will come back to the power of now.
For me, my depression actually came from not being able to achieve my goals and live the life I wanted to live because I was too fearful. One of my major fears was, in fact talking to people which came from my social anxiety. I found it really uncomfortable being around people with my current state of mind being very negative. My negative thoughts tended to get the better of me and pull me out of the present moment which created social anxiety. I also felt really afraid that people would notice my anxiety and judge me. This lead on to a chain if you like of other fears like constant worry of not being able to form relationships with people and being alone for the rest of my life. This fear also proceeded onto things like being financially stable and finding a partner. This fear absolutely terrified me to death the idea of not being able to get a girlfriend really saddened me. This then manifested into deep shame, guilt, self-hate, confusion, and Evan suicidal thoughts. I always felt trapped in my own mind and body. I was also too proud to seek help as the very idea brought on more fear for me to the point of not wanting to live anymore.
During this period I was not aware of the spiritual teachings of people like Eckhart Tolle. I thought that people who suffered from depression were weak and not abled to cope with life. I was so hard on myself to the point of putting myself down. This also followed by a vicious internal voice that would tell me how worthless I was and unlovable. This would be followed by really harsh negative emotions that would periodically cause me to suffer from panic attacks and diarrhea. This vicious cycle would often follow after some form of perceived rejection like having a dispute with a family member for example. It would also be brought on by the fear of not being able to make money which really terrified me. This would cause me to suffer a lot of irrational and paranoid thoughts about becoming homeless and possibly dying alone. This may sound like an exaggeration but this was the truth and the internal voice would be threatening me with all the worst case scenarios.
I would also spend a few hours sitting in a daydream playing this negative story over and over again in my mind until I simply couldn’t handle it anymore. I would then end up wanting to go to the shop and buy junk food to give me an emotional high. I would also sometimes indulge in things like alcohol, drugs, pornography, and on a few occasions paying prostitutes for sex. This was my escape from pain which if course became an addiction. This would be a short-term solution to a problem that needed a different approach. You may have heard the saying you cannot drink all your problems away which has been so true for me.
So you have heard all my dark thoughts and negative addictions now I’m going to share with you what has always helped me escape this vicious circle. This is not at all complicated and the thing that has always massively reduced my anxiety and depression is to set goals and re-define my life purpose. Like I mentioned I struggled with a lot of anxiety around meeting new people and talking to girls which was exactly what was causing me to suffer in the first place. So what I did in my early twenties around aged 23 was to sit down make a mental note of what I was afraid and go towards gradually facing it set by step. What I found to happen is the moment I decided I was going to face a fear I ended up immediately feeling a sense of relief and sometimes excitement. This would alter my state of consciousness and calm down the negative thoughts. This also seemed to lessen my anxiety. It’s common sense the very thing that was causing my anxiety and depression was the very thing I had to face which was my fear. So I set out to overcome my fear of talking to people by first investing a lot of time approaching women which massively boosted my self-confidence and completely reduced my social anxiety and depression. I soon ended up successfully meeting a girlfriend after going on a ton of dates. I then decided to confront my fear of money by setting up my own online business which soon took off after about 6 months which was teaching men how to meet women. The money then started to come in than the depression went away and I felt so much joy. This then enabled me to stop my negative behaviors with pornography drugs, alcohol, and channel my energy into a much more positive path.
By aged 28 I became a professional dating coach and never really looked back of course I would still sometime occasionally experience a few low days here and there but nothing like before. So as I mentioned up until my 30 birthday I had never really practiced any kind of mindfulness like what Eckhart Tolle is teaching. I never seen the point of wasting time sitting down and meditating the idea actually bored me to death. However after achieving what you would call material success with women, money, fame, teaching, This vicious circle of worrying, anxiety, negative thoughts started to return and drag me back into dark places. After an amazing 3 year period I began to lose enthusiasm for life and feel depressed.
This is when I decided to start studying up on spirituality and teachers like Alan Watts, Eckart Tolle, and evan Jesus had inspired me to start working within my self for happiness as opposed to seeking fulfilment outside all the time. Funny enough at aged 30 I had a major epiphany after having a nerves breakdown which lead to a spiritual wakening. This was an experience that was almost impossible to explain in normal language if you like. It ha taken me up to now aged 33 to come out of this daze if you like. It was the most terrifying, yet beautiful, humbling experience, I have ever had in my life. I realised that my whole life was being lived from a place of fear. Evan though I had acquired success in the world sense I felt empty on the inside. This is not to say I didn’t enjoy my first 30 years because of course it was not all doom and gloom. However in all honesty something was never quite right for me and I could feel that on the inside. Something felt seriously missing from my life which I couldn’t quite articulate.
I spent the next year just processing what had happened cutting back on my teaching and slowing down my pace of life. This was something I found myself doing constantly always rushing from one moment to the next to get to the next thing. This always seemed like I was just missing out on something. After getting more curious as to what was happening to me I began to research if other people experienced what I did as I intuitively suspected they did. So I hared tons of stories from people that were almost identical to mine with having a compete shift in consciousness. I later watched Eckahrte Tolles videos online and read his book the power of now to discover that he had also suffered from years of anxiety and depression which almost lead him to committing suicide until he had a spiritual wakening. He explained that all human suffering comes from the ego mind which happens at the level of mental activity. This really gave me an in-depth understanding of his teaching of praising being more present in the now. He went onto to explain how we are not who we think we are. He explained that most people in society think they are the ego mind. This creates a false sense of self image. I was really fortunate to find a spiritual teacher who really helped me with being more present which gave me a completely different outlook on life. My whole idea of who I was completely changed. I kew one hundred percent that I was not the person I thought I was. The person I thought I was is just an idea that is made up of beliefs and a story that my parents are part off. In fact none of us are our mind although most of our society has convinced us we are the I.
This is not to say we cannot enjoy material things such as making money, buying a house, and so on. However if we seek fulfilment in these things it wont make us happy or at least not for long before fearful thoughts come back in. Someone is always going to be more wealthy, attractive, materially successful than you. However not everyone is connected to the divine source that is within every human being which is consciousness. Like Jesus said seek first the kingdom of god and you will receive all of his righteousness meaning seek the source that is within you and all the other things you want in the world will be added to you. This of course does not mean to bring suffering to other people which is what most are doing because they are completely identified with the mind. People wonder why they are so angry and unhappy because all they are doing is judging other people. I have made this mistake for years myself which is what brought on so much suffering. All the material gain without knowing who you truly are and being connected to the very source which is consciousness will never make you happy.
So up till now what I have found to overcome depression and anxiety is to do both with setting goals nothing wrong with that of course. However more importantly is to implement the teaching of Eckhart Tolle to observe your thoughts and practice being present in the now. This practice is simply a different state of conscious as opposed to doing what most people are doing which is being completely controlled by their ego. I have had some of my most blissful moments sitting down in the park over a coffee just being completely present in the now. It’s a state of human conscious that can only be understood through direct experience.
So if you are experiencing depression and anxiety at the moment don’t worry this is very normal especially when you are fully identified with your mind. Start setting goals and gradually move towards facing your fears on an internal and external level and remember to practice being more present by being more conscious of your thoughts, feelings, actions. I guaranteed you at some pint you will hit some kind of awakening. I’m still working on this stuff myself and having some amazing results with it and of course having days where it does challenge me.
I hope this helps you it has been transformative for me and my students.
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