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Using Spiritual Activity to Overcome My Depression and Isolation

Experience submitted by Michael

Before finding Belsebuub’s work, I tried to counter low moods by distracting myself with pleasures, but these distractions would inevitably end, leaving me with the same feelings I had started out with, and locked within the swings between pleasure and pain, which Belsebuub describes in Self-Knowledge for Spiritual Awakening. However, by applying the techniques I learnt from Belsebuub’s work, I was able to take steps to overcome some of the most persistent and insidious inner states that have affected me for many years.

Of these inner states, I found depression has been one of the most difficult to deal with. I’ve observed that whereas other emotions can come and go rapidly during the day, when depression has got a hold, its veil has clouded my perception for months or even years on end. I had a prolonged period of depression as a young adult, but also came to realize that low moods have also affected me on an annual basis since my early teens, during the autumn and winter time.

A pattern of relocation and isolation also seemed to recur for various reasons from childhood onwards and as an adult I sometimes found myself living alone in different places, with limited social contact. At one point, my studies for my chosen career ended prematurely, due to illness and financial issues, and I found myself unemployed but contractually obliged to remain in the apartment I was renting for another six months.

During this time, I had minimal face-to-face contact with friends or family and my main in-person interactions were as a customer in the local supermarket. Although I have dealt with similar situations since, this period was particularly difficult, as it occurred during the grey autumn and winter months, during which my mood generally tends to worsen due to the lack of sunlight.

What helped me a lot during this period were the opportunities to connect online with like-minded people who were interested in Belsebuub’s work, and to incorporate spirituality into my daily life. I practiced various techniques suggested by Belsebuub, of which one of the most important was a technique to reduce negative inner states from moment to moment.

The technique was simple yet powerful and involved observing the various unwanted inner states occurring within me at any one time, before praying to my divine mother to remove these states whenever I became aware of them so that I could be at peace.

I also found solace in listening to Belsebuub’s weekly talks, which were then being broadcast and which always had the power to inspire me and give me a much needed lift.

Being Uplifted through Spiritual Activity

Around this time, I decided to join a spiritual retreat with some friends of mine, which also gave me a huge boost. The spiritual atmosphere and activity of the retreat came as a welcome and noticeable contrast to the isolation and depression I had been living with and was a huge motivator in deciding to relocate to be among like-minded people.

A few months later an opportunity came up to move to be with a group of friends who shared the same spiritual interests, and I jumped at the chance to work with them on a spiritual project. I had already found the techniques I learnt from Belsebuub to be powerful, but their effectiveness was amplified by practicing them with others.

In fact, when the next autumn and winter period came along, the low mood I had felt the previous year seemed barely noticeable, due to the level of spiritual activity and spiritual strength that was generated among us. Over a two-year period, I formed many happy memories of walking in nature, celebrating the solstices and equinoxes, and practicing various spiritual exercises with friends.

We spent a lot of time practicing awareness while walking in nature and trying out various other spiritual practices.  We received positive feedback from the many newcomers who joined us and I found this period of my life to be a very happy and fruitful time.

We also continued to participate online with like-minded people, particularly in joining and supporting the discussions and activities on Belsebuub’s websites. Belsebuub mentions the benefits of helping others spiritually in one of his online talks and I can definitely say that as I made efforts to help others, spiritual help came back to me.

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Finding the Strength to Overcome Isolation

During the two years I spent working on spiritual activities with like-minded friends, I received a lot of spiritual strength and gained a respite from the seasonal depression. However, another issue was developing in the background, which would eventually come to test me in a significant way.

Despite the positive changes in my life, I had been experiencing problems with my physical health prior to moving to be among my friends and had made efforts to manage these health problems in practical ways. But unfortunately, another illness developed, which would eventually affect my mobility and consequently my opportunities to interact with the outside world.

As the illness progressed, my coping strategy of spending time in nature gradually became off limits and I eventually found myself facing the autumn and winter period largely from the confines of a small apartment where I lived, which happened to be in an area of the country that received very little sunlight during the colder months.

I was fortunate to still have friends in the area, but the effect of being cut off from the outside world had a devastating impact upon my psyche and brought with it the deepest and most all-encompassing period of depression I have ever experienced.  Although I had become accustomed to the seasonal depression that occurred annually during the darker months, or the periods of low mood during other difficult times in my life, I had not predicted the depths into which this negative inner state could plunge me.

