We are never the same person we were yesterday. Even if we’re with the same people, eat the same foods, and watch the same TV shows, we’re always changing. Our feelings are not what we felt yesterday, even if they seem the same. Every cell is constantly renewing itself. Every experience is filtered through the new me every morning as I wake.
The problem is we are unaware of this reality, don’t believe it, or don’t live from this place, especially if we’re depressed. The depressed mind identifies with a hopeless version of itself because it perceives today’s situation to be exactly the same as yesterday’s. But it’s not the same, and it takes training and a certain tuning into the non-changing part of ourselves to realise it.
In reality, the only constants in our lives are experience, nature, grace, and love. The rest is in constant flux. The feelings we have, in particular, are never the same, and, to enjoy good mental health, we need to notice the differences, even if they’re infinitesimal at first.
Catch the Change
A helpful way to do this is to notice that, while everything around us is changing, the eternal “I” or the perceiver of all this change that lies beneath it all doesn’t change. If we can identify more with the “watcher” of our experiences, instead of the feelings or interpretations of those experiences, then we can find safety and calm within complexity and chaos. And life begins to feel more hopeful. A Course in Miracles teaches us in detail how to do this.
Depression narrows our focus and reduces our vision as to what is possible if we identify with it. By noticing the differences between who we were yesterday and the new version of ourselves today, we’re able to recognise that we’re actually the timeless, eternal presence of our True Selves, and not the emotions or experiences of the Ego Self in the moment. The more we can recognise the fleeting nature of our feelings, even the ones that seem to have been around for a while, the faster they will disperse just as clouds do in strong wind.
Don’t Hold onto Clouds
Think for a moment of how the wind pushes all clouds away, whether they be white and fluffy or dark and stormy. This is how we are meant to experience our lives as well, especially our hard times and the dark feelings that accompany them.
Feelings are passing clouds: here for a moment and gone the next.
Unless we try to stop their drift.
Often we try to hold onto these “clouds” if they feel good and push them away if they don’t. But whether we push them away or try to clutch them tightly, it doesn’t matter… the outcome is the same: they become stuck. Neither strategy works. Pushing dark clouds away only slows the wind of change and a possibility for a better tomorrow. Grabbing onto fluffy white clouds only dulls our enjoyment of them in the moment.
Depression is one way we try to hold on. It becomes ingrained in our neural pathways when we make the erroneous assumption that our thoughts and feelings are the same as yesterday or even an hour ago. This is entirely untrue, and we need to stop and reflect more deeply as to how are feelings are not the same, even if we can only notice those differences in the smallest of degrees.
Identifying with any of our feelings (good or bad) is futile because they aren’t who we truly are.
Ultimately, the more we practice noticing the differences inherent in each moment, the more present we become, and the more joy we live. And, it’s in this place that we realise that every moment is actually a continuum of a constantly refreshed and unique life.