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Integral Yoga Meditation Methods for Clinical Depression

1. A Brief Discussion of depression:

Depression issues are in essence symptoms expressing a fundamental pathology; while living as a dynamic finite aspect of the infinite universe, one’s awareness has become estranged from the universe – a finite stranger to one’s true infinite self.

In addition to being a pathology, clinical depression is the most advanced stage symptom as it has progressed from a mental – emotional disease to a program of orders from the finite mind demanding upon the physical body a damaging change in chemistry.

Situational depression, anger, and anxiety – while certainly chemical after a certain stage – often begin in childhood being taught by parental behavioral examples or early traumatic environmental experiences before the personality evolves a practice for introspection and strength to bounce back.

Some infants are born with the genetic propensity towards clinical depression and its attendant emotions, but parenting and environment have a pronounced effect over whether the amount of control one’s natural propensity takes is as master or servant in later life.

It is imperative that the patient have a firm understanding that who they are is who they are now; not who they were when the damage was done. An understanding must be present in all therapy that who the patient is at this moment is who is responsible for their current pathology.

No matter how traumatic past actions taken against the patient may have been, the patient must not be enabled by the therapist to look back in blatant or sublimated anger and blame upon past persons or actions. The attitude is, “Yes, these things happened and this person did them. However, these things are not happening now and the only individual who has power over you today is you!”

The argument is presented, “But I am a collection of all that I have been and all that I have experienced at my own hand and the hands of others.”

Yoga’s answer is a subtle lead into transcendence therapy. “That is the prevailing theory that you were taught to perceive yourself through, and if you like the way you feel then you can hold to that teaching. If, however, you would like to feel differently about yourself and your life, Integral Yoga is here to help you replace that prevailing theory with one that puts more power in your hands. As long as someone else is responsible for who you are now, you cannot lead an empowered life.”

The therapeutic approach taken is to design a program that overwrites previous programming. The overwrite is designed in Zenist, Taoist, or Vedic rhetoric and Yoga or Samkhya Yoga philosophy and contemplative modalities.

Using patient specific meditation scripts we create new knowledge links from the sub-conscious to the conscious and back again, which will place new demands on the mind-body-spirit chemistry.

Script meditation is Limbic brain – intellectual and emotional – and the link is completed using asana and pranayama as meditation to practice using the Cerebellar brain. All four areas of the new program – verbal counseling, contemplation, asana, and pranayama must be used to overwrite the complete old circuit.

Using Eastern philosophical terms – such as “void-” to overwrite a Western program involves teaching the patient a new language for verbal therapies. Both an Eastern intellectual and experiential concept of “void” must be learned in working with clinical depression.

The goal is to view the universe – this includes our selves both in the finite and the infinite – through an Eastern mindset, and this goal can only be met through Eastern rhetoric, which enables the patient to build philosophical cues creating new physical chemistry – thought is energy.

The final stage is teaching, through Yoga contemplation, the ability to transfer one’s awareness from the finite self to the infinite beingness at will; to use the mind to transcend itself rather than the finite self being a slave or victim of the mind.

Once a solid foundation of intellectual understanding is created that explains the false self or body identified ego versus the void self or infinite self, the patient is ready to actually experience living with their awareness in the infinite true self or void.

2. The exercise:

I will now go through the actual teaching steps for the meditation of infinite being through the finite aspect of that being.

Leading the exercise, I feed the patient a specific interpretation of what they are likely to experience. My tone of voice, facial expressions and seated posture is off-hand and casual, as if I were not saying anything of consequence.

Intermediate to Advanced Meditation Exercise:

”Now then, be seated and listen. I will let you know when I am finished giving instruction and when you are to begin the exercise.

First, I am going to assign you a mantra. I am going to choose something I feel confident you don’t know the translation of into English. Why? Because while you will certainly be using your intellect for part of the process, this process overall is more of a feeling than a thinking process, and I don’t want you thinking about the meaning of the mantra. You will be doing the practice silently in your head. Let’s use, Brahmana-Om-Shantie. Find your own natural rhythm and repeat this mantra silently. Never stop.

After some time, when you feel right about it, you will begin to ‘see into’ the mantra. Continue repeating the mantra and soon you will find yourself ‘looking around’ the mantra, over the top of it, below it, to the sides of the mantra, always repeating the mantra.

After some time you will notice that there are two elements in your head. One is the mantra, the other is a silent, still space. The space is needed for the mantra to exist in, just as your body needs space around it so that you can feel the difference between the two and you’re aware that your body exists.

After a time of being aware that two elements, mantra and silent space – exist, I want you to ask yourself, ‘Where does the mantra come from?’ Don’t dwell on the question, just drop it like dropping a pebble into a still body of water. A realization or understanding will enter you on a very deep level without a great deal of thought, ‘The mantra is born from the silence. It comes from the silence. The mantra is being born moment after moment from the still silence.’

At that point, continue the mantra, but shift your awareness into the silence rather than onto the mantra. Therefore, the silence will be where you are living in the moment, and the mantra will be in the background. You will be aware of the mantra, but only as a background.

I want you to live for few minutes in the silence. While you’re there, ask yourself one time and then drop it, ‘How does this feel.’ Not what you think, but how it feels.

When you are ready, you can slowly bring yourself out of the exercise.”

3. Focusing questions:

At this point we will discuss briefly the feeling of living in the void. I will ask pointed questions as they feel intuitively correct to ask.

Am I born of the void like the mantra?

Is everything born of the void moment after moment?

Are my thoughts born of the void?

The void is being. It is the one quality that does not change or pass. All else changes, passes from moment to moment. The mantra can move from syllable to syllable, but the void does not move. The void is infinite because it is all there is, all that exists, and all that exists is born from the void.

While you are living as your true self, while you are living in the void, you are aware of depression, just as you were aware of the mantra – in the background. You are now living with your awareness in a foundation that is calm and stable. The depression is where you left it. You are not its servant. It may exist here and there, now and again, but your true self is in control.

Next, we discuss the importance of everyday practice of this technique, of moving the awareness into the void at will.

At this point, I will usually end a session and when we pick up the next session I will simply explain that letting go of the mantra and using the sound and feeling of one’s breathing is the final stage and is just as effective, and that the breathing is handled with the same techniques as the mantra.