I’ve been feeling mildly depressed for about a month. Mostly from the stress of working multiple jobs and the constant feeling of being under pressure. The colder weather probably doesn’t help, either.

I usually treat these episodes by visualizing — sometimes along with affirmations, which are simple positive statements.

The body will respond to the pictures that we place in our minds. Our mind doesn’t distinguish between the input of the senses and mental pictures. That’s part of how visualization works.

There’s an extended visualization I can do that helps depression, but I don’t always have enough time to do it fully, although it really helps when I do.

So, I tried just seeing myself as happy, while mentally repeating: “The Divine Mind is filling me with cheer.” “Divine Mind” is Rabbi Lichtenstein’s name for G-d. Other writers use “The Creative Mind,” etc. Basically, they try to stay away from anything that suggests or implies form or personality.

I use the word “cheer” rather than “happiness,” simply because it’s one syllable. I could use “joy,” too, but it’s usually “cheer.” It keeps the phrase simple.

When I start doing the visualization/affirmation, I don’t try to make myself feel anything. This isn’t about will-power, it’s about allowing a process to take place. It’s the Divine, not me, that creates the outcome. I’d almost describe it as “watching it happen.”

It’s like turning on the water-faucet. It takes no more effort than turning the handle. Almost-infinite reservoirs are the source of the water. Turn the faucet and the water comes to our particular place, to the extent that we desire.

The Divine Mind is an infinite source of everything we want and need. Our individual minds are like “faucets” that mandate the flow of the Divine Mind’s expression to and through us. The “secret,” if there is one, is that the Divine Mind isn’t in any way separate from the individual mind and vice versa.

So, I was just repeating the affirmation and seeing myself as “happy.” I didn’t force it or try to make it happen. I simply did it, allowing it to happen and knowing that the effect was immediate if incremental. The more that I did the affirmation/visualization, the more I began to feel it. Knots in my neck and back relaxed. My mood lifted. My overall outlook improved.

What was particularly interesting this time was that I didn’t necessarily go deeply into the feeling; just enough to start my day comfortably. When I saw my face in the mirror, I was smiling (I’ve seen this happen before, too, after visualizing). I felt emotionally secure. Many of the things that bothered me enough to depress me now seemed much less significant.

Experience has taught me that the more we do visualization, the more neural pathways we seem to build: It becomes easier and the response happens faster.

On another level, I found myself feeling surer of this link to the “infinite reservoir” that I mentioned. I’ve often felt more aware of G-d after visualizing (“increased alpha-waves,” Jose Silva might say). Same thing this time, but less of a feeling of G-d’s surrounding Presence.

Just feeling more surely that I’m “connected.”

(For a previous post that explains a bit more about Visualization, see:
https://rabbielimallon.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/4-7-11-visualized-prayer/)