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Depression Success Story: “Sitting Meditation Is Just a Requirement for Life. I Know. I Asked People”

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Contributor: Mollie Player

Recently I read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. In it he talked about one of his early memories of another yogi who couldn’t stand working anymore, so he quit and just meditated all day long from then on.

Damn, I thought when I read that. I still love working.

I have a long way to go.

Turns out I’m not a yogi yet. And let’s face it: I probably never will be. In spite of many past efforts–most of them enjoyable, even–sitting meditation just isn’t my thing. Working is. Doing is. Moving my body, getting stuff done. I know it’s not what spiritual people are supposed to say, but … I think I was meant to be a doer.

I think it’s my calling to be non-Zen.

And when I look hard enough, I find a little bit of encouragement for this seeming flaw. In Anita Moorjani’s Dying To Be Me, she makes an impassioned plea for people to find God in doing things they love–mundane things, sensual things, unusual things. Whatever makes you happy. And in several of Eckhart Tolle’s audio recordings he discusses this idea, too, saying that it’s actually better to live life and bring stillness to the living of it rather than becoming a monk somewhere. Life gives us plenty of opportunities to grow, he says. No need to seek a special kind of pain by sitting uncomfortably on an ashram floor. Unless you really want to, that is.

Finally, in In The Presence of A Great Mystery, another audio recording of Tolle’s, he makes another interesting statement. During the question and answer session a man asked him how to not fall asleep during meditation. First, Tolle answered that this is normal, that he’s seen many a monk sleeping during their 4 a.m. meditation session. But then he adds that what’s important in forming a meditation practice isn’t how long you stay in the state of no-mind, but how often you return. In other words, it’s better to hold short meditation “sessions” all throughout your day. “Even ten seconds is enough,” Tolle says.

Ten seconds.

I can do that.

All this to say that if sitting meditation is your thing, please, please don’t give it up. It helps so many people, in so many ways, and one day I will likely return to this practice (though maybe not in a totally committed way). But it’s not for everyone. Not for all times and seasons of life.

And it really doesn’t have to be.

And now, the questions.

Does this spiritual practice work against depression?

Of course it does. Can’t argue with science.

Have you tried it? For how long?

I did sitting meditations for about two years, though not daily. There was a time, though, when I sincerely wanted to attend a local meditation class every day of the week–I couldn’t get enough. These days, with three kids instead of one infant, I am unable to go to meditation classes at all, which is unfortunate; I greatly prefer the experience when I’m with others. It keeps me from jumping out of the chair.

What were your results?

I loved sitting meditation while I was doing it. It did bring me inner peace, though it’s hard to say how much.

Does this practice change your mood right away? How so? What do you feel?

Sometimes it does. When meditating, I usually feel quite happy, particularly if I meditate on a pleasant mantra, which I love to do. An example: “All is well. It is good.” Try saying that to yourself in silence for an hour, and you’ll feel pretty good, too.

What’s the downside?

Time. It takes time. And Type A people like me struggle to keep their commitment to it for long.

What’s the upside?

Huge upside. Benefits too numerous to list here.

How long did the effect last? Did it taper off after a few weeks or months?

For me, my first few long sitting meditation sessions were the best. After that, there were good days and bad days–though, as any dedicated meditator would tell you, any day you sit is a good day, no matter how you feel during or after.

How does it work? What do you do, exactly?

Sitting meditation isn’t just one kind of meditation–it’s many. The focus (breath, a sound, one’s thoughts, a mantra, etc.) can change. So can the body position and more. In my experience, most types are roughly equal in effectiveness, though personally I never focus on the breath as it always causes me to lose my breath. (Weird, huh?)

Is this practice scientifically backed?

Yes. Read The Mind’s Own Physician for more details.

How effective do you think it is against depression? What is your overall rating?

My super-scientific, highly accurate, soon-to-be-patented Depression Effectiveness Rating for the spiritual practice of sitting meditation: 7 on a scale of 1-10

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“I don’t know what to say other than it is the most beautiful book that I have ever read.” – Ashley

“Really, I am rather speechless.” – Sarah

“I loved the book!! I couldn’t stop reading it!! It touched me so very much.” – Haydee

“Player has given a beautiful gift to her readers. I was very touched.” – Celia

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Get What I Learned from Jane on Amazon

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More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

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So sorry! Here are the real links to my free ebooks

So sorry, guys! Here are the Smashwords links to my free ebooks, You’re Getting Closer and The Power of Acceptance.

Excuse: Amazon changed my price on me … or something …

If you’d rather buy from Amazon, just wait till you hear from me after they’ve gotten it changed.

Okay–no more book promo stuff for a while.

Much love,

Mollie

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More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

“The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation” is FREE today on Amazon

The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation is free on Amazon.com today.