I found depression to be a complex emotion, with multiple aspects to it.  On the one hand, the drives to pursue pleasure resurfaced and I found myself seeking ways to distract myself again. However, I soon came to realize that these temporary pleasures were no antidote to depression and in fact served only to perpetuate it, as my mood still continued to plummet.

It became overwhelmingly clear that pursuing pleasures in an attempt to counter depression was neither sustainable nor practical, as I would get into such low states that I would suddenly burst into tears and be unable to continue with whatever task I was doing.

I could see how the swings of the pendulum, which Belsebuub describes, were being put into play by this lower emotion, and that on the reverse side of the drives to pursue pleasure was a desire for the suffering to end. In one of his talks, Belsebuub mentions that “thoughts won’t be your friend in depression” and I found this to be painfully true.

The depression I experienced influenced my thoughts greatly. However, I was fortunate in that the positive changes I had seen in my life prior to this very difficult period gave me hope that my circumstances would eventually change. I also had taken to heart Belsebuub’s advice in the above talk, in which he makes the following comment on how destructive the state of depression can be:

“You should try not to make a decision while you’re depressed. Wait if you can and make a decision when you’re clear, because whatever comes out of depression is caused and fed by negativity.”

I understood that Belsebuub was warning against the dangers of making decisions based upon depression. However, a decision still needed to be made – and that was to make positive and beneficial changes to overcome this inner state, rather than allowing myself to be dragged into the negative and destructive solutions that it proposed.

I felt a more spiritual approach was needed and appealed to the divine for mercy. By doing so, I found that I was able to gain some strength to keep going.

The Power of Prayer

My prayers were mainly directed towards my divine mother, who Belsebuub describes as playing an important role in the removal of lower inner states. I appealed to her in the way Belsebuub suggests, observing the various inner states within me and persisting in asking my divine mother for her help to remove them. I supplemented these specific prayers with my own personal prayers for assistance, directed not only towards my divine mother, but also my divine father and other divine beings who I felt could help.

It was an uphill struggle to battle against the pernicious inner state I was experiencing, but I felt fortunate to be able to apply the techniques I’d learnt from Belsebuub’s work and reflected that I don’t know how I would have got through it without them.

As well as prayer, which I found to be vital, I participated in other spiritual activities and practices recommended by Belsebuub. I found that practicing spiritual exercises with a group could give me a temporary lift from lower emotions and so made efforts to join friends either online, or in person to practice various techniques, such as mantras, meditation, or simple concentration exercises.

Moreover, I made an attempt to help others spiritually, as I knew that I would also benefit from these activities in the longer term. At the time, my level of activity in helping others in this way had diminished somewhat, compared with the peak of my efforts in previous years. But I tried to join in where I could, for example by supporting activities on Belsebuub’s website, or other related projects.

I found that despite some initial resistance, once I started these activities, a momentum built and my inner state was boosted as a result. Gradually, further opportunities to spiritually help others opened up and I was happy to help in some new ways, such as with research.

The help I received in return seemed to come in various forms. I continued to receive a sense of being uplifted simply by having contact with like-minded people and being involved in spiritual projects and activities. But as well as this, I also found that practical help in my everyday life also came back to me, sometimes in unexpected but very welcome ways.

Moving Forward

The period of depression I described was probably the darkest period of my life and certainly not one that I would wish to repeat. However, I was grateful that I had tools to help me through it.

Because I didn’t want to become dependent upon medication to treat depression, I pursued a more spiritual approach, which I feel helped to lift me out of it. However, I am not medically trained and am very cautious about suggesting that my approach would be appropriate in all cases, particularly as severe depression can potentially have very serious consequences for those experiencing it.

Belsebuub mentions in the above talk on depression that “anything medical needs to be treated medically” and I feel I should mention that I also needed to take practical steps to address some physiological issues within my body, using some natural treatments, which also lead to an improvement in my mood.

However, I also feel that the spiritual approach to overcoming depression, which Belsebuub describes in the same talk, played a fundamental role in reducing its effect upon me.

Gaining Understanding

Despite the difficulties of this dark period, I gained a much greater understanding of the need to be spiritually active, in order to bring about positive changes in my life. This included practicing the various spiritual exercises and activities that I learnt from Belsebuub’s work, of which I found two of the most important were the technique to observe my inner states and pray to my divine mother for the removal of unwanted thoughts, feelings and emotions, alongside helping others spiritually.

By going through this dark period in my life, I feel I gained a greater understanding of the workings of not only of my own psyche, but also the psychological functioning of others. This understanding gave me a greater empathy towards others going through difficulties – whether physically or emotionally.

