Friday, January 30, 2009

TO WRITE: What Are You Doing Here?
In Chapter 5 of my book Writing through the Darkness: Easing Your Depression with Paper and Pen (info in profile) I describe benefits that come from using writing to examine your spiritual beliefs -- your understanding of the mysteries of the world around us and inside of us. (No, I'm not writing only to religious people here; it's different.)

By uncovering, defining and fully embracing our beliefs, we spiritual seekers can sometimes find a sense of meaning in life -- or in our depression. Indeed, I have known writing group members who come to feel that there is a reason, or even a benefit, to their depressed experiences, be it to learn and grow as human beings, to develop compassion and understanding, or to assist others in their healing. (p.61)

Furthermore, spiritual searching also carries health benefits. Many studies have demonstrated that people who consider themselves "religious" or "spiritual" or who attend religious services regularly: 1) have fewer illnesses, 2) live significantly longer, 3) specifically have less depression and, 4) have a greater likelihood of remission from depression. Practical applications of such findings to treatment of depression is under study too. For example, meditation, a component of many spiritual traditions, has been shown to be a useful adjunct to treatments for many health conditions, including depression. (p. 62)

Play with this. . .
Choose an issue that you consider what we call in my classes a "Big Question." For example, Who am I? What am I doing here? Where did we come from? What happens when we die? What is love? What is depression? Write continuously for 15 minutes on your question, being sure to include your personal feelings and experiences. Obviously there are no right or wrong ways to do this -- you don't need to hold to any particular belief system.

2 comments:

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meanie said...

mantraish phrase: Still. the. Mind.