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Depression According To Zen

Depression is a disease of the mind. Zen, which is about mental state, may offer a new perspective of the disease.

Millions of people are suffering from depression. It is one of the most common mental disorders that may adversely affect mental health. There are several current theories about the causes of depression: hereditary predisposition, chemical imbalances, or hormonal changes. A more widely accepted theory of the cause of depression is – distorted thinking. Depression is deep internal pain initiated by disturbed thinking, which may or may not be due to chemical imbalance of the mind. Zen offers an interesting explanation of this disease of the mind.

Zen is NOT a religious belief. Despite having its origin from Buddha, Zen is not the foundation of Buddhism. Zen is an enlightened mental state focusing on the present moment.

First of all, according to Zen, there is no such a disease as "depression." Zen does not label an individual as "sick" or "mentally ill." According to Zen, sickness is just a human condition, and any "labeling" only compounds the problem of sickness.

Many individuals suffering from depression have a distorted perception of self-worth. Instead of accepting who they are, they want to be what they wish they would like to become. Their hunger for the verisimilitude of realty often fosters delusions and a host of other mental problems, such as confusion and distress. Zen focuses on who you are, rather than your "desire" to be somebody else. Zen purges the mind of any low self esteem.

Longing for something you cannot have creates pain. In life, pain occurs when expectations are not met. In Zen, every moment remains with that moment. For this reason, everything is changing, and impermanent. To desire or crave permanence from something impermanent is a disease of the mind. This is the real cause of depression.

Once the pain is created, an individual (or the psychiatrist) begins to seek analysis and explanation of the pain, hoping to find a solution to the problem. According to Zen, life is never a problem to be solved. Life never has a problem, and if there is a problem, that is because you have created it for yourself. Once you have created a problem, you need a solution to the problem. In attempting to solve the problem, you begin to analyze the problem and examine the options available to solve the problem, thus generating stress, which only intensifies the problem. Compounding problems triggers depression in an individual.

It is human instinct to avoid pain. By avoiding pain, you subconsciously create more problems requiring more solutions. Unlike modern psychiatry, the way of Zen is not to question, analyze, or dwell upon pain. If you do, you are in fact creating the setting for suffering. According to Zen, you must accept the good as well as the bad in life; in other words, pain is natural. Just learn how to receive it. Pain is not avoidable in life, but suffering is. If you dwell upon pain, you perpetuate the suffering.

Stephen Lau is a researcher, writing synopses of medical research. His publications include "NO MIRACLE CURES - Only Wholesome Self-Healing," a book on healing and wellness. He has created several websites, including “Longevity For You” and “Healthy Lifestyle Is The Way Of Zen” on health, and “Golfing Success Info” on playing golf.

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