Last week I shared with you that I am familiar with depression.

Sometimes, people ask me what is helpful when moods like that occur.

Well, for me, the only thing that helped me when I was depressed was time and space. That, for me, is the main solution. Of course, friends, people, who care for me, that helps.

There are many situations where people do not have friends. There are many circumstances where people do not have a family. They are just completely alone. In that case, it can be difficult. We can struggle, then. We need human warmth.  We need the company of others.  We need the warmth of company.

However, in the end, we must learn that we are the ones who must care and love ourselves. Without that, even if we have numerous people helping us, it is of no use. The same way, if one feels lonely alone, we will be lonely surrounded by people we love.

Do you know where we are? I mean, if you look at our ancestors, for thousands of years we have been living in communities. We shared the same cave.  We would be snoring and fighting together every night. It is true. It is in our genes to share.

Today, you know what is happening.  We are isolating ourselves more and more.

In Paris, I was in the apartment of a friend of mine. She had been in that apartment for 20 years. Even so, she did not know the neighbour with whom she shared the wall. She lived there for 20 years, yet she did not even who her neighbour was. They had not ever spoken. They had, maybe, seen each other a couple of times. They said, “Hello.” That is it. Although they had been sharing the same wall for 20 years, they did not know each other!

Ok, maybe telephones connect us more but they, also, disconnect us a lot. Back in the days when you had no telephone, you would say, “Ok, I am going to meet George or whoever it is. I have this and this I want to talk about with him.  I want to say this. I want to say that.” You try to remember everything you want to say. That way, when you meet the person, you can express yourself. You can exchange communication. When that person is in front of you, you value their presence. You do not know when you are going to see them, again.

Now, with the phone, you can write a text message, anytime. Consequently, when you see someone, you do not value their presence. Half the time, we are probably on our phone even while we are talking to someone in person. So, we just must be aware, ok? We can use all the modern technology. We have Facebook.  We have a phone. Whatever it is, you know, all the social media that is available to us these days, we have it.  We can use it. The thing is, we are trying to be happy. We know true happiness is within ourselves, but, somehow, we search all our lives outside of ourselves even while knowing that there is no happiness there. We know it but we still do it. We have been wired that way, always reaching outside of ourselves. We need to check up on this, so we are aware.

There are many different aspects and angles to depression. Of course, one of the factors in your depression is your attitude. The other factor is your perspective.

Your attitude is a big consideration in your state of mind. Thusly, it has a big influence on the way we perceive life.

For example, self-pity self-centredness can be a huge contributor to depression. If you are too self-centred, then, it is much easier to be depressed. This is because it is all about, “Me”. So, if something bad happens, “Ohhhhhh!” It is huge because it is all about, “Me”.

If we have gratitude, if we have empathy, if we are aware of others, then, that aspect of, “Oh, poor me, poor me,” will not have so much strength present.

One of the features of our attitude that affects our depression is the way we see it. The way we choose to perceive our situation in life has a big effect on our attitude which has a big impact on our depression. For example, if we are optimists, we can use any outlook for our advantage. We can use it for our kind of evolution.

Many times, there have been some situations in which I have been so, so, so depressed. For example, recently, for me, I idealised the concept of the family. In my perfect world, the mother and father were together loving each other.  They were a team.  They were super harmonious, raising the child together, loving him and giving the best of themselves for the sake of the child. That was my idealisation.

Why did I have that idealisation? It was because, in my whole life, I only saw my mother and father together one time.  There was just one time when they were both looking at me and smiling.   That one time was when I was taken to the monastery in Sera.  It was in my enthronement. Both my mother and my father were together.  It was the only time I have ever seen them together looking at me and smiling. It lasted for just a couple of minutes. That is it.

I got so attached to this concept, that I wanted to offer that to my son. I must give the best to him. Consequently, everything that I needed in my childhood that I did not have, I wanted to offer to him. So, I was obsessed about being together with his mother. I was obsessed about having a family together, loving the child.

The reality was completely the opposite. It was a toxic relationship.  It was very self-centred, also, from my side. I mean, I do not want to blame the other person. I need to take responsibility for how I reacted.  I reacted in a bad way, many times.

It got to a point where we both decided that our relationship was not so important. Our ego was secondary. The most important point was our son, Norbu, our kid. We wanted to give the best to him. Therefore, the love for him overcame all the problems. Our love for him superseded all the conflicts.  It took us beyond all the ego trips, all the blaming, all the toxicity. It all just kind of disappeared. It happened like this because we focused on how we can give the best to Norbu.

So, in short, she dumped me. I had to adapt to that. I tried my best. I did. Nonetheless, for eight months I was in a deep depression. I was in a deep depression.  She moved to Valencia. I moved to Valencia, too. We organised an apartment for her. I was just like hanging. I was hoping that she would take me back, but it was not meant to be. So, then, I remember, I had times when the whole night I would be in a deep depression.  I would cry. Many times, I could not sleep for many nights.

When you are in that darkness, it is so difficult to see the light.  All I can see is just an extremely negative, toxic mentality. You just feed off that. It becomes a cycle.

How to get out of that is the question.  How do you suddenly, you know, overcome that? That is an exceedingly difficult situation.