I also gained a greater understanding of how events in my life are passing and that even the most severe difficulties won’t last forever. Moreover, I feel that it is possible to reduce the duration and level of suffering experienced during difficult circumstances, depending on my own psychological response to them.

I have found that life can be unpredictable and despite my best plans, it can sometimes bring unexpected difficulties. However, by adjusting my own psychological response to situations, I feel much better equipped to deal with difficulties in the future, and this in itself has given me a certain inner strength and confidence to face new challenges, in a commonsense way.

I now feel that through making efforts to act in a more correct and spiritual manner in whatever circumstances I may find myself in, I can not only allow new opportunities to take place, but also gain self-knowledge, regardless of the external events in my life.

Belsebuub speaks with wisdom and sometimes humor in the following video clip about gaining inner peace through overcoming suffering, which gave me encouragement during difficult times to not give up and to keep going. He also makes an important clarification at the end, where he mentions:

You’ve got to put the work into the situation, so that you get something out.  If you don’t put the psychological work in, it’s just suffering – and there’s no point in that, is there?

Feature Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

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27 comments
  • Thanks a lot for sharing, Michael!

    Reading your article inspired me to try and fight some very nasty inner states that have been controlling my life since I can remember – they prevent me from going for walks and cause a lot of problems when I need/decide to travel or sometimes even just take part in gatherings.

    I lost many precious opportunities of being with like-minded friends doing practices and walks in nature due to these states and your article reminded me it’s still possible to overcome these issues.

    Thank you again for your openness and the details you included in your post.

    Wishing you much inner strength.

    • Thanks very much for your comment Dan. I’m glad the article gave you some inspiration to fight against these lower inner states. It’s such a pity that those states have thwarted your wishes to participate in activities that would have benefitted you spiritually, such as going for a walk in nature, or meeting up to practice with like-minded friends.

      I found it’s very important to make every effort to go against these states, otherwise they can end up ruling our lives, as you mentioned. I have also experienced this resistance at times when going to do a spiritual practice, but once the practice starts, I can usually feel a shift in my inner state, however subtle it may be, which can help me to regain a much better level of awareness after the practice.

      Spending time in spiritual activity can also serve to take the mind away from itself and the problems that it is stuck upon. I often feel rewarded after a spiritual practice, or spending time to help others in their spiritual work, as I have as sense that it is helping me to progress, as well feeling that shift to a better inner state, which I mentioned. Without that counter-force, the lower inner states can gain so much momentum that it can be very challenging to break out of them.

      Likewise, trying to escape low moods through by pursuing pleasurable activities doesn’t usually bring a sense of reward in the long run. To give a mundane example, it reminds me of when I was at university many years ago and had assignment deadlines approaching, but either found the topics boring, or couldn’t sum up the willpower to get past the initial starting point of research gathering etc.

      So I would usually take up the opportunity to socialise with friends, drink beers and have fun as a way of escaping that responsibility. But this would then backfire, as I would be left with a gnawing sense that I’d left myself down, as well as then suffering the consequences and resulting stress of having too much work to do, but not enough time. This could also be accompanied by a low mood, due to knowing that I could have done so much better and so the whole cycle would continue.

      I know it can be very tough to overcome low inner states, particularly when circumstances seem so bleak and there appears to be very little hope on the horizon. But it seems to be very important to keep going, to avoid giving those inner states further strength, as one of their effects is to pull us away from the spiritual work and leave us with nothing but misery.

      Thanks for sharing your own experiences Dan and I wish you lots of strength and wisdom in moving forwards and overcoming the obstacles and difficulties that you have been facing.

  • Hi Michael,

    thank you for sharing your plight with depression. It is not an easy road from what you describe. Having chosen this work has helped you enormously however, and that is a celebration in itself. The significance, importance, and necessity to appeal to our higher aspect/Being, to help us lift out of such low states as well as to understand how they hold us back, is a valuable lesson in itself (from what you describe). How rewarding and reassuring to know guidance, help and salvation are always available if we are sincere in our asking and make space for that help to come into our life…Thank you for this reminder from Belsebuub’s work and for sharing your own experience of depression.

  • Thank you Michael for sharing your experiences with depression and how you worked through it. I wish I had known about the work of Belsebuub when I was severely depressed as a teenager. I remember I just wanted to stay in bed back then. There seemed little point in facing the day.

    Now though I tend to struggle with a low sense of depression at times, a lingering feeling that stays with me. I’m so grateful to know that I can ask my Divine Mother to help me. That I have a way out of those low emotions.