This is a book I am proud of. Here, a review I just got an hour or so ago (from a stranger, in case you were curious) on Smashwords:

“Although this is one woman’s journey to understand mediation’s place in her own life, you’ll swear she is describing you. Honest, sometimes raw, and always down to earth, throughout the entire book I felt as if Mollie Player was the one friend who would truly understand: the struggle, the wonderment, the confusion, and the joy of finally touching the subtle but profound shift in approach to…everything. As well as the frustration of inconsistently sustaining it. The Power of Acceptance is itself a practical mediation. Honestly, if you even paused at the title, let alone read this far, this book is definitely for you. Pull up a cozy mug, curl deeper under that blanket, and join Mollie in an applicable, spiritual conversation that helps you level up your life: we don’t need to seek through meditation — we already are. Meditation practice is what allows us to accept this, and the magic starts happening from there.”

Get The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation (The Mystical Memoir Series Book 2) for free now.

Much love,

Mollie

***

More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Spiritual Practice Success Story: “The More I Observe My Thoughts, The More I Realize How Funny They Are”

Thanks to a hunch and a great title, I purchased Sex, Drugs and Meditation on Amazon–and liked it even more than I expected I would. So I wrote the author, Mary-Lou Stephens, to ask if I could interview her for this site and for an upcoming book of mine. She kindly agreed.

Mollie: Do you practice questioning your thoughts in a conscious way with the goal of greater inner peace? When and how did you begin this practice? Does it work?

Mary-Lou: Yes. This is what I refer to as “the witness.” I observe my thoughts and decide whether to engage with them or not. This is a benefit of meditation. In meditation I don’t try to stop my thoughts–impossible! Instead, I watch them as they do their crazy dance. The more I observe my thoughts, the more I realize how funny they are. And to think they used to rule my world. No wonder I was so unhappy. I believed what I was thinking was true when most of it is just reaction and craving. Life is a lot more peaceful now and although peace and happiness might have been my goal when I first started meditating I don’t think about goals at all anymore. So many goals are counter-productive.

Mollie: Can you share the specific techniques that you prefer (i.e., journaling negative and positive thoughts, meditation, etc.)?

Mary-Lou: I used to use specific techniques–journaling, meditating at a set time for a set amount of time–but now acceptance, witnessing my thoughts and meditation are all part of my day. I don’t put them in specific time slots. It’s more like breathing. It just is without me having to do anything.

Mollie: What are a few of your foundational spiritual beliefs? If you are non-spiritual, what are a few of your foundational life philosophies?

Mary-Lou: When I was growing up my parents were heavily involved with the Charismatic Christian movement–lots of speaking in tongues and prophesying, healing and excitement. As a child I was very much wrapped up in that world … a world where God was love but also any negative feelings or misgivings were pushed away and ignored. If you felt bad clearly you weren’t praying hard enough. As a teenager I felt bad all the time and so became increasingly disenchanted with those that were reaching to heaven but ignoring what was going on at their feet.

In 12-step programs I was told I could believe in a God of my own understanding. God could be a color, or the sun or the wind, anything I wanted, just as long as God was a power greater than myself. This was liberating. Slowly, and with a few missteps, I developed a relationship with a God of my own understanding, one that had nothing to do with religion or other people’s beliefs. This God was a God I could rely on, lean on, talk to, be reassured by. I didn’t have to be good for this God to love me, I didn’t have to penance or chant the right prayers, or go to church. This God loved me just as I was, no matter what I did. I’d always tried to be a good girl so that God would love me. In 12-step programs I came to the realization that God would love me no matter what I did but living a life of good thoughts and actions helped me love and live with myself.

These days, God just is. God is in everything, everywhere, a benign, loving presence. This gives me a sense of peace.

To learn more about Stephens and her work, see:

Mary-Lou Stephens’ Website and Blog

Best Spirituality Book for Depression: “Sex, Drugs and Meditation” by Mary-Lou Stephens

Best Spirituality Book for Depression: “How To Stay Married” by Mary-Lou Stephens

Sex, Drugs and Meditation on Amazon

Sex, Drugs and Meditation on Goodreads

How To Stay Married on Amazon

How To Stay Married on Goodreads

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Want to learn how to clean your house twice as well in half the time? 

Get The Naked House: Five Principles for a More Peaceful Home on Amazon.

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More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. In some posts, I rate the practices, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.

There’s a Book for That, Too

It’s a great time to get suddenly awesome. So many teachers. So many books.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Spiritual Practice Success Story: “None of It Scares Me. I Have So Much Fun”

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I have this friend who is really, really happy. Her name is Leta Hamilton. She’s a channel, an author, and a mom of four–and the perfect person to grill for answers about life. Her books include The Way of the Toddler and a four-book series called 100 Daily Messages.

Here, part of a question-and-answer session that I am posting in installments.

