So there’s this FB meme that purports to quote Someone Famous: “Before diagnosing yourself with depression, make sure that you’re not just surrounded by assholes.”

I’ll say it a little differently: Before diagnosing yourself with “depression,” find out what your emotional state is telling you at a deeper level.

Rumi says,

“From the moment of your birth a ladder
Was placed before you to help you escape.”

Escape what? “Life?” No. From identification with limitation. In the larger context of Rumi’s teachings, he’s constantly reminding us of our fundamental Oneness and wholeness, and our purpose in human incarnation being to reach beyond limitation to claim our Divine Inheritance.

All of us have an innate longing for completion, wholeness, belonging, and purpose. It’s the fundamental driver for both the great nobility and also the great destructiveness in human nature.That’s the ladder Rumi speaks of, and in some of us — in proportion to our spiritual potential — the longing can be intense and sometimes unremitting.

One of the great difficulties of our time is that, in the face of society’s obsessive materialism — the consideration that only materiality is real and only material things are worth pursuing — is that our longing is misdiagnosed. We are judged, often most harshly by ourselves, as deficient, broken, lacking in gumption, and indulgent. And “depressed” — when what we really need is simply not to be found in what’s transitory in life.

Making matters worse is that what is often offered as “spirituality” or “spiritual study” is just s slicker form of materialism: the “Abundance” tropes, “spiritual experiences” (e.g., Ayahuasca Tourism), or certifications in “spiritual healing” given and received by those who are really just as enmeshed in illusion as the muggles lampooned in “Humans of Walmart.”

So you might actually not be “depressed” so much as just not acting effectively to support your inner being and purpose.

Inside your longing is a pure love of Truth, the truth of your deepest self, that in/of you which has never been corrupted by your life’s experiences, wounds, and defeats. It’s the voice of God/your soul and it constantly calls to you from and AS that of you which is most real and authentic.

When you “see through” the surface appearance of things and its “story” — when you truly *see yourself* from inside yourself, the story collapses and you stand at the portal of true freedom and a fulfillment that truly belongs to you, inherent in you and which nothing can take from you.

The task then, is to set the story aside, honoring the poignancy in it and that it’s brought you this far but can take you no further, and trust in the process as you put your feet on each next rung of the ladder. But you have to start, and once starting, continue.