    The strength it took for you to go through those dark times in your life inspires me. Thanks again!

    • Thanks for your comments Anne Linn. Yes, I can relate to the feeling of not wanting to face another miserable day, then looking forward to going to sleep in the evening. But of course, the trouble with the veil of depression is that it can stop us from doing the very things that we need to do, in order to change our circumstances. I found that by making efforts to be productive, things could still gradually move forwards, rather than just staying stagnant, which is what the state of depression wants to bring about.

      I’m glad you found the article inspiring. I think sometimes very difficult times can be “sink or swim” situations, where we have to either find a way of reaching the shore, or else drown. It can be difficult to maintain faith when we need to keep swimming to stay afloat, but with no sign of land in sight or clear indication of which direction the land is in. But I’ve found faith is so important to keep moving forwards, as with it, there is still the hope to move forwards, whereas without it, the circumstances can appear too overwhelming to bear.

      I had some very challenging times again earlier this year, which I seemed to be trapped in, but I found that by maintaining my connection with the divine, I was able to find a way through it. Then to my pleasant surprise, things actually seemed to gradually improve, bringing about new possibilities.

      I’m reminded of Jesus comment “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30, King James Bible). The apostles ask the same of Jesus in The Acts of Peter and 12 Apostles, upon meeting him after the resurrection: “What you wish we will do. But give us power to do what you wish at all times.”

      Both excerpts show how important it is to trust in the divine will. Like you, I am also grateful that I have the help of my Divine Mother and the other spiritual beings, which can help me to break free of these lower emotions.

  • Something your article made me remember Michael is how all the difficulties Belsebuub writes about, with great in depth knowledge, he’s gone through himself. Not only is his advice and information on such difficulties incredibly valuable (something especially known and deeply appreciated when actually going through such hard times ourselves) but his example itself also gives such a hope. To know he’s been there in those very situations, and managed to go through them.

    Your article gives many insights. Wishing you every key to get you through every upcoming door to where you want to go!

    • Yes, that’s a good point Karim. I think the reason Belsebuub is able to advise others with such depth is that he has been through the difficulties we each face, so can use the self-knowledge he gained to help others. His example is indeed an inspiring one, which gives us a lot of hope.

      Thanks for your comment and wishes. I also wish you a lot of strength and guidance in moving forwards.

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences with depression Michael. It seems like you managed to make the best out of the difficult situations you were thrown in. In this regard, I especially liked the last quote from Belsebuub you mentioned, it brought a smile to my face due to its down-to earth practical approach in these impossible situations. 🙂

    Wishing you all the best with extracting the light from the darkness, and hope that with your helath steadily improving, you will soon face different, more active and social situations in your life.

    • Thanks for highlighting that last sentence of the quote Lucia. It’s one that stuck with me in the last few days because I felt it was relevant.

    • Thanks Lucia. Yes, I also found that Belsebuub’s down-to-earth guidance is always very welcome during difficult times. I also wish you all the best in your inner learning.

  • Thank you, Michael, for this very personal account of your facing and overcoming depression. There is so much wisdom in what you have shared. It was really an incredible read and I feel a lot of inspiration from reading it.

    Being active spiritually and having contact with others (both spiritually and even in more mundane social interactions) is so important for spiritual feelings and staving off depression and low states. Isolation can be so psychologically debilitating and by reaching out to others, I find we can connect with something greater – the universal forces of giving and receiving – and it makes such a big difference. I know that the mere act of doing something to help others, even when I’ve been at my lowest point, has drastically changed my outlook on life and lifted me up. I really appreciate the way you illustrated this; I could relate to so much of what you wrote.

    Wishing you lots of strength and better health ahead!

    • Thanks very much for your comment Mike. I’m glad you were able to connect with the article and take something from it. I wish you a lot of inner strength too!

  • Michael,
    Thank you for sharing your story. There’s a lot here and I appreciate your honesty and openness in sharing the challenges you’ve had to face. Depression is something I’ve experienced as well and it IS a very tricky beast. I have 3 generations of Bi-polar disorder on one side of my family, and while I have never really felt stuck in depression for what might be considered a long period, any period of depression is too long in my books, and the tools for breaking out of it as you’ve shared here are very valuable. It was interesting also to hear you reference Belsebuub’s idea that ‘thoughts won’t be your friend in depression’. This is not something that I remember hearing before, but often times in the past when stuck in depression I try to analyze what is happening internally and this NEVER works to break out of it. Even if my conscious thought shows me that there is no substantial reason to be in a low state, this still is not removing the state itself, and thought is ineffective. In these times I find exercise (as I’ve always been able to use my body actively, for which I’m very grateful for) is always a great first step. Simply to change the body’s chemistry, move energy around, release dopamine etc.. then some type of productive activity, whether spiritually focused or not, like cleaning the house, building something useful etc.. all help bring me out a low state. And then I’m in a much better state to do a spiritual practice or work on something to help others and reflect and look back on the former state to get more information.

