Is depression simply a disease as many psychiatrists and doctors would have us believe, or is there tremendous potential for personal growth and spiritual awakening locked up in the struggle against this common ‘disorder?’
For those who are battling, or who have already conquered depression, there is certainly no one size fits all answer, but, according to one of the world’s foremost experts on the relative study of mind and spirit, Dr. Lisa Miller, severe depression and spiritual experience are two sides of the same cognitive coin.
Her idea is perhaps best presented with this metaphor: depression and spiritual awakening are two sides of the same door. On one side is the total possibility of despair, hopelessness and isolation, and a look through to the other side reveals equally strong shades of spiritual satisfaction, inner peace, and connection to all that is.
Personally driven by her own despair and depression that resulted from infertility and a lack of being able to find her and her husband’s lives worth living without their own children, she began, ever so slowly to awaken to the messages of healers and helpers that seemed to arise serendipitously on her path, offering hints at greater possibilities for happiness and fulfillment.
Slow at first, her rise in awareness of how the universe was speaking to her through others quickly gave way to a flood of synchronicity, events that were simply far too meaningful to be described as coincidence. Synchronicity, remarkably, is one of the most important and commonly shared experiences or features of the process of human awakening, and individuation onto the soul’s proper path.
The synchronistic events in her life ultimately gave way to a letting go of sorts, a submission to new possibilities, a release, if you will, of previously held notions of what she thought happiness was supposed to be or to mean in her life.
As a researcher and professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, Lisa ended up in a position of critical curiosity about the nature of depression: is it a disease or not? If so, how can a disease be caused by emotionally charged events in one’s life, such as the loss of a family member, or in her case, the lack of being able to create a family?
The causal link simply did not fully add up, thus she applied her skills as a scientist to the matter and came upon a significant discovery about how the brain is physically constructed with regards to its disposition of being in a depressed or spiritually connected state. For in her eyes, these two concepts seem to mirror each other philosophically, so why not scientifically?
Researching this with her team at Colombia, they discovered that yes, indeed, the actual substance of the brain where depression and spiritual fulfillment are registered are remarkably different with each of these states, reflecting a genuine physical polarity to accompany the metaphysical connection. The study began by recruiting some of the most depressed people she could find, especially those with a long family history of crippling depression, then looking at people with equally long lineages of spiritual presence.
They realized that the subjects all had a similar condition in the cortex region of the brain, and in the case of the depressed participants, the brain’s cortex was literally withered and underdeveloped, as though it had been starved. Similar to how a plant reacts to insufficient water.
Conversely, when looking at spiritually awakened subjects, those with a rich history of happiness and feeling connected to physical and spiritual realms of our multidimensional existence, these same regions of the brain were markedly stronger, more robust and larger, looking like the broad trunks of healthy trees.
“What we found, was that in precisely those regions of the brain which atrophied and withered in lifelong depression, for those people with strong personal spirituality, there was thickening of those very same regions. The cortex was thick, as if you were looking at a tree in the Amazon, versus a tree withering in the cold and drought.
Depression is not always an illness. It can be… but very often, depression, as every one will face it, is core to our endowment and core to our development.” – Dr. Lisa Miller
Another fascinating thing that they found, indicating what clinical science can show about the spiritual path, is when they looked at women who, “through suffering had come to a spiritual path, with nice thick cortexes, they also had another quality. The back of their head gave off a certain wavelength of energy that we call alpha, and its also found on the back of the head of a meditating monk.”
Of the possible frequencies that the human brain can naturally operate under, such as alpha, beta, delta and gamma, alpha is the same frequency as the Schumann resonance, the known frequency given off by the earth. In other words, those on the spiritual path, with healthy and vibrant brain cortexes, are operating at the same frequency of our home, the earth.
“The spiritually engaged brain vibrates at the frequency of the earth’s crust.” – Dr. Lisa Miller
This information can uplift many of the millions of people struggling though depression and looking for some hope to find their way out of the isolation, despair and darkness of this common condition. The more deeply a person feels depression, the greater the possibility for spiritual awakening that sets a person firmly on the spiritual path.
“The world is alive and infused with that sacred field we might measure as high amplitude alpha. Knowing this, we live into an inspired life. All life of meaning that is not one that we create, but one that is truly in the fabric of the world. We live an inspired life.” – Lisa Miller
Take a listen to Dr. Miller’s beautiful and uplifting story. At the very end she reveals an incredible even that adds even more to this story of synchronicity and inspiration.
About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Great article by Paul Levy (a pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, and a healer in private practice) regarding psychiatric abuse (psychiatry’s invalidation of trauma and protection of the abuser). Psychiatry makes the sane ones.. the sick ones, the invalids (the in-valids).
I am a survivor of severe psychiatric abuse. There was a year or so in the early 1980’s when I was in and out of psychiatric hospitals at least four times. During my visits to the hospital I was in the midst of a spiritual awakening that I was struggling to contain that was triggered and complicated by extreme psychological abuse at the hands of my father, who was a very sick man. I was suffering so deeply from the psychic violence perpetrated upon my mother and me by my father that it was making me “sick.” One of the most difficult parts of my ordeal in the hospitals was not being listened to by the psychiatrists, either about the abuse by my father or the spiritual awakening. Spiritual emergences/emergencies oftentimes become activated because of a deep experience of wounding, abuse, or trauma. In its initial stage, a spiritual awakening can look like and mimic a nervous breakdown, as our habitual structures of holding ourselves together fall apart and break down so that a deeper and more coherent expression of our intrinsic wholeness can emerge. The spiritual awakening aspect of my experience was so off psychiatry’s map that it wasn’t even remotely recognized. Instead of hearing me, about either the abuse or the awakening, I was immediately pathologized and labeled as the sick one. Being cast in the role of the “identified patient,” I was assured that I was going to be mentally ill for the rest of my days, as if I was being given a life sentence with no possibility for parole, with no time off for good behavior. The fact that I wanted to dialogue about this and question their diagnosis was proof, to the psychiatrists in charge of me, of my illness. The whole thing was totally nuts. Fully licensed and certified by the state, the psychiatric system’s abuse of its position of power was truly unconscionable. What the profession of psychiatry was unconsciously en-acting was truly crazy-making for those under their dominion. I was lucky to escape the psychiatric world with my sanity intact. Many others are not so fortunate.
Embracing your personal power, survival instincts (masculine energy). I can be fearless, I can be angry, I can fight.
Humans of NY
“I grew up in India where a woman got married, settled down, and kept a house. I never thought I’d do anything different. I lived a very sheltered existence. I went to a British school, then a women’s college, and then I met my husband. I assumed that I’d be taken care of for the rest of my life. But shortly after we came to America, my husband slipped into a coma and lingered for another fifteen years. We had a small child at the time. I’d never worked before, except for a part-time job in the bookshop at the Met. I was a very quiet person. And suddenly I had to make all of the decisions. I had to get a full time job. It was empowering. I learned that I could be fearless, I could be angry, and I could fight. These were three things that I’d never had to do before. I was thinking recently, that if my husband had lived, he might not have liked who I’ve become.”
We are all challenged to grow.
I believe the day we are ready to let go of our illness is the day we heal.
Healing comes when you’re ready to let go of the need of your ‘mental illness’ label and step into your power and purpose. Your generational history is the fire that feeds your soul.
who you choose to be now..
Take back your power