Recently I’ve been feeling a little depressed. In my case, depression is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a time to reflect on what needs to change in my life, what needs to happen. I get depressed when I lose sight of my goals, or when I can’t properly articulate my goals, or even if I can articulate them, I don’t know what to do to reach them. It’s funny isn’t it, how the words “goal” and “depression” are connected. When I have a goal, something to strive for, I do not feel depressed. When I have no goal, no sense of mission, at that time I feel myself floating aimlessly.
Guru writes,”Float with the current if you have nothing to give”.
I try to write and publish daily. This gives my life some purpose, and makes me feel I’m contributing. Blogging might be a substitute for Prozac. (An important point: This is NOT medical advice!)
At the same time, I don’t think depression is necessarily a bad thing. Right now I’m experiencing very mild depression. It’s like walking through the city on a misty, rainy morning. I have an umbrella, a raincoat, and a hot cup of tea waiting for me. I don’t even call this state of mind “depression”, I call it “the gray zone”. I have a sense of being a traveler, on my way somewhere, but never arriving wherever it is I’m supposedly headed. I don’t know where I’m going, or where I’ve been. I feel like luggage. I just drift along the conveyor belt. One day someone will claim me. Until then, I belong to the belt, the hum of the airplane, the fickle wind.
In this state, I often go for long runs late at night. I run on safe streets, in well-lit, wealthy neighborhoods where there are plenty of cops on duty. It’s not one hundred percent safe, but it’s safe enough. I’ll run from eleven at night until two am the following morning, just following the stars and the moon. I like the empty streets, the quizzical looks I get from the tired people at the bus stop, the locked cafes and record shops.
And sometimes I’ll just ride my bicycle in circles around the big parking lots of the local IBM tower, the local trucking firm, the high school. Nobody is out there late at night, so I’ll just ride my bike around and around the perimeter of these parking lots, singing Guru’s songs and saying his poems for hours on end. Sometimes I’ll pray, but I find Guru’s poems and songs embody prayer. I just have to say them soulfully, and they carry the essence of my prayers. I can’t think of any other Master for whom this maxim holds: if you claim his creativities as your own, your act of claiming and identifying equals your highest meditation. Sri Chinmoy was fabulously generous in this.
Sri Chinmoy wrote so much poetry, over a hundred thousand poems, that anyone can recognise can respond to his work and say, “Yes, this is me.” Sri Chinmoy said that his poetry most often comes through the third eye, the eye of vision. He says he just throws himself into the Universal Consciousness when he writes poetry. That means that he might identify with someone on the other side of the world, and the poem will reflect that particular person’s present consciousness or state of mind. But from studying and memorizing the Master’s poems for many years, I get the sense of Sri Chinmoy the poet, the personality that shapes the words. This person is introverted, moody, meditative, likes taking long reflective walks, enjoys solitude. He has known the extremes of joy and sorrow, but somehow always comes back to the middle, where things are not ideal, but okay. He can always continue, continue. He knows the gray zone.
If it’s a rainy day in your inner life, remember the rain can make the soil rich and receptive. You can also write and express yourself. You might not see the sun in that state, but you can become the sun through your own creative offering.