    It’s been very rare for me to have to battle depression for a long period, but in those occurrences, I seemed to understand that I was not living true to my purpose. ie: my life seemed to lack purpose or meaning for me at a deep level and depression was part of the result. I also spoke with a friend recently who had his first bout of depression at age 35 and after coming out the other side, he had a similar realization. And I think this is perhaps why depression has become so widespread in today’s culture. Most people are not identified with the deeper purpose of their life and what they are here to do. And for me, I have Belsebuub and his work to thank for helping me understand my purpose here.

    Michael it was also interesting to hear about your notes about seasonal depression based on much lower levels of sunlight. My Aunt who has bi-polar spent many years living in very northern latitudes in which they might see 23hrs of daylight in the summer and 23hrs of darkness in the winter. And of course, I don’t think she was alone in suffering depression in those very northern communities.

    I’m glad you have the tools and understanding you’ve applied here and thanks for ‘putting in the work’ and sharing some of your insight.

    • Hi Andrew, I just wanted to say that like you and your friend, I also found myself in this exact circumstance of “existential depression” for quite some time before I found the works of Belsebuub. Like you, I also felt that I need something that will help me to fulfill my “soul’s purpose”, but didn’t know what that was. For a while, it helped me to get involved in art, especially drawing. There, I found a quiet observance and contemplation that brought some new layers of understanding about life to me, but eventually, I sunk into depression again, this time due to the ever-present unanswered questions about love and relationships. I felt like there was some deeper truth hidden behind this area of life, but just could not find it nor feel it. After finding Belsebuub’s works and starting to practice it, everything just made perfect sense and I don’t remember being depressed as such from then on anymore…

      • Lucia this really highlights for me how important the right knowledge and understanding (self-knowledge & inner tools) is in order to really change these states & to not relapse as inwardly you have changed and are no longer ignorant or unknowing of the inner mechanisms which lead you down and you are significantly higher in vibration and are not easily shaken. It also reminds me that even in suffering the Consciousness is pushing us, trying to find something to pull us & draw us towards the spirit & freedom from these states.

    • Thanks very much for your comments Andrew. There have also been some mental health issues down one side of my family and it has been a longstanding concern for me that I could have inherited the same genes. But I have been encouraged by the field of epigenetics, which shows that even if we have a history of serious physical or mental illnesses in our family, including cancer, these genes can be “switched on” or “switched off”, depending on environmental factors, which overall seem to have a much bigger impact than genetic influences. There are usually multiple gene sequences involved in triggering illness and I recently read that since there are over 20, 000 genes, the number of possible combinations of these within each person’s body is huge. So it’s difficult to pinpoint one particular gene as being the sole cause.

      You mentioned some useful points about using simple activity to overcome lower states, even if it is just getting movement through the body by going for a walk or doing some productive chores around the house. I remember Belsebuub also mentioning that moving the physical body can help us to feel lighter if we are stuck in low states, in addition to the boost that spiritual activity and helping others can give us.

      In my case, it has been very tough to go through an illness that prevented me from doing simple activities around the house, or going for a walk. At the moment, I’m beginning to regain some of my mobility and it’s such a treat to be able to move the body more frequently again, rather than looking at the same room for year after year.

      I think an overlooked aspect of many long-term illnesses is that they can bring about an overarching sense of loss, which can be intensified by the social isolation that can occur, so it’s easy to get stuck inside a narrow corner of the world, with seemingly limited opportunities to break out of that pattern. I could relate to Belsebuub’s comment in his talk on illness that “One thing is keeping going when everything is going well; it’s another thing to keep going when things are really really difficult, when you can hardly move and it goes on and on and on and on”.

      There is no recognised cure for my illness among the mainstream medical profession and although I’ve heard accounts of people who have recovered from it and even witnessed the remarkable recovery of a close friend, it can be tough to have that prognosis looming, despite my best attempts to keep positive. But these feelings are something inevitable that we will all have to face in life, as no-one lives in a physical body that can replenished and renewed indefinitely.

