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John Ruskan's
Emotional Clearing

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It's primarily the buildup of suppressed feelings that results in the chronic depressed and manic-depressive conditions. Depression is not a disease or illness that we catch, even in its most severe forms. It is not genetically acquired, even though persons who are susceptible to it may tend to be attracted to one another and may even incarnate in family groups, as will occur with other characteristics as well. Depression is the result of ignorance and mismanagement of experience. We fall into a pattern of suppressing feelings instead of allowing them to release, which results in addictive tendencies, depletion of energy, and the condition we call depression.

If you are experiencing significant depression, you need to enter upon a dedicated program, either by yourself or with help, of releasing these suppressed feelings. Many feelings – basic feelings such as anxiety, anger, loneliness, jealousy, sexual compulsiveness – are likely to be already conscious, waiting to be engaged properly so they can be cleared. If you work with them, you will be led to deeper core feelings and patterns that will ultimately result in complete healing and balance.

If you are conscious only of the depression and not of any negative feelings in particular, then you are in a repressed condition – without awareness – and working to uncover and release the feelings is even more urgent. The repressed feelings attract adversity, failure, accident, and ultimately result in breakdown of the physical body.

Don’t react to depression by trying to escape or compensate through other activities. Don’t blame circumstances, events, or other people for your depression. It is possible to lose perspective and project depression onto unrelated areas of life, thinking that you are depressed because of this or that condition without understanding the real cause. Instead, process the depression.

Processing the experience of depression, even though it is the result of suppression and not a core feeling in itself, may proceed exactly as with any feeling. Recognize that depression is an energetic condition. Feel it, witness it, as an energetic experience. Detach and break your identification with it. Use the powerful tools of breathwork and bodywork. Activate healing energy, enter alpha, and especially breathe into the feelings of depression. Allow the healing energies of the universe to come in as you accept and watch. As you engage the feeling of depression, surrender entirely to the sensation. Allow the depression to be. Doing only this can bring tremendous relief, because you are no longer trying to avoid.

Ceasing resistance to the depression will change your entire energy flow. As you sit with depression, the feelings behind it eventually will come into awareness to be processed. These can be any kind of feelings; no one particular type of feeling is behind depression. Do not think you are getting worse when this happens. Recognize that the subconscious is being revealed to be healed. Trust that you are being guided and protected.

Depression is the condition
of energy depletion

Suppressing feelings requires large amounts of psychic energy. This contributes substantially to the condition of energetic depletion that we call depression. When you work with feelings of depression, you will sense a recharging taking place. You will draw energy to youself to automatically replenish your exhausted reserves. When the experience of depression itself is integrated, it becomes the natural complement to expenditure of psychic energies. Depression becomes the time to recharge, to heal. It can be joyous and restful, once surrendered to. Physical imbalances that may correspond to the energy depletion also will come into alignment.

Mild depression will arise from normal cycles of living. Since we are active beings, a certain amount of depression is inevitable; it is the complement to activity. If you can accept and open to depression, you will recharge your energy reserves instead of suppressing the depression with rejecting attitudes, such as becoming depressed about the depression.

Depression can be suppressed and stored in the energy body; the depletion becomes larger and is unable to satisfactorily recharge. If you have a pattern of avoiding depression, you probably have a good deal of suppressed depression. You will have to work with it in a reasonable manner, not exceeding your toleration point. Do not react to your depression; do not become motivated by it. Eventually acceptance will bring you to the point where you experience depression as the natural recharging of energies.

Chemical substances
act as suppressants

All chemical substances used to modify or mood alter feelings, including depression, do not serve to actually resolve the feelings but only to suppress the feelings from conscious awareness. This includes natural substances such as St. John’s wort as well as prescription drugs. Unfortunately, that it may be of “natural” origin does not change the way any mood-altering substance works: by suppressing feelings. If we regularly turn to substances as the means to control feelings, we are only digging ourselves deeper into the dark hole of suppression.

I view the medical establishment’s reliance on pharmacology as the primary strategy for handling mood disorder as materialistic ignorance of the highest degree. Brain chemistry is the result of feelings, not the other way around, and trying to change brain chemistry to change feelings is simply absurd. Whether it’s lithium, Prozac, illegal drugs, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, St. John’s wort, or any of the newest, latest designer drugs, all chemically induced mood changes take us out of our feelings. Integration becomes impossible. We enter a no-man’s land of self-rejection, cut off from our soul and the eventuality of real healing. The popularity of mood-altering substance use today is a compelling comment on both the poverty of the world’s emotional state and the utter lack of comprehension about how to handle it.

However, in spite of my condemnation of substance usage, at times it may be called for. If conditions are so severe that it is impossible to function, judicious use of substances may be justified when coupled with other forms of holistic psychological work – meditation, breathwork, bodywork, EC processing, therapy, or support groups. But you should recognize that progress with inner work is limited when substances are used; feelings are not available for processing. They are kept suppressed by the substance. You are merely treading water and will eventually experience a backlash from the suppression that the substance causes. If you are using any form of substance, your priority should be getting off it so that work may proceed.

Release yourself from the illness
and “syndrome” trap

The medical establishment is fond of labeling depression an illness. I wish to make clear that, in my opinion, implying that depression is an illness is a disservice to the person as well as an impediment to resolution. Illness is usually interpreted to mean something has been “caught”; it is beyond the individual’s control, and the “cure” must be effected by outside intervention. Even though the motive behind the labeling of the patient’s condition as illness may be benevolent – trying to assuage feelings a patient may have of being “bad” – the subtle shift of responsibility away from self and into a blaming or victim mode (it’s the illness, not me) undermines the most basic healing orientation, that of taking full responsibility for oneself and one’s condition.

The medical establishment currently is encouraging this distortion of responsibility by identifying and blaming a multitude of other “syndromes” for behavior or experience. I understand the need for a label to identify types of behavior, but what is implied is, again, that an illness is present. Instead, we need to understand that behavioral acting out is a form of defense from underlying feelings, especially in the case of obsessive-compulsive syndrome and other similar ones, and that painful inner experience such as depression and even disease is the result of unconscious mismanagement of personal psychic energies.


© 2004 John Ruskan / The Institute for Integrative Processing