We can overcome a chronic sense of brokenness and depression by humbling ourselves to truth. That sounds very abstract, so I will make it more concrete.

 

We need to get rid of our emotionalistic and impressionistic mindset, which knows little of truth, and start thinking clearly. We have to put our intellect in charge of the psyche before we try to know any great truth or love. The intellect, joined with awareness, is concerned with gaining psychological and spiritual objectivity.

Typically, spiritual seekers believe the intellect is a useless troublemaker. They try not to think too much, because their thinking tends to go in circles. This problem is only solved by learning to think clearly, not avoiding thinking.

 

People who are emotionally dysregulated are not objective. They do not understand what they are doing wrong in their lives and relationships. Life is largely a process of learning to be useful and to create genuine relationships. To do this, we have to first establish the right relationship to our bodies, our energy and our daily habits.

 

That first of all means not being addicted to sensory pleasures, comforts and people. I can guarantee that anyone with chronic depression or anxiety is addicted to something. It is always a substitute for real love and truth. This keeps the psyche mired in anxiety and depression because either consciously or unconsciously, it knows that it is not properly oriented to life.

 

Objectivity means learning to surrender and give up ideas, attitudes and actions that don't work. It means seeing people, situations and experiences for what they are. It means to drop all your wishful thinking.

 

The questions for a person who always feels broken and depressed are:

What are you doing with your life?

What is not working?

 

They must first examine their practical relationship to the world, not their metaphysical ideas. That comes later.

 

Undoubtedly, you will see that such people have adopted some esoteric, strange idea for how to pursue work or relationships. They are usually rather utopian or dreamy in their outlook. Their feet are not on solid ground.

 

If you pursue only one side of life and identify exclusively with one archetype or polarity in life, you are going to suffer. You are going to make yourself into an esoteric character and reject the ordinary ground on which life is lived by most people.

 

Also, people who feel anxious and depressed have usually not resolved their relationship to one or both of their parents. They haven't come to terms with them or forgiven them in some way. I show people how to have a candid talk with their parents if that is possible, and what to do if it is not possible.

 

Does your spiritual teacher tell you how to do this? No - they just tell you to embrace your painful feelings. That's like trying to hug a tiger when you're in the tiger's mouth. Your feelings of misery aren't going to ever hug you back. They take over and make you think life is hopeless. What does it even mean to embrace such feelings of dread and despair?

 

Feelings of dread, despair and hopelessness are not like a natural process of grief that you need to surrender to so that you can move through the process. These feelings are born of deep existential confusion. They cloud your mind and block spiritual progress.

 

The first step out is to admit to yourself that you are clearly in a wrong understanding and relationship with life and yourself, and that you need objectivity. You then make it your business to vigorously question your ideas and actions. See what you keep doing that only creates more suffering. See where you are allowing negative relationships in your life and where they can be improved. See where you can be of genuine service to others through your work, and pursue that in a practical way.

 

Stop trying to heal and soothe your energy and emotions. If you haven't made love with your husband in a year and you doubt that he even likes you, that's not going to be fixed by attending a sound-healing session or a yoga retreat. First you must address the problems in your life head-on, one by one.

 

When you take a brutally honest moral inventory of your life and ask for a karmic reckoning, you will be shown exactly where you are off. Then you must ask what to do about it. You must learn to take what you know to be appropriate action, regardless of feelings.

 

You have to learn to be the impartial observer of your psyche, using your intellect as a firm yet merciful judge that discerns between fact and fiction.

 

Once you hear that you are directly responsible for your ongoing inner state of mind, you gain a bit of hope. Now you can do something about it. Many so-called spiritual teachings tell you that you're not responsible and that all is God, or some other platitude. But no one has the right or reason to talk about God until they have put their own psyche in order.

When you make some progress in gaining objectivity and taking action to set things right, your anxiety and depression will lift. You will develop a spiritual immune system that rejects falsehoods. You will be given a glimpse of real peace, joy and spiritual sobriety. From that base camp of equanimity, you have to then work to gain real wisdom and happiness. That comes from ever sharper insight and spiritual empowerment.