      Listening to Belsebuub’s talk on illness helped to put some of these things into perspective for me. He mentioned how illnesses can bring up so many aspects of our psyche, which would otherwise have remained buried and hidden from view. In my case, an unfortunate aspect of my type of illness is that it is largely misunderstood in society and even by the medical profession, yet the daily symptoms can be as severe as the many of the side effects of undergoing chemotherapy. This has of course brought up all sorts of reactions within, but I feel I’ve also learnt a lot about through those situations and have been given a lot of opportunity to reduce those lower inner states. Without this spiritual work there to give me a clear direction, I doubt I would have been able to have gone through that, as I would have been engulfed by the weight of negativity.

      I’ve also found that the influence of physiological factors upon our emotional state is much greater than I initially realised. It’s quite common for people’s mood to be lifted by sunlight and as you mentioned, the prevalence of depression in far northerly countries is likely no coincidence. Then there is also the influence of our hormones, gut function, diet and other factors within the environment. I even learnt recently about the devastating impact of EMF (electro-magnetic frequencies) upon gut health and consequently our overall health, as the gut is often referred to as “the second brain” among natural health practitioners and houses a good proportion of the immune system.

      Belsebuub comments on the interaction between the physical body and emotional state in some of his work, and mentions during the talk on illness that we need to do whatever we can in order to get better. After much searching, I’ve managed to find a treatment program that has actually allowed me to significantly reduce some of the regular symptoms that were plaguing me for so long.

      Although I had to do a lot of research to find something that worked for me, I don’t feel that I would have come across the right information if I hadn’t have made efforts to be spiritually active. So in this respect, I feel there has been some kind of dharma payment in being given the tools to repair my physical body, in order to regain my health and move forwards with a greater level of spiritual activity.

      It’s interesting how divine help is always there in the background, even though it may appear absent at times. For example, many people who have my illness experience cognitive impairment, but although I’ve been affected by this to a degree, I’ve still been able to concentrate and read fairly well, so I’ve always had the opportunity to engage in spiritual activities online, such as participating in this or other related sites. Again, this has been a huge boost for me, as it has given me a definite purpose and goal and a real sense of reward, amidst the confusion of an uncertain future.

      I still need to use common sense in allowing my body the rest it needs, which Belsebuub also mentions the importance of in his other works. But I feel more confident now about this being a time of transition into something new, rather than forever being stuck in the same situation. That gives a greater sense of hopefulness and faith to keep moving forwards.

      • Michael,
        Thank you for sharing further. I think the field of epigenetics fits hand and glove with the idea of karma/dharma and repetition of lives upon the wheel, our karmic past etc.. We are tied with our family in karmic relations and we can either live like them (psychologically, environmentally, etc..) or we can live differently. I think often that my genetic pre-disposition for mental illness would have allowed mental illness to manifest itself in my life if my childhood and young adult life had been substantially different or had aspects of trauma or addiction in it. But thankfully none of that occurred and I am very grateful for the wonderful environment and supportive family I had.

        The sense of over arching loss you mention sounds like a great weight. And putting myself in your shoes for a moment I see how deep that could go. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with that. I wish you great inner strength & peace to help you overcome. You’ve given me a gratefulness for my body and it’s health that I would not have had without you sharing. So thank you for that. I will do my best to hold that in my awareness throughout the day and really enjoy & perceive my movements. Much strength, hope, peace & prayers to you!.

  • Thank you for writing about this difficult time in your life Michael. It’s hard to share about something personal like this but it really helps to read it and I can relate to many points you brought up.

    “I feel that it is possible to reduce the duration and level of suffering experienced during difficult circumstances, depending on my own psychological response to them.”

    That’s well expressed and I completely relate. Moreover I’ve seen that trying to do something pleasurable to get rid of any kind of psychological pain, numbing it and pushing it down though it feels natural, the pain will resurface again and it’s like nothing has changed, and the pain is possibly worse. I stay stuck in the same cycle that repeats endlessly. But instead to face the pain in a detached way with conscious perception and not allow yourself to be taken over by it.

    I’ve become familiar with how much inner resistance there can be to doing a spiritual activity when you feel low or depressed. It’s almost like something within me is trying to stop me from doing it, putting a veil or an illusion to make it seem like something I really don’t want to do. If I can do it nevertheless, quickly it starts to lift me up and if it’s helping others then I feel the inner isolation decreasing and like I connect to something greater that helps to raise me up and gives strength. The painful feeling of resistance is soon gone if I can just cross that threshold. Sometimes there’s been periods when I’ve let myself be overcome by the resistance and when I manage to get back, I see how unnecessary it was and how it actually made my life more complicated than it had to be.

