Most people do not understand depression. Big pharmaceutical companies bombard us with messages that if we ever feel depressed it means our brains are broken and we need their magic pills to become “normal” again. Sure, these pills work for some people, but many people do not feel the “benefits” they’re told they will. This only makes them feel more broken and even makes them wonder if there might be no way out. In extreme and tragic cases some people even commit suicide because they see no other option.
The truth is, feelings and periods of depression are extremely normal. In fact, these feelings are not even “wrong” or “bad” – they are calls to action. Most people reject the call. Some become addicted to the pills that are supposed to “cure” them. Some tragically choose to end the life of their body.
But there is another kind of “killing ourselves.” One that doesn’t involve the death of our body – but one that lets us be reborn! I’m not talking about the after-life, finding Jesus, or bringing the dead back to life. I’m talking about finding our truth, getting in touch with our hearts and being reborn as a stronger version of ourselves.
At Grounding Camp, we are reborn through Bioenergetics, Active Meditation and Life Mastery.
What most people don’t understand is that…
Depression is ENERGETIC.
In his book “Bioenergetics” Alexander Lowen writes that “The relation of energy to personality is most clearly expressed in the depressed individual.” This isn’t woo-woo guru talk either. It’s hard science. Studies have found that depressed individuals expressed just 1/2 the spontaneous bodily movements as non-depressed people.
We must consider the energetic element of depression just as much as the mental, chemical, and life-style factors. Any view of depression that focuses on a single cause is lacking.
Depressed people may eat or sleep poorly, have a lower sex drive, breathe shallowly, lack energetic strength and feelings of purpose. These are all symptoms AND causes.
The phrase “spiraling into depression” is accurate because depression is not a permanent state.
Depression is a cycle, a process, and a direction. Causes change for each person, but the symptoms in our behavior and body often make the depression worse. We become negative around people we care about, become lonelier, and are less effective at our trades – and we spiral even deeper.
To interrupt this pattern we must take ownership and shock our body and mind back into harmony. And today I’ll tell you how we can do this through Bioenergetics – one of the many techniques you can explore at our next Grounding Camp.
Our natural way of being is “homeostasis,” which is when an organism’s many systems are functioning in harmony. We feel good when we are closer to homeostasis. Alexander Lowen describes this as “The Pleasure Principle.” He writes “The primary orientation of life is toward pleasure and away from pain. This is a biological orientation, because on a body level, pleasure promotes the life and well-being of the organism.”
If being in balance is akin to standing in our truth, then depression and other maladies are a kind of illusion. Alexander Lowen taught that “the collapse of illusions always lead to depression.” This is backed up by psychologist Jordan B Peterson in “Maps of Meaning.”
“Let’s say you’re in a long term relationship and your partner betrays you. What do you see? You see chaos. It rattles your unconscious because you don’t know anything anymore. You don’t know what the past was anymore! And you don’t know what the future is going to be anymore – fantasies will fill that space. And you don’t know the person you’re looking at anymore, or much about human beings, and you certainly don’t know much about yourself. All of a sudden not only is everything in chaos inside your mind, but it’s in chaos in your world. And there’s no telling the difference between those things. You’re healed when you grasp the moral of the story. ‘What went wrong?’ Well anything could be true and you need to sort through all that mess to come out with the new you. People acted this out [in ancient times] through initiations and rituals. You have to go on a journey.”
The natural impulse many people have is to create new illusions. But to heal ourselves we MUST take the call to action – and go on a journey to be REBORN.
Bioenergetics, Life Mastery and Active Meditation assist us on our journey by helping us come in touch with our hearts and become WHOLE again.
At Grounding Camp we know “The Body is the Mind” and take a holistic “four-layer” approach to empowering our campers.
The Four Layers of Strength are:
Neuro-muscular strength – or “physical” strength.
Physiological strength – how healthy we are in our organ systems.
Energetic Strength – our level of vitality, emotional awareness, and ability to connect. And Life Mastery – how we use our gifts to empower other people.
Damage to any one layer may cause imbalance to the other layers.
From this perspective we can view depression through the metaphor of injuring yourself in the gym. Both are caused by illusion.
Let’s say you constantly neglect the importance of structural integrity – you never stretch or take days off and “all of a sudden” you tear a muscle.
That injury is an illusion collapsing under it’s own weight. You can not deny that poor form, bad habits, and overdoing it have led to your neuro-muscular injury. But the injury runs deeper than just your muscles. Along with your lowering activity levels, your hormone levels will change, you may become filled with rage. From there your relationships, career or school work might suffer.
This is just like depression. In “Bioenergetics” Alexander Lowen describes a four-layer process to getting in touch with your heart. First is the ego-layer. Our illusions, denial, and projections. We need to decide to move past our illusions. We must accept the call to action and embark on our journey to discover the truth.
Next we must release the “neurotic holding patterns” our bodies form to physically cage in our emotions. As children we were taught that having temper tantrums was a no-no. Many people carry this with them as they grow up – keeping their anger caged inside.
Instead of hitting, we clench fists
Instead of screaming, we grind our jaws.
Instead of shaking, we shallow our breathing.
Instead of feeling, we physically DEPRESS our emotions.
These holding patterns create stress and pain in our bodies.
Some people don’t even realize they have poor posture, or muscle imbalances because after so many years it begins to seem normal to them.
The third layer is emotional. We must release, accept, and cleanse ourselves of all the emotions we’ve keeping inside. We call this “Bioenergetic Catharsis” and anyone who has experienced it will tell you – they’re a new person afterwards.
If you undergo this process, the “old you” will die. So will the mental baggage, physical restrictions, and trapped emotions you’ve been hanging on to.
Imagine being reborn without mental baggage, physical restriction, and trapped emotions. Imagine moving forward in your life, work, and relationships with the ability to truly feel and share the love in your heart. Imagine becoming realigned and standing in truth. Imagine becoming unstuck in your life. Imagine becoming a stronger version of yourself.
Hundreds of people from many different backgrounds have undergone this transformation at Grounding Camp. If you’re ready to get in touch with your heart, overcome depression and live authentically then click here to join Grounding Camp this January in Texas.