Me: So, Leta, here’s the problem: I am not a naturally happy person. I mean, I am happy, most of the time, but it takes a whole lot of work (most notably, a lot of exercise).

Abraham and others talk a lot about the importance of feeling good and gives us lots of tricks to do so. (In one Abraham book, there are 22.) They seem to work for me when I do them consistently. I force myself to a better feeling place. But it takes effort. Sometimes a lot. Maybe others don’t find it as difficult as I do, but to me it feels like I’m fighting an uphill battle trying to counteract all of my learned negativity. I mean, I’m one of those people that can get an awesome cup of coffee, free wi-fi and a perfect couch spot at Starbucks and still focus on the guy yacking on his cell phone next to me to the exclusion of all else. (At least I used to be, and sometimes still am.)

What is your advice about this?

Leta: My advice is to love what is. Just that.

Me: How? Can you give me a much clearer, more practical idea of what’s going on in your head as you are loving and appreciating throughout your day? Maybe a small example of a few moments inside your head?

Leta: Often, my head is just saying, “I love God.” I have thoughts. I’m human, after all. But my head is empty probably a lot more than most humans.

I will meet people I don’t like. I will encounter things and situations I don’t like. They may even be grotesque to my sensibilities. However, I am challenged to love the divine within all things. I am challenged to be One with all things. I am challenged to broaden my perspective so that I find the divine innocence at the heart of everything. I am challenged to love and accept everyone, even people I don’t like. If I meet someone I don’t like, I ask myself if this is a situation I can change. Am I willing to put forth the effort to like them (which would mean changing everything about myself, going into another personality and being someone I am not)? The answer is no. However, I can see the divine innocence in them. I can understand them and love them even though I may not like them. None of it scares me. I love it all. I have a relationship with myself that allows for constant self-inquiry leading to understanding and love that takes me beyond the disconnected to the connected. I have so much fun.

Love.

Leta

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For more from Leta, and more from me on meditation, get The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation on Amazon.

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More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Spiritual Practice Success Story: “There Is No Real Meditation”

law-of-attraction-pink-bubble-background

I have this friend who is really, really happy. Her name is Leta Hamilton. She’s a channel, an author, and a mom of four–and the perfect person to grill for answers about life. Her books include The Way of the Toddler and a four-book series called 100 Daily Messages.

Here, part of a question-and-answer session that I am posting in installments.

Me: What is the essence of meditation? What is it, really?

Leta: What is real about meditation other than the practice of being present in your body, experiencing an IS-ness and connecting to a bigger-than-small-you field? There is no real meditation in my experience. Anything that promotes a feeling of bigger-than-small-you experience is a meditation. It can be folding the laundry, washing the dishes, sitting down on the toilet and so much more! There is meditation in everything. It is how you approach the experience that counts. Like a plug, we can plug in anything we do in our daily lives into the socket of “bigger-than-small-me” experience. This is the key to meditation in my experience.

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For more from Leta, and more from me on meditation, get The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation on Amazon.

***

More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Best Spirituality Book for Depression: “Adventures in Consciousness” by Debianne De Rose

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Best Spirituality Book for Depression: Adventures in Consciousness by Debianne De Rose

Can this book help me overcome depression?

Possibly. It’s a short memoir about meditation and alternate states of awareness.

Does it address depression specifically?

No.

What is it about?

Here’s the book description from Amazon:

Astral-tourism at its finest! Take a vicarious journey with the author to alternate dimensions where healing, personal epiphanies, past-life jaunts, visits with “dead” loved ones, and kick-ass higher guidance abound.

When it comes to consciousness, we normally assume there are but a few options: ordinary waking consciousness, sleep, unconsciousness such as in a coma state, and perhaps the subconscious as accessed during hypnosis. Yet, there is more, so much more, to explore! Travel vicariously with the author to the unique and wonderful Monroe Institute in Virginia, where powerful sound technology and well-crafted week-long meditation programs facilitate personal healing and revelations about the very nature of our existence. Colorful, detailed depictions bring these alternate states of consciousness and the Institute and its participants right into your favorite reading room.

To what degree do you think it can help me overcome depression?

I haven’t read it … yet. When I do, I will update this section.

Where can I find out more about this book?

Adventures in Consciousness on Amazon

Adventures in Consciousness on Goodreads

Adventures in Consciousness on Google Play

Adventures in Consciousness on iTunes

Adventures in Consciousness on Barnes and Noble

Adventures in Consciousness on Kobo

Adventures in Consciousness on Scribd

Debianne De Rose’s Official Website

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Finally, it happened. After ten years thinking about it, I attempted, as the Apostle Paul once wrote, to “pray without ceasing”–to communicate in an ongoing way with the Divine.

Interested in my results? Get You’re Getting Closer: One Year of Finding God and a Few Good Friends on Amazon.

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More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.