    It sounds like you’ve gone through some extremely difficult times and I want to say how really great it is that you’ve put the effort in again and again to be active and connect to people and apply the spiritual techniques. It would’ve been easy to get overwhelmed and crushed by it and drift away, but you didn’t.

    • Yes, I can relate to some of those resistances to doing a spiritual activity Laura, which is ironic, as I usually feel lighter within myself after either doing a practice or doing something to help others spiritually.

      I feel the egos are like bullies, who want to prevent us from being happy and take pleasure in bringing us down. They try to prey on our weak points to bring about the response that they want. But if we “stand up” to them, by using the counter force of spiritual activity, we can become more detached from them and less afraid of them, so they begin to lose their power over us.

      Thanks for the encouragement too. Sometimes when a situation goes on over many years, it can seem like there’s no end to it, which can then lead to despondency. But it’s important to keep moving forwards, otherwise we just stay stuck. Like if we’re going on a trek into an unknown territory. If we panic at the first sign of adversity and retreat back, then we’ll never get much further than that point and miss out on all the new things that we could learn from along the way. Whereas, if we deal with each event as it comes, while keeping in mind the overall goal, we can still move forwards.

  • Thanks a lot for your article Michael. Like others have said, you bring up a lot of important points, particularly the importance of activity to overcome depression. In many cases I have found that just by doing the things I need to do I can gain a strength against depression and other low inner states (which do not want to do something). In these cases I completely agree that thought is not my friend.

    From reading your article I could notice my own tendency to want good external situations, and be disappointed/reactive when bad situations or unexpected ones come up. I think it is very natural and often healthy, however it shows a lack of appreciation of difficult situations and the psychological opportunities they provide. Additionally, I think that too much of a focus on improving external situations can make it more difficult to see things that are truly important, things that could have been done if we chose to tackle the issue psychologically and spend our time elsewhere. I think this is an error of a materialistic way of thinking that causes many long-term mistakes.

    I had a small experience with this just the other day, where a situation came up and I needed to do something that I did not want to nor plan to. By making an effort to just do the activity and be aware (i.e. stop mental chatter and emotions) I had a chance to improve my relationship with a person as well as tackle my own negativity to the situation.

    • Thanks for your comments Alex. Yes, it seems that overcoming attachments to our ideas of how we would like things to be is an important step in breaking free of the negative responses that can occur when our plans are thwarted. It’s a difficult thing to do, but as you mentioned, we also need to make use of the opportunities to observe our inner states during difficult times, so that we can learn to break free of them.

  • Thanks for your comment and well wishes Fotis. Yes, I think breaking the pattern of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is significant in coming out of lower inner states, yet this can be very difficult when someone is immersed in a purely materialistic way of living, which is a pity.

    It’s good to bear in mind that nothing can last for ever, as you mentioned about the summer. Although most people prefer the sunshine to grey skies, having that constant comparison between an ideal setting and the daily reality can lead to dissatisfaction and suffering. So it is better to accept circumstances as they arise, rather than always wishing for things to be different.

    I can relate to what you mentioned about that period of intense spiritual activity being like a time of training. The momentum I gained during that time also helped me to deal with difficulties in a better way, as I had the experience of what could be created with the right kind of efforts.

    I also wish you strength and faith in moving forwards.

  • Michael this is a beautifully written and detailed article; it’s very helpful to read; thank you for taking the time to share part of your journey with us.

    You’ve given quite a lot to reflect on and it’d be worth meditating on some of these points before giving a clear response however the point you’ve raised about putting in the work to any given situation is crucial in my experience. So much value can be gained from suffering if enough effort is put into practicing Belsebuub’s work. Without Belsebuub’s techniques it would be near close to impossible to gain anything from such horrifying situations from my perspective.

    I sincerely hope you can effectively apply the wisdom you’ve gained to ascend.

    • Yes, I agree with that very much Martin. Without the techniques I learnt from Belsebuub, I really don’t know how I would have gone through some of these serious difficulties in my life. But as you said, we can gain a lot by making sincere efforts to study ourselves during times of suffering and hardship, as those situations can bring up so many different reactions that would otherwise have stayed buried.

