When we are depressed, the feeling that we often encounter is boredom. There are regular moments when nothing seems interesting or uplifting. You are regularly in a melodramatic state of mind, always looking for stimuli, something delightful. You rely on an external object or event to lighten up our mood. But the truth of the matter is, even when the boredom is satisfied with an activity, this moment of happiness is fleeting. As soon as the activity ends, we go right back to looking forward to the next big thing to keep us from feeling bored and down again. This makes us depend on the things outside of us to keep our spirit up.
The problem with letting the mind search outward is the stimuli always change. In other words, they are not dependable. Say, you used to have joy in taking walks, and now maybe because of a limitation with your physical body, you aren’t able to walk outdoors anymore. Or maybe you used to have fun chatting with somebody, and now that person has moved, or passed away. Life events can take a toll on us, that’s why we need a more dependable solution than letting them dictate our happiness.
With meditation, we learn how to create joys from the things and the activities inherent to us, such as the breath or breathing. The breath is always with us. As long as we live, we need to breathe. The breath is free, and for the majority of the time, it’s done for us, as our body can breathe itself. So often, we take the breaths for granted.
But let’s think about it. There’s something magical about the breath. It is the one activity in the body that can be done either automatically or in a controlled manner. For example, you can temporarily shorten or lengthen the breath. Or, if you don’t pay attention to it at all, it can still run on its own schedule.
So try sitting with your breath. Be patient with it, like a friend tending to another friend. If you can feel the air going in and out of your nose and the sensations it creates through the touch points inside your nose, you will find a lot of joy. And if you feel joy with something as “boring” as the breath, you can find joy in many other activities in life. Hence, the breath is the cure for your depression, and it’s free.