My Roots To A Life Without Depression
When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind.
- Chinese Proverb
I’ve said it before, that adding a meditation practice to my life greatly helped me break the chains that kept me bound to depression and anxiety. While it isn’t the only tool I use to stay balanced, it is definitely one of the most important ones and the one I credit with changing my life for the better. It has become the center of my recovery from mental health issues.
At the end of a yoga class last week, my teacher finished off by reading something that struck a chord with me. While I really can’t quote a single line of what she read, the passage was about the importance of roots. Listening to her speak, I immediately thought of meditation.
The word root means to establish or to settle. For most people the word root brings to mind
plants, as we all know that roots are critical to a plant's survival. Strong roots are the foundation and lifeline of a plant. Roots anchor the shoots to the ground, take in and deliver the nutrients from the soil, and store the energies needed for future development.
Strong wind and rain can’t destroy a plant with strong roots. Even if a plant is cut down, it won’t die if the roots are still intact under the soil (which is good to know if you are trying to permanently get rid of weeds in your garden). Essentially, a plant’s roots make all things possible.
This is why I thought of meditation. Just like the roots of a plant, meditation makes all things possible. Meditation is the channel by which we can do all the things we were put on this planet to do. The practice of meditation keeps us strong and grounded, which enables us to move toward our dreams, and helps us through the tough times that are an inevitable part of life.
Sitting in contemplation helps us see that we don’t need to be attached to our thoughts. Meditation helps you step away from all of the noise and simply “watch” your thoughts go by, like waves in an ocean or clouds in the sky. This leads to the discovery that on their own, thoughts are really neutral. We are the ones who give thoughts their meaning.
If you are anything like me, you have probably spent most of your life attached to the millions of thoughts that pop up in your mind everyday. This is dangerous, and often leads to depression, because we tend to believe that our negative thoughts are true. And those beliefs, along with the feelings of worthlessness that arise from them, are what keep us stuck in an endless cycle of sadness, anger, frustration, self-pity and anxiety.
In my own experience meditation has given me space to detach from my thoughts and not automatically respond to them as I have in the past. Meditation has provided me with roots leading to a new and better way of life, one without fear and the darkness of depression. I hope you will join me there.