      I can think of many examples of these hidden inner states that have emerged over recent years. One that is particularly fresh is that I thought I was doing pretty well in reducing my anxiety and fears, as I had made progress in some particular areas related to these emotional responses. But then a series of events collided together at the same time, which brought up some really deep and raw fears, which were difficult to confront and deal with. Among these were fears about being left alone in a kind of endless suffering.

      Those fears were part of a series of events that span back over many years and it was certainly tough to keep a momentum going with the inner work when those emotions wanted to put a stop to the whole process. But by putting my trust in the divine by asking for guidance and help, I found that things were able to move forwards.

      Thanks for your wishes and I also wish you a lot of strength and wisdom in moving forwards in your inner work in the fight to gain self-knowledge. There are so many layers of the psyche to understand, which make it a long, but ultimately very rewarding journey.

  • I can relate to your experiences of depression and physical illness, Michael.
    Although things seem very difficult at time and even for a very long time its great to see that you got a lot out of those periods. I would also say that by understanding myself I understood others around me and that that also helped me to grow in compassion. I guess what makes it even worse in these situations is when others around you lack that compassion and to feel that for others brings a whole new wave of positive consequences in our own lives.

    It seems that the spiritual activity is all that there is to counteract reactions to those difficult circumstances. On the other hand, seeing a bigger picture at the same time also brings a lot of relief – as you said things will pass, and what is the point of them if we don’t gain anything such as growing in compassion, love and understanding.

    I wish you all the strength, understanding and guidance in your continuous efforts to gain health and wisdom.

    • Yes, I’ve felt the same Tina, that by going through difficulties myself, I’ve gained a greater sense of compassion and understanding towards others. Of course, it’s horrible to go through suffering, but I’ve heard a number of other people who have gone through severe illness or other hardships talking about the benefits they gained from those difficulties and how it changed their approach to life and increased their sense of compassion, love and understanding towards others.

      I can also relate to what you said about being disappointed to increase that sense of compassion towards others, but find that most people don’t really have this quality well developed. I’ve found it has been difficult to deal with my own reactions to this, as it can be hurtful when others continue to behave in a way that seems insensitive and inconsiderate, particularly at times when I have been going through very intense suffering. I couldn’t understand why many people weren’t more caring, as I would automatically want to help someone in need, but I then realised that if someone doesn’t have direct personal experience of going through similar hardships, they really only have an intellectual and somewhat abstract understanding of what it is actually like, so the support that they can give is therefore very limited.

      I agree that spiritual activity is a very effective tool in counteracting our negative responses to situations, as it can create new understanding and opportunities. It also allows us to put our lives into a bigger picture, as you mentioned, which gives a sense of reassurance that suffering won’t last forever and can be overcome by reducing the negativity within and increasing consciousness.

      It’s sad that there are so many people going through suffering in the world who don’t have the tools to change and gain self-knowledge and so become immersed in those difficulties. It puts into perspective the prevalence of addictions throughout society, ranging from alcohol and illicit drugs to comfort eating or gambling addictions, as the temporary highs gained from these pursuits are so often used to block out emotional pain, which many people may feel powerless to face and overcome.

      Thanks for your comments and well wishes. I also wish you a lot of strength, guidance and wisdom in moving forwards in gaining self-knowledge and understanding.

  • Thank you Michael for sharing your story!
    A lot of challenges and difficult to describe the feelings from them but experiencing depression as many people do, me as well, I can relate and understand in one extend what you mean. Especially during the short daylight period without much sunshine.

    Realising this vicious circle “looking for pleasures- avoid pain” I think is fundamental in order to get out of it but I think that there is no way out when being inside a total materialistic life. I mean for people who don’t pursue spiritual development this circle is part of their lives and to overcome in one extend depression they have to use this pattern, of course together with the mainstream (or not) treatment if is needed.
    From my experience, a permanent shift of consciousness is needed and I think you gave a great example of it.

    I can also relate to one period with a lot of spiritual type activity like the one you said, and the boost it gave me. Looking back now though I think that period was more like a school for me to learn something in order to use it when I’ll graduate from it. And also like “the summer doesn’t last forever” I want to be aware of it and not be taken from the pleasant periods, days of my life, but see them like part of a bigger process.

    Btw Belsebuub’s article about depression is really a great study and has helped me as well.

    Strength and faith, and I hope you’ll find the way to be healthy again.

About Belsebuub

belsebuub mark pritchard
Image © Mark Pritchard
Mark Pritchard (Belsebuub) is an author and spiritual teacher that has been writing about and demonstrating practical techniques for self-discovery for more than twenty-five years. Read more

More Experience Sites

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