quotes and notes
quotes and notes
The depressive process is a natural part of life, but
some people’s lives are more difficult than others. People facing intense
difficulties in their lives need to follow the depressive process more
often, more consciously, or more deeply than others. This does not mean they
are by naturally depressive personalities or 'prone' to depression. Like
sleeping and dreaming, the depressive process is an important part of the
creative process, helping us to access inner sources, strength imagination
- Peter Wilberg -
When you are removed from the depths of your being, when you are living a life according to someone else's drum, the natural response is to become depressed. But this depression is not only the response, it is also the solution. It will take you back down to where you need to go - back down to your very Self. It took me a long time to truly live this. Every time I felt a little low, I would recoil from it: 'Why am I like this? What am I doing wrong?' But I realised that even my desire to sit quietly in front of the fire on a rainy day, was a 'depressive' response. Allowing myself to follow it inevitably brought me back out the other side refreshed, renewed and in touch with something fundamental and solid within myself. I never found that solidity when I was racing around trying to avoid feeling depressed. I also reasoned that the more one has had one's inner self denied in childhood, the more one must grant oneself these times. I stopped fighting a process that is as natural to our lives as a sneeze - it is the response and the solution.
Without the blood, the sweat, the trembling, the
oppression in my lungs, the fog which shrouded my eyes and ears, would I
have had the courage to go deeper and deeper ...? I don't think so. If I
hadn't had the occasion to sink into the illness perhaps I wouldn't have had
the energy to go to the very end of the confrontation with myself. I had the
sense of being privileged.
It does indeed take tremendous courage to go deeply into oneself. It takes tremendous courage to truly think and to question. It takes tremendous courage not to follow a 'quick fix' solution or 'quick fix' guru. It takes tremendous courage to know that you must follow your own path. I cannot stress enough how valuable the process of depression is, and yet I also cannot downplay in any way the courage that is required. But I also know that the fact remains - you WILL come out the other side, and you will be changed, more solid, more real, more yourSELF.
Only to the
extent that we expose ourselves over and over again to annihilation can that
which is indestructible arise within us. In this lies the dignity of daring.
The goal of living life and inner peace is not to acquire a state of harmony
where nothing can ever trouble us - inner peace allows us to be perturbed,
to be insulted, moved, broken, battered, in order that we may discover in
doing battle that which awaits us beyond the world of opposites. We must
have the courage to face life, to encounter all that is most perilous in the
I remember well what a turning
point it was for me to realise that my 'depression', 'seriousness' and even
morbidity were not weaknesses but the very medium of contact with my own
strengths - my own depths of soul, my own hara. From that point onwards, I
allowed myself to actively embody those depths.
We can't find meaning in our
private lives if we believe that the universe itself is without meaning. We
can't live lives of honor if we believe that we're members of a dishonorable
killer species...We can't trust ourselves and our impulses, either, if we
believe that we're tainted by original sin or flawed critically by a
spiritual or physical heritage.
You are not flawed. There is nothing wrong with you. Everything within you is meaningful including depression, craziness, harming oneself, crying, screaming ... You are utterly valid - even though people might tell you otherwise - even though people want you to behave differently - even though people might think only they have the answers.
To be a guru-believer and wanting to grow is in my opinion a
contradiction in itself because a guru sells his "wisdom" at the price of
Since the world is an unsolvable
mystery whose surface has scarcely been penetrated by our efforts to know
and explain, the assumption that we can understand and conquer all is
actually a symptom of insecurity and inability to tolerate ambiguity and
darkness. Nothing is less appropriate in our time than the posture of
They come from all walks of life. They may be called psychiatrists, parents, gurus, politicians, teachers ... and the price that they ask us to pay is our freedom. And that price is always too high. If I go to a psychiatrist and my questioning of him brings me further diagnosis or further medication, then the price is too high. If I go to a 'guru' and my questioning of him leads to a dissection of my faults or condemnation, then the price is too high. If I go to a teacher and my questioning of him leads him to tell me that I must never question his authority, then the price is too high. Such people will be unable to engage in any true dialogue, any true vulnerability or transparency, or any true questioning of what they deem is sacred. They will always be right and you will always be wrong. If someone is always right, then there's definitely something wrong.
