Q: Wouldn't an expert in The Work such as yourself have fully overcome depression by now, rather than go into a dip such as you speak of in this post, if indeed, The Work is so powerful as Byron Katie claims it is—she who supposedly is always happy now? Shouldn't you be always happy now too, if The Work really works?
A: Thank you for asking, it's a great question.
Simply put, The Work works when you answer the questions. If I'm in a dip, that's a clue that I'm believing something that's not entirely true for me. It means I'm making a painful assumption that I haven't yet investigated.
"Happy now" is the point; we can only be happy or unhappy "now." Happiness, like sadness and everything else, is a moment-to-moment phenomenon; Katie says as much when she writes, "You don't wake up forever. It's now. Now. Now."
I don't see depression as something to "overcome." That's the old way, and the old way was disappointing; it didn't work. "Fighting" depression in order to eliminate it is violent. The key for me is to understand the root cause of my sadness, in order to meet sadness with understanding.
In a nutshell, The Work is a way to identify and question thoughts that cause stress, suffering, lack of inner peace. The Work is just some good, targeted questions, which we choose to answer or not; all of its power comes from our own answers. It stops working the moment we stop answering the questions and begin to defend the "negative" concept we're questioning. And, of course, like everything else—exercise, or meditation, or taking vitamins, for example—it doesn't work at all if it's not practiced consistently; you don't do it a few times and it's done for all time.
Back in 2001, the answers within me that met these simple questions ended my sense of myself as "depressive," and occasionally I notice that I want to be right when the world doesn't give me what I think I want. That's the minor tantrum that sometimes leads to depressive dips; sadness is not my true nature.
I have already been opened to what's true for me, so depression is no longer the default setting. It soon becomes really uncomfortable to stay in my stuff, and once again I inquire with an open heart. When I do—so far without fail, and I"m open to being wrong—I come to laugh at myself and to love my world once more.
©2008 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.