ON ~ Depression…



There is no entity who is separate from depression or for that matter any sensation or state that may arise in awareness ~ label it what you may.  There is no one who is depressed, angry, jealous, afraid, confused, clear or joyful.

 To explain; a sensation arises in awareness that is captured by attention which also occurs in the field of awareness.  An observer, who calls herself a person, arises simultaneously within the field of awareness together with the sensation, and labels the sensation as depression (fill in the blank).

The so-called observer imagines she is separate and distinct from the sensation which she now calls depression.  She imagines she is separate from anything and everything that appears to arise in the field.  Resistance to the sensation, which has been labelled depression, only amplifies the thoughts and feelings around the sensation and the desire to further separate from the sensation called depression.

Once the sensation has been assessed; once it has been judged as either good or bad, it is compared to previous labels, which were given to previous sensations.  The sensation no longer appears to be a sensation; it is given meaning and significance. There is a comparison and evaluation to previous sensations that reside in memory and all of a sudden the sensation is no longer just a sensation; it’s considered to be unwanted.  It becomes a story called “my depression”. 

The entity imagines she is separate and unique from the sensation, even though she wrongly identifies with and too a label that has now become a story; a story that causes great suffering.  The appearance of division has arisen; an idea has been adopted that there is both an observer and something which can be observed.  Once the division occurs; once distinction has been made ~ trouble begins. 

The fiction of separation results in the observer imagining she can resist the sensation.  A desire arises to run away from an unfolding story around the sensation.  Through distinction, further ideas seduce the observer into believing that there can be an escape from the sensation and the story, which is now feared.  It is a story that must be resisted at all costs.  Earlier, it was just a sensation; it was only an impulse of life, but now it seems to have morphed into something that feels much greater and very different from what was.

The illusion of an independent person, who is separate and distinct, creates many false assumptions in the observer, including the idea she can “do” something about the sensation that has been labelled; that has now become a story.  She imagines that there is something that needs to be fixed, changed, healed or transformed in order to return to some original state of purity and so-called balance; to find something that was somehow lost.  A so-called victim is born; a victim who then becomes a seeker.

Perfection imagines imperfection and then tries to clean up the illusion of a mess that never really existed in ways that were perceived.  The observer now resists and denies what is observed and an avalanche of ideas and techniques, philosophies and stories are used to avoid, explain, reframe or eliminate what simply is; an impulse of life. 

An observer will never be able to fix or change a sensation that has already arisen, but she can navigate the troubled waters of perception and meaning, that gives rise to the many labels and stories that now overwhelm. 

In the moment of the sensation the observer is the depression.  As long as she regards her depression as something that is separate and distinct from herself, she will be stuck in an illusion of a story that has been perpetuated by her own misunderstanding and judgment.  Determined by the story called depression, she will be subjected to the mask and limits of her personal, assumed identity and any idea or notion that it may contain as conditioning. 

Endless conflict and suffering will arise as a result of her misunderstanding and ignorance about her true nature and Self, others, and the world she lives in.  A “gift” can be found in the knowing of Self ~ what she is and what she is not.  When/if the observer would experience the sensation directly without trying to resist, control, judge, evaluate or change the sensation that has been labelled depression, she might recognize an ever-present freedom seen within this so-called state; she might recognize the perfection within apparent imperfection.

The word as label is memory; it is not the thing.  When the word is no longer significant to the mind ~ when the sensation and the meaning that has been attached to the sensation no longer grabs attention; there will be a different kind of relationship.

When the observer no longer fixates on the sensation as a word, or the story that arises after the sensation that has occurred; the observer and what is observed will no longer need to be seen as separate: something that needs to be fixed or changed.  What can be seen is the direct nature of the relationship that appears to occur between the alleged observer and the observed.  The sensation and the observer can be seen as one.  The observer, sensation, and state, are One.

Here is where the sensation is no longer judged, and here there is freedom.

Here is where the sensation is no longer filtered through a judgment that has become a word, which is a label that inevitably leads to a story called “my depression”. 

There is no separate entity/observer from a state, whether we call that state depression, anger, jealousy, fear, confusion, clarity or joy! 