Many people who come to this site will be only too good at giving their Self away for that 'someone' who says they know better; someone who tells them that finally they are 'getting better', finally they are 'good', finally they are on the 'true path to God', finally they are the 'true and loving child'. But the purpose of such authority is always to generate a mistrust or sacrifice of our Self.
Please listen to yourself and if you are bullied, derided, laughed at, excluded, condemned or minimised for doing so, then the problem lies with the bully, not with you. As I write on the home page:
If you do need the comfort or guidance of a person or a philosophy or a path, find one that above all values YOU, believes in YOU and acknowledges the profound Knowing, meaning and validity that YOU have within. THAT will be the sign of the truest philosophy and the truest path.
When you believe that you are unworthy, and when you interpret this particular belief, for example, to mean that you are fat, or that you are lonely, or that you are poor, you are following through with your beliefs perfectly! There is nothing inferior about such a reality that you have created! It is a beautiful example of your beliefs in action ...
If you believe that you are inferior ... and you find before you the result of your belief, then you have done an excellent job of projecting the belief outward! Pat yourself on the back! But if you do not like the results, then change your beliefs. There is nothing wrong with you. You did a good job of projecting your beliefs.
There is nothing wrong with any of you, with
your being, and what you are. And do not ever let anyone tell you that there
is! You are simply using your abilities and learning how to do it. And
continue to learn. But there is nothing wrong with the self that is
learning, and that is what I want you to know. There is nothing wrong with
the selves that you are. Do not identify beliefs that you do not like with
the self that you are.
soul ... is not only loss of imagination, it is also loss of meaning to
which the characteristic and indeed appropriate response is depressive
feelings. But in our society it is unacceptable to feel depressed, we MUST
be happy, and if not, then the depressive feeling must be exorcised away
through jogging or aerobics etc, or medicated away ... Our society does not
encourage us to enter the depression, to go down into the mine of
depression, to experience the leaden feeling, in order to extract some
silver: a reflective quality that is so characteristic of soul. Hillman
argues: '... through depression we enter depths and in depths find soul ...
The true revolution (on behalf of soul) begins in the individual who can be
true to his or her depression ...'
Freedom is only to be found where there is burden to be shouldered. In creative achievements this burden always represents an imperative and a need that weighs heavily upon man’s mood, so that he comes to be in a mood of melancholy. All creative action resides in a mood of melancholy, whether we are clearly aware of the fact or not, whether we speak at length about it or not. All creative action resides in a mood of melancholy, but this is not to say that everyone in a melancholy mood is creative.
As a creative and essential activity of human
being, philosophy stands in the fundamental mood of melancholy.
Creativity - I have
had many periods in my life when I have been highly creative and others
when I could no more be creative than fly to the moon. I always wondered
what this thing called 'creativity' was. Why was it often so fickle? Why
on many occasions did it seem to be linked to those times when I was
feeling low? I read many books on the subject, and they never seemed to provide
a satisfying answer. However, I am now beginning to understand the process of creativity:
when we are depressed we are going INWARDS to contact our
deeper selves. This deeper or core self is inherently creative - it is
'the author' or 'the artist' behind our lives. It is also the 'author'
of all creative acts.
My greatest wealth is the deep stillness
in which I strive and grow and win what the world cannot take from me with
fire or sword.
I always find that stillness when I go DOWN . Sometimes it is depression that reminds me that I can dwell in those places, be filled once again with 'silent wisdom' and come back whole and replenished. This is the essence of Gnosis - contacting our inner Knowing. We all have that Knowing within us. We can listen to it above all else.
In the midst of winter I found in me
an invincible summer.
When anyone tells you, or the
world tells you, that your joy resides outside of you, do not believe them
or the world. Your salvation does not depend on them or the world. Your
salvation does not depend on another. You have never lost your soul. You ARE
YOUR SOUL. You are your soul in flesh.
