The Orphan has to face their aloneness and depression and realize that it’s simply about being temporarily lost. It’s not a necessary life condition. ~Allan G. Hunter, Stories We Need To Know
I believe this is true, even for those with chronic biological depression. It took years to find a medical regimen that helped me, and I might be on it for the rest of my life. Meds don’t cure depression, but they do give a fighting chance at addressing the cognitive and behavioral aspects of depression. It’s the combination of all three that has changed my life condition.
What you insist on, persists on. If you insist you cannot have happiness because of your biological depression, then you make it so. Deciding that even you can have happiness doesn’t magically make you happy, but it does open the door for you to leave orphanhood and become a pilgrim. This is true, not just for those seeking to emerge from the Dark Forest of depression, but for all of us who desire to release the chains and confusions holding us back from what we desire for our lives.
The Orphan wants to be adopted, to be saved, to be rescued from their plight by someone else. The Orphan is in denial and has inflicted themselves with helplessness and inefficacy in order to remain dependent and avoid their responsibility for their own recovery. It’s exhausting to remain in fear and stagnation and victimization. As Orphans, when we decide we just can’t stand it any more, that we have to see what else is possible, no matter how frightening change might be, then we become Pilgrims.
Pilgrims search for meaning, purpose, and truth. We have set out on a journey of inquiry, no longer living within society’s bounds. However, not all pilgrimages lead out of the Dark Forest. It’s possible to wander aimlessly for decades, lost and alone without even the orphan comfort of a group. Seeking may become a way of life, jumping from one possibility to the next, for the temporary thrills rather than to find truth. And there is the ever present temptation to retreat to the illusional safety and companionship of orphanhood.
Eventually, persistent Pilgrims will begin to realize that what we seek is not found externally; that the journey is about self-definition. We learn to look within, to find our own truths, to hear what we need from our own intuition, and to seek out how to recreate ourselves accordingly. The pilgrimage is a process of deciding what you value, assembling a role for yourself in the world, and defining a purpose for yourself.
As we let our personal courage grow, we can test out ways of revealing to ourselves who we are and expressing what we truly have to say to the world. We can let go of our old false image of ourselves, sorting good counsel from fearful judgement, balancing the various aspects of the self, to bring forth the meaning for our lives that we wish to share with others.
At this point the Warrior emerges, as we prepare to act on our newly developed principles, guided by intuition and self-knowing. No longer willing to run from challenges, we can access our courage and act from moderation, balance, and integrity. We become willing to risk looking foolish or to fail in order to give our ideas and intuitions freedom to play with the possibilities.