There is only a state arising, or not.

There is no entity who is separate from depression; there is only depression or not.  There is no one who is “depressed” or “not depressed”.

There is no entity who is separate from anger; there is only anger or not.  There is no one who is “angry” or “not angry”.

There is no separate entity from jealousy; there is only jealousy or not.  There is no one who is “jealous”.

There is not separate entity from fear; there is only fear or not.  There is no one who is “afraid” or “not afraid”.

There is no entity who is separate from confusion; there is only confusion or not.  There is no one who is “confused” or “not confused”.

There is no separate entity from clarity; there is only clarity or not.  There is no one who is “clear” or “unclear”.

There is no separate entity from joy; there is only joy.  There is no one who is “joyful” or “not joyful”.

There is a state; or there is no state.

You are ultimately not a state.  All states appear to arise and subside in awareness that you affectionately albeit wrongly, label and identify as yourself.

There is no entity who is separate and distinct from any state, and yet you are at once, also simultaneously beyond all states. 

The observer and the observed are one. 

Ultimately there is no entity, and there is no state.  

There are only impulses of life that appear as sensations that come and go.

Watch those impulses.

Watch those sensations and so-called states.

Watch them arise and watch them subside.

Watch them until there is recognition that those sensations and states, come and go ~ or not.

Watch those sensations you call states without giving them any labels; without giving them any meaning or significance that might seemingly then amplify the intensity and story you may have given them.  And please, do not identify yourself to those stories ~ you are not your stories.

A sensation arises and a sensation subsides.

Let the sensation remain a sensation.

Let the sensation arise, to be seen as an innocent impulse of life.

Let the sensation Be.

Watch those sensations and states, and watch the stories that may arise around those sensations and states. 

Experience those sensations with naked vulnerability ~ directly.

Watch those sensations and states until you notice those sensations and states that come, will also inevitably always go.

Watch those sensations and states until there is the realization that what remains before, during and after those sensations and states is a changeless you that is already, always there: before, during and after those sensations and states come and go. Then those sensations and states can be seen with affectionate detachment; then they can be seen with innocent, naked, direct, eyes.

When it appears an entity can directly experience that she is her depression or state, then and only then, there appears to be complete freedom from the sensation called depression and the story that thrives on the label and judgement around that so-called depression.  Then those sensations will be seen for what they are: transient and fleeting labelled states that have been misunderstood.  They are simply sensations that have become labelled states that arise and subside in awareness, and are ultimately unimportant in the consideration of who and what you are.

Nothing will get you out of the prison of depression or state called anger, jealousy, fear, confusion, clarity or joy, until you are free from the prison of your own self-engendered thinking; the conditioning which perpetuates the label and story, and the personal identity you call  “me”.

Shift attention from the word that has become a story and let it settle on the sensation only. Let attention anchor itself in the awareness of the you that is witnessing the sensation.  Let it settle on the you that is witnessing ~ the One that is already, always there; as wholeness apparently expressing itself in the moment as depression, anger, jealousy, fear, confusion, clarity or joy.



The Doctrine of One [Book]

 ZEN Shredding ~ The Prequel [Book]

 ZEN ~ Shredding  [Book]

 Soulananda [Book] 

Soulananda [Web site]

 Bliss Blog [Michael Sean Symonds] 


 (c) Copyright – Michael Sean Symonds.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.




7 Responses

  1. Hmmn. Trying to get my head around this. Please excuse but if there is no separate entity/observer from say depression how can we ‘watch’ the sensation?

    • Thanks for asking…

      it helps in breaking down uncessary complexity that language naturally layers into any concept…

      Substitute [aware] for watch…

      Be aware of any sensation [thought or feeling] that shows up in your body/mind…

      notice the sesation as it shows up as a feeling in the body or a thought in the mind.

      If [you] have experienced depression you may be aware that there is usually corresponding feelings that occur in the body; we wrongly assume that thought is seperate from feeling; they are one; however unconscious.

      If you can become more aware of the feeling in the body by letting attention settle on the feelings/sensations that occur in the body, there can be a direct relationship.