This is a quote that has resonances for me that go deep, deep, deep. I cannot read this quote enough. Our world does indeed tell us that our joy resides outside of ourselves - a new car, that new dress, new friends, a bigger house, a renovated bathroom, an overseas holiday. The same injunction may come from various religious or cultic groups - but they tell us that it is our soul that we must shop or repent for. But the fact is that we are not separate from our souls. Our body is the very outer surface of an infinite inner world and we speak ourselves through it every day. Andrew Gara likes to think of The Tardis (see his article on Healing the Body) from the Dr Who TV series as a good analogy for this - a telephone box on the outside but an infinite inner world with many rooms on the inside. The outer and inner aspects of the Tardis cannot be neatly separated or cut off from each other, just as we cannot separate our outer and inner selves. The very stuff we are made of is soul stuff. It ALL has meaning.
The universe is the
externalisation of the soul.
Two short poems that provided inspiration for many years:
We have a true king,
Do not imagine the journey is short,
One plods in amazement,
- sufi fable -
You are not broken, beautiful child.
You are whole.
Your body is yours.
You are loved,
- Becky Birtha -
Two quotes from Seth on dreams:
If I am going through trying times, it was always the period after I went to bed, that was the most difficult. Even if I had stayed reasonably solid or occupied for much of the day, the swirling thoughts and overwhelming feelings inevitably tormented me as soon as I put my head on the pillow and turned off the lights. I was filled with either the endless self-admonishments at the day that had just been or filled with fear at the one that was to come. During these times I'd often repeat to myself a small quote from William Cowper - '... the darkest day, lived till tomorrow, will have passed away'. From experience I knew that this quote carried enormous validity. I knew that if I could live through those very darkest of hours and get to sleep, something seemed to happen in my sleep that would allow me to awaken feeling somehow changed - as though I was looking at everything from a new perspective. If I could stay with this new sense, the day would often be a very different one to that which it followed.
Something was happening in the world of my dreaming that was a lot more powerful than I had ever imagined. Without knowing much of the mechanics of what was taking place I started to feed the problems of my everyday self to my dreaming self before I fell asleep. In the morning the solutions were always there in one way or another. I began to realise the tremendous potential and power of actively engaging with my inner self and the inner universe. I also began to dream lucidly (come awake in my dreams). I was able to consciously explore this reality and the adventure continues ...
PS - At times, even though I woke up quite changed, I would once again rekindle and rehash the same things from the previous day. I'd inevitably put myself through hell again. We're all only human!
The scientific picture of the real world around me is
very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our
experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent
about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters
to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet,
physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly,
good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer
questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we
are not inclined to take them seriously. ... The scientific world-picture
vouchsafes a very complete understanding of all that happens - it makes it
just a little too understandable. It allows you to imagine the total display
as that of a mechanical clockwork which, for all that science knows, could
go on just the same as it does, without there being consciousness, will,
endeavour, pain and delight and responsibility connected with it - though
they actually are. In particular, and most importantly, this is the reason
why the scientific worldview contains of itself no ethical values, no
aesthetical values, not a word about our own ultimate scope or destination,
and no God, if you please. Whence came I and whither go I?
Our everyday awareness of the world isn't the full story. Science likes to think that it is. It likes to see you and me, or a flower or a tree, as things that we can account for by measuring them, or reducing them to wavelengths or atoms or whatever. Science quantifies everything - it sees the whole world as reducible to 'quanta'. Therefore science believes that if you're upset or depressed it is only your cells or chemicals doing something wrong. But there is a whole lot more going on. We KNOW that there is a whole lot more going on, but we are taught to discount this because it 'simply isn't scientific'. But this whole other world is also invisible to a degree because it blends in so well - it goes on all the time.
Peter Wilberg sees this inner world as made up of 'qualia' - qualitative units of awareness. It is these qualia and our apprehension of them that gives the world meaning. To see a tree as 20 metres tall with 3000 leaves is utterly meaningless to me, but to see it as a manifestation of 'qualia' is inherently meaningful. I am attuned to and resonate with the fundamental inner reality of the tree and I can feel those same qualities within me. My inner world is not just something tacked on at the end of the material world. This is only a very short explanation of an understanding that has allowed me to find words for the depths and the meanings I have always felt around me, but have never given true validity ... these concepts are discussed in more detail in many areas on this site - particularly see Wilberg's downloadable book The Qualia Revolution.
How does one measure grief? Obviously we cannot
measure it at all. Why not? Were we to apply a method of measurement to
grief, this would go against the meaning of grief and we would rule out
in advance the grief as grief.
