“If you are depressed, you are too high up in your mind.” -Carl Jung
I have always been intrigued by Jung’s quote here. Of course, it is an oversimplification. There are many reasons people get depressed, but I think he is making a point that is generally true. Much of our unhappiness comes from trying to live our lives on the surface. We rush from event to event and lose all sense of being rooted to life and to the earth. We do not take the time to properly grieve, or even to sit and replenish our creativity. The antidote to much suffering lies in the deeper parts of our being.
World scripture is replete in stories that lure us into the depths. There are stories of whales or dragons swallowing people and taking them down into the murky deep. There are stories of people standing by deep and ancient wells, and sages huddled in caves. All of these images remind us that much of our life is lived below the level of everyday concerns.
Some of what we call “depression” is actually a much deeper process of death and renewal. The resurrection is not a onetime event, but happens throughout our lives. If we do not come to terms with the deep sadness involved in this process, it can surface in ways that are very hard to handle.
When we stop reading scripture as history or science, it can be helpful in putting us back in touch with the depths of life. Rather than stories about dead people from thousands of years ago, these stories show us a map to our own souls and to the one human spirit.
Quiet moments spent experiencing our depths are irreplaceable. We don’t have to “do” anything at those times. We needn’t think we can understand or change these deep currents. To be aware of our depths is to be fed by them.