      Said another way: take attention away from the story as to “why” you are depressed, angry, jealous, affraid, confused, clear or joyful and focus attention on how the depression, anger, jealousy, fear, confusion, clarity or joy is manifesting in the body.

      Be aware and be present with the sensation in the body; stay with the sensation instead of going into the mind [story] or trying to deny, fix, change, resist it…

      At best, the post is a pointer…

      It’s really not necessary for you to get your head around it… although I truly understand the temptation and need to do so: )

      In awareness there is no separation; there is no subject/object; there is only seeing….

  2. Thank you for this reminder. I needed it as my own story was starting to overtake me. Thank you.

  3. Thank you very much for that reply to my comment. I do like this and it does resonate with me in some way. I have been realising more and more how much I/we deny feelings or indeed in my case analyse, dissect, deny and predict those feelings with the thinking part of my brain – hence the ‘trying to get my head around’. I find it very hard to get through aspects of my life without that ‘understanding’ and I have come to know that has kept me stuck. To get to that place were I can see the sensation of depression as ‘an ever present freedom’ is, well, a work in progress but I thank you for this insight.

    • I think : ) …

      It’s important to recognize the contribution and fact that our brain is hardwired for understanding. The old brain blends the urges and agenda of flight, fright and freeze (survival) with the new brains functional urge and contribution towards logic, conscious thought, empathy and creativity. We cannot deny that the cognitive process is inherently interconnected to our physiology ~ let’s call it the biology of thinking…

      It is perfectly normal and natural to want to understand; it is hardwired into our nervous system for functional use. The beauty of the ancient wisdom traditions is they recognized this through the science of their own experience and they offered perspectives, insight and in many cases tools for a journey: to move humanity beyond the biology of survival based thinking. Ironically this process would not have unfolded uniquely in the way it did, without the addition of the cerebrum to our nervous system.

      In essence, we use the rarity and uniqueness of our nervous system itself. We become aware of the fact that we are aware. Most of us however, simply live life being aware of the thinking dimension only; everything we do is done through the filter of the biology of our thinking, and we miss the fact that we are actually multi-dimensional beings [thinking, feeling, experiencing and beyond].

      While we can try and deny/suprress the inherent limitations of living life at the thinking level only, and the impact it has on our “inner world”, it’s not so easy to ignore the impact this way of being has in our “outer” world.

      So the desire to understand is simply another urge, one that can trigger us into a response or one that we can simply be aware of when it arises and subsides; no one is marking us on our choices.

      I would be remised if I did not deconstruct what I’ve just said, considering the subject matter is “understanding”. Everything I’ve said is simply a story, it’s a frame of reference that is not needed for the journey into awareness; understanding is the boo bee prize. You don’t have to understand this to be able to Be this, because you are already “this” (although you might want to understand it because it is highly entertaining on some level).

      You are not stuck… you only think you are stuck because that is what the mind tells you and you believe it…

      And here’s the kicker… you are already, always, standing in the “place” to see all of these sensations and states with the potential to feel the ever-present freedom that envelopes them, since you are already, always are aware… stay in the awareness.

      There is joy and freedom in knowing that life does not need to make sense or be understood. In my own life experience I do not believe I would appreciate the depth of this insight had I not spent so much of it wallowing in the deep end.

      It seems like a quantum leap to begin to see that even the deep end is an expression of wholeness arising as the deep end; I guess that is the seduction, beauty and truth of radical spirituality: it inherently embraces the juxtaposition of all opposites unconditionally.

      Why shouldn’t?

      • … I just bumped into this : )

        The Guest House

        This being human is a guest house.
        Every morning a new arrival.

        A joy, a depression, a meanness,
        some momentary awareness comes
        as an unexpected visitor.

        Welcome and entertain them all!
        Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
        who violently sweep your house
        empty of its furniture,
        still, treat each guest honourably.
        He may be clearing you out
        for some new delight.

        The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
        meet them at the door laughing,
        and invite them in.

        Be grateful for whoever comes,
        because each has been sent
        as a guide from beyond.

        ~ Rumi ~

        from The Essential Rumi
        by: Coleman Barks

  4. Why shouldn’t indeed. And oh I like that, the Guest House. Thank you so much for all of this.

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