Life is difficult. This is a
great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we
truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is
difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer
difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no
People want to believe that
life is either impossible or easy but not that a good life is both difficult
This is one of the hardest lessons I've ever learnt in my life. I would rather believe that life should be all sunshine and roses and happiness, or that life is the absolute pits and I may as well just lie down and die. It is in my nature to think that it must be a case of either one or the other - never both. But all around us is evidence that we need both in our lives. If a radio station decided to play only happy music we'd probably complain that there wasn't enough variation. If the weather was constantly hot and sunny, we'd eventually find ourselves longing for a rainy day. If a person is constantly happy and jolly we hope that after a while that they would just 'get real'. And yet we demand this of ourselves. We don't want to accept that there are times in our lives that are enormously difficult, sad, depressing or boring. But that is indeed how life is. Life is full of all shades of colour and all shades of music - each day is different.
|Be patient toward all that is unsolved in
your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and
like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the
answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live
them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps
you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some
distant day into the answer.
- Rainer Maria Rilke -
|We live in a culture of
solutions - of medical technologies and psychological therapies, of
counselling techniques and healing techniques. We have forgotten what it
means to question - that is to say, to experience questions spiritually
rather than treating them as scientific or medical, intellectual or moral
questions. Instead these spiritual questions are transformed through our
beliefs into problems to be 'solved' - psychological and somatic problems,
intellectual and moral problems, political and social problems.
- Peter Wilberg -
Here I sit at my computer, trying to put together a web site: one more item to add to that ever-growing fount of information. I only have to think of a question, type it into a search engine and I know I'll have the answer in front of me in a matter of moments. The whole wide world seems to be at my fingertips. But there are other questions in our lives that also need answering, but in this age of quick fixes and quick answers, it becomes increasingly difficult to bear the accompanying feeling of 'not-knowing'. We don't like it. We're not used to it. We assume that if we have a problem we can go running 'somewhere' and it will get fixed. But that fix is often only someone else's idea of how it should be fixed. It doesn't take into account that we might be able to fix it for ourselves - listen to ourselves and listen to our own wisdom and knowing (gnosis). But of course to do that takes time. And to do that also entails some discomfort.
Often people tend to live their lives backwards. They
try to HAVE more things or more money in order to DO more of what they want,
so that they will be happier.
I like this quote a lot. So often in the past I looked around at everyone getting on with their lives. They had fancy jobs, houses, families etc. Old school friends seemed to be 'getting it all together' and while I had some major successes my life still seemed to be falling continually apart from around me. But in retrospect I see that I first had to find who I truly was. Only then did I understand that I could embody who I truly was in the world and live a life that was truly mine. And the interesting thing is, when I now look around me at all the people I so envied, I can see that they are just beginning to feel a little unsettled - they realise that on some level life isn't actually what they thought it was. I can see that they are beginning to wonder who they actually ARE and what this thing called 'life' actually means. They are beginning to realise that the questions life poses to us can't be answered by money, status or prestige.
Who are you? Who am I? Above all else, that is all I have ever wanted to know. Much of my life I have been an expert at being what other people wanted me to be. I could so very easily slip into any role that was required. It was something that as a child I was an expert at. The ramifications of being anything other than what my parents wanted me to be were just too enormous. I became the dutiful daughter, the dutiful scholar, the dutiful musician, the dutiful patient or client ... the world was out there and I would just mould myself to it. But of course I was miserable. I felt I had no right to be myself.
Find that path to your inner self. Do not believe others who tell you that your happiness depends on them, whether they be doctors, or preachers, or gurus, or teachers, or parents, or children. Your path to your self is as singular and as wonderful as you are, and no technique in the world can possibly encompass that. There may be times when you need the comfort of a technique or a prescription-for-living, but you will not find your Self in them. You must find that person or that philosophy or that path that above all values YOU, believes in YOU and acknowledges the profound knowing that you have within you. THAT will be the sign of the truest philosophy and the truest path, but you will only find that with a person who themselves can freely embody their own Being and their own Knowing. Only then can they allow YOU to truly be born.
Please don't give up until you find your SELF.
Contact - Marianne Broug - please see bottom of home page