IS something trying to push you down? Don't let it. Most of us would resist vehemently a hypnotizer who was standing before us and striving to bring us under his or her control. But what about the unseen hypnosis of melancholy and depressing thoughts? That's more subtle, and we need to be alert to resist its influence. Depression insinuates itself into our thinking with sad little suggestions that crescendo, until we may feel a bit likeJonah, who said, ``Out of the belly of hell cried I.'' But Jonah continues, referring to Almighty God, ``And thou heardest my voice.'' Later he concludes, ``I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving.... Salvation is of the Lord.''1
Aren't praise and thanksgiving to God an important antidote for despair? We need to open our thought to the realityof God's power and goodness. To begin gratefully to accept the fact that God is Love itself, regardless of how depressing things may seem at the moment, is to take an important first step in dissolving that mesmeric state of thought and seeing a solution to our troubles.
During my teens and twenties I was given to periods of deep depression. But I learned through Christian Science that it was unnecessary to let myself go down into the pit of self-pity and despair. I only had to come up again, which sometimes took considerable effort! I learned that turning to God for uplift when I first found myself drifting into discouragement prevented these terrible slides into the mental swamp of hopeless dejection and saved me much wasted time.
When we turn in prayer to divine Love, we find our thought rising from negativity to hope and faith. We begin to glimpse the fact that God's good creation is here now -- that harmony is the spiritual and only reality of existence, and that it can be brought to light in our lives right where evil may at the moment seem so immovable. Yes, depression may appear legitimate, but we can gain dominion over it and see a harmonizing of circumstances.
Christ Jesus said, ``The kingdom of God is within you.''2 He surely could not have meant that it was within material bodies but rather within thought, within consciousness, where we can always find it. And what is this kingdom of God, or kingdom of heaven? Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, defines heaven this way: ``Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul.''3
Harmony is a result of our spiritualresponse to God; it's not outside somewhere. We experience it as we allow Spirit, not matter, to reign in our lives by our striving to worship the one God in all that we think and do. We experience it as we're willing to assert that we are governed not by evil, depressing thoughts but by God, the divine Principle of being, who causes good alone. Letting a love of Spirit motivate us can bring us pure joy right now. Sadness has a mesmeric pull that needs to be challenged and rejected.
To rout depression, gratitude for both seen and unseen blessings is a wonderful weapon. At times of intense discouragement I have reconsidered the many things I have to be grateful for -- things so often taken for granted. Even more important, I have remembered to be grateful that God is good; that He is always present, always here to turn to; that He is unfailing Love; that He loves me and everyone, no matter how little we may be aware of it at times. A good parent would not withhold blessings from his or her child if it were possible to bestow them. How much less would a perfect, just God do so!
A better understanding of God and of man as His perfect spiritual expression will help us to grasp what true happiness is, and we will stop looking for it in wrong directions through blind self-will. As long as we're striving to live in accord with divine law, we have a right to happiness. We don't have to be pulled down by the dark murmurings of a supposititious consciousness calling itself mind.
No wrong sense of what man is -- of what we ourselves really are -- should be allowed to take our God-given joy from us or depress us. Spiritual man, the eternal selfhood of each one of us, possessesdominion, capability, intelligence, and boundless joy. As we look to our creator in gratitude, willing to accept what He is and what we really are as His offspring, we'll enjoy a lifting of depression.
1Jonah 2:2, 9. 2Luke 17:21. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 587. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22