The stuckness of spiritual depression

tiredwhitelionEver have one of those seemingly endless stretches of time, when it feels as if all your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went? You are not sick, per se. You just don’t give a damn anymore. Nothing matters much.

After all of your full-speed-ahead decisions, choices and actions, you feel directionless. You are lost. You motivation is MIA. You are no longer the little engine that could. Why even your dream catcher is collecting dust. Your dreams and visions have been shuttled to the corner, where they remain barely visible. You have no oomph to make them manifest, and have begun to wonder if they really are viable.

It’s as if all of your personal energy, chi as the Chinese would say, has left unannounced and headed to someplace awe-inspiring for vacation. I can well imagine my personal chi doing a tango with a swivel-hipped someone, while I am at home, stuck and stalled, like the proverbial lump.

Recently, these particular set of symptoms have surfaced repeatedly in conversation. Many spiritual sojourners are finding themselves smack dab in the middle of stuck. They are experiencing the symptoms of what I call spiritual depression.

What exactly is spiritual depression?

It is not clinical depression; it is not a reaction to a specific grief or loss.

Spiritual depression is a part of the spiritual journey. It is a period of no energetic flow, usually following an earlier infusion of new energy. It often comes amidst transition and change after you have taken new steps, but, then, turn the corner and the path has evaporated before your very eyes.

Spiritual depression is an in-between time that serves as a bridge from the old to the new. You can feel as if you are stuck in a rut. You can feel bored (read: unconsciously fearful). You can even feel as if you are pressing the snooze button on God. And, frequently, when you are just about to emerge out of your darkness, you can feel very panicked and confused.

Think of the caterpillar hanging on the tree bough in its silken pouch. Initially, the caterpillar is content to be snug as a bug in a rug, but the non-movement begins to wear thin. Penned in by silken fibers and stuck in seemingly interminable darkness, the caterpillar reaches a moment of movement. It has outgrown its cocoon, and with considerable energy tears a small rent in the fabric of the chrysalis. Then, the caterpillar begins to pump and pump and pump its wet, folded wings, building momentum and allowing the butterfly to come forth. The tight darkness births movement.

Spiritual depression is a bit like that. You find yourself hanging in the dark, still and stuck. There is no outer movement; but unbeknownst to you, you are incubating. You are simmering in your own contracted energy with your folded wings still wet and untried.

This incubation offers a calibrating effect. And that calibration is the point of spiritual depression. The stuck darkness and your condensed energies meld, merge and coalesce into a higher vibratory momentum, which is a push into the new you — the soul-refined, alchemical you.

In other words, spiritual depression is a not a bad thing; it serves a purpose. It is a necessary precursor to a big soul leap. Out of the darkness and stillness, you emerge into a higher frequency and vibration. You have reconnected with your own source of energy so that you can pump and pump and pump and, ultimately, take flight. Your consciousness grows in light; your heart glows with the twin flames of courage and compassion.

That understood, spiritual depression is very dispiriting and mightily uncomfortable. How can you handle this very tender time?

I suggest the basics:

  1. Be patient.

You cannot rush a rebirth as much as you try. You are filled with old ways and new energies; they need to merge and reform into new aspect of you.

  1. Be gentle and loving to yourself.

The kick-in-the-rear tactic does not work here; that only serves to tighten your contractions into the little self. You want to be reconnected with your more expansive, soul-infused Self.

  1. Trust the timing.

There are always other pieces of the clockworks that are needed to make everything run in sync.

  1. Remember the big picture.

The spiritual journey is not about the end point, but about the process of the journey itself.  Undoubtedly, the gods hold you close when you are deep in spiritual darkness.

  1. Maintain your spiritual practices.

Even in the dark, it is important to feed yourself from the divine umbilicus. It will facilitate your process.

And, then, I promise you, there will be a day when you realize you feel a little lighter, and you are ready to take a small step. One small step leads to another and leads to another and this eventually leads to a great gallop across open spaces and new frontiers.

In the meantime, honor the hard work and strong choices that brought you to this place of transition. And please know this: a) you are not alone; b) spiritual depression is a bridge to the high octane you; and c) the gods applaud your fortitude to be of service in this lifetime, during these fast-moving days, and on this planet.

Take precious care. You are loved and guided far more than you realize.

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2 Responses to The stuckness of spiritual depression

  1. Adele Ryan McDowell July 18, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

    Beautifully said, Justine. And yes spiritual depression — as awful as it can feel — can become a time if incubation to the next step. Thanks so much!

  2. Justine July 18, 2016 at 11:44 am #

    I can totally relate to being stuck in spiritual depression. I actually could never put words to what I have been experiencing but “spiritual depression” is the perfect description. I can relate to “pushing the snooze button on God” and living in my own depressed will. I love #5: Maintain your spiritual practices. I do find myself slipping from these practices while experiencing spiritual depression. I feel as though these practices must not be working if I am so stuck.

    But the bottom line is that I can’t disappear from God when I am stuck. Well, I can choose to, and disconnect from my higher power, but I have found from experience that that just keeps me from taking the gum off of my shoes and going on my spiritual journey. I have found for me that often being stuck is part of my spiritual journey because it calls for me to rely on my higher power as I know my HP does not want me to stay stuck forever.

    Finally, when lacking motivation and wanting to sleep all day I have found that opposite action works for me. I go against what I feel and think and let my feet take me where my HP wants me to go.

    Thank you Dr. McDowell for describing that which I have always fallen short of being able to do.