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meaning of depression, spirit, pieces of self

Included on this page are a number of articles relevant to this website. Three articles are my own: a chapter on depression from my book on suffering (currently in pre-publication), an interview I conducted with Andrew Paul in 2003, and a piece on the 'circles' that seek to define depression for us.


The remaining articles are written by Peter Wilberg, a British-born philosopher and psychologist. These articles are selected from his EARLY writing. This writing is not widely available elsewhere, and I have permission to use them here in the hope that they may be helpful to people who are suffering from depression (Wilberg's work has since moved into other arenas that don't necessarily reflect this site or my current perspective). Although on first reading his writing may seem quite dense or intense, I see it as an invitation to think seriously and question deeply . He writes with intelligence of a world that has meaning and depth.

Depression and Descent - by Marianne Broug

This is an excerpt of a chapter from my forthcoming book on suffering. "When we feel depressed we fear something is terribly, terribly wrong. And yet ... "

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Beyond Fight and Flight - The Healing Value of the Depressive Process by Peter Wilberg

Depression is usally seen as something we must get rid of, something we've done wrong or something that has gone amiss in our biology. We are told to take pills, take up a hobby, take a holiday, be more assertive, smile more ... For many years I tried many of these things, but they didn't work. And so I believed that something really was wrong with me. But I now realise that I was never given any idea of