For me, the only thing that helped was time and space. I just had to go through it. I mean, for me, that is how it worked. I did not take pills, I did not take medicine or pharmaceuticals, at all.

All I tried to have was hummus. Chickpeas make you happy. I am not joking.  It is true. They are much more effective than Prozac. That is how it is with chickpeas.  You need to consume them in quantities like in hummus. That is what I understood when I started cooking. It is one of the tips that I got. So, I tried to eat them. You know. I tried.

One of the particularly important factors of depression is nutrition. What is important is exercise, your state of mind, your attitude, your perception, and your activities. Another important component is to be accepted, to have a functional role in society.  If we do not have any of that, we will be depressed. We will probably blame everybody else for that problem. That will make us even more depressed because we will be, “Oh! I am so lonely. Nobody loves me. Ohohoh!” Then, we will just go round and round and round.

We must be aware of all these things starting with nutrition. Many times, if you do not drink enough water, you will be depressed.  This is because your brain is not going to function properly. So, drinking water is important.

You need to be aware of your lifestyle.  You need to be aware of all this. The small details make-up the big details. So, start with the small details. I did tapping, too, when I get depressed. It helps so much

Yes, for me, what, also, helped me a lot was the support of my friends, the people that love me, the people who know me. Those people who know me, know me and know how to help. I encourage you to get to know me. Not so much that Lama Osel part but get to know me as a human. I mean, it is interesting getting to know me.

I feel that my job, my mission, kind of like, is not so much to teach Dharma on a throne as a monk, representing the institution and the religion like that.  My job is more about how to branch out.   You know what I mean. My job is to figure out how to reach people who are suffering. My job is to offer them something that can help them to be happier and improve their life. That is it.  That is my job. I do not have any other agenda apart from that.

Where I start is with improving myself. If I do not love myself if I do not work on myself, how am I going to help anybody?  That would be ridiculous right?

So, anyway, I hope this little explanation addresses the topic. Yes, it took me a while. When I got out of the depression, then, I was able to look backwards and say, “Ok. It has been difficult, but everything has a solution. You know, if you have that notion, that everything has a solution, you try to just have hope.  Hope is an important part of our life.  Faith, hope, love, and gratitude. They are important aspects of our life.

You must use the practical solutions as I just explained to give space in the mind to be able to reverse the depression or to let it dissolve. For me, what works well is to do something for someone less fortunate. That activates the gratitude button.

You know, gratitude is the base of a happy life. Gratitude is the cornerstone.

10 Comments

  1. María Queiruga

    Gracias Osel, la forma en que transmites tus enseñanzas, tu aprendizaje es de mucha ayuda para mí. 🙏

  2. Paula Richardson

    Such a painful way to learn about attachment. The way out of depression is always long and painful. With much gratitude for your writing.

  3. Andy Wistreich

    I also grew up depressed. I only ever once saw my parents hug. Mostly I saw them fighting with intense hatred. Also I always found the world depressing. The thing that helped me is my inner practice, what we call Dharma. I still find the state of thee world extremely challenging to look at, but I have huge inner resilience, like an inner immune system. Dharma practice has helped me a lot. Big hug, dear Osel-la!

  4. claudio cipullo

    I feel Your subtle continuum of mind body, is the same as Lama Yeshe and He manifest as a Spanish son of dears Maria and paco, let’s see how you fulfill the promises You took in previous life. I think You will show us. Thanks from the heart your old disciple Claude italychampatogme.

  5. Rosalyn Williams

    This happened a long time ago and is now just a story.
    The good bit
    After husband had more money after starting a business he bought a Volvo estate car. One of my 4 sons was ashamed to bring his friends home so in husbands absence we emptied the furniture from the lounge and put it in his new car and took it to the dump.
    The bad bit. When they were all primary school age husband worked all around the clock. We shared a bed and I can say every night I cried and he fell asleep. I was seriously depressed but didn’t go to the doctor. Then 3 months later arranged for my dad to collect me and the children and only then did he make any concessions.

  6. Michel Sherab

    A practical and rather intimate sharing which may help us to change our perspective when we fall in “darkness”. Thank you Osel !

  7. Margaret Bachtler

    Thank you Osel for sharing your life and a recipe for rebounding from depression. Very wise words.

  8. Kerri Hewitt

    Hi osel I really like your posts they’re very real from the heart & though my situation different my heart relates to the experience so it helps me recalibrate the direction my thinking was going to a better direction, we all have a job to do for self & others & to have hope with compassion for all concerned. Thanks for sharing yourself, nice 😊

  9. Rosalyn Williams

    Dear Lama Osel
    From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank you for being so kind and generous to share your difficult times in order to help others recover.
    Not from the point of view of complaining and feeling sorry for yourself but to share your humanity , human yes, same continuum of last life but choosing different conditions in order to help us. Times are increasingly difficult and Lama’s can manifest in whatever form they choose. To feel pain is the one thing a Buddha can do better than anyone
    else.

  10. ana purna

    Thank you, dear Osel. For sharing your experience and struggles, as a human being too. I can relate to part of your story, many people could, I suppose 🙂

    We are all brothers and sisters, as you like saying it.

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