|China 2018 Retreat File: 20180529 Q&A 6 (0:55:15-1:08:23)

Yogi: I started having depression 2 years ago when I suffered from health issues, anxiety and sleeping problem. Now, I have no energy and no interest. I don’t know what to do and have no desire to do anything – I just feel numb. What can I do?

Sayadaw: Energy is lost totally because the mind is depressed, because defilements overwhelm the mind. No energy means that wholesome energy is lost.

Because unwholesome mind is being repeated day after day, it overwhelms the mind. The mind complains every day it wakes up – then, the mind becomes more and more depressed and more defilements overwhelm the mind.

What you need to do is to start to practice, to build up your wholesome strength – the wholesome qualities of awareness and samadhi.

Meditation means to grow the wholesome qualities of the mind in any way – sila, samadhi, panna; or samatha, or vipassana. You need to cultivate these every day, all the time. Build up these strengths first. The best way is to practice mindfulness meditation.

[Previously, Sayadaw wasn’t interested in practicing seriously.]

Actually, I had no interest to practice meditation in the past. I started to practice seriously only due to depression.

At first, to overcome depression, I went everywhere and tried to do anything that would make the mind feel good. Because everything that I tried didn’t work, I had no choice but to meditate.

Every time I was aware, I was relieved from the depression. I continued to practice only because of this understanding.

Day by day awareness, samadhi and understanding increased slowly – and only then the defilements weakened slowly.]

You need to practice continuously and be very patient because it has been 2 years since the defilements overwhelm you.

Be careful of your thoughts. When negative thoughts arise, don’t continue to think. Immediately change the direction to be mindful and to think in a positive way. Don’t allow the negative thoughts to continue and increase.

Just practice regularly, but not very hard. If you stop work, the mind is too free and has more chance to think negatively. So, continue to do some small work.

Try to be aware in the present in whatever you do.

Check your mind all the time – when you’re depressed, the feeling is obvious. You need to keep your mental state from being negative by changing the direction of the thoughts.

Every time the defilements come and the depression is strong, use a neutral object and stay with it mechanically, again and again; and slowly the mind calms down. Don’t think about anything; use a neutral object and continue to be aware.

Don’t stop working – it is better to be occupied. Day by day in your daily life, try to stay in the present moment in whatever you do. You need to maintain the awareness the whole day long. This is the best way to relief you from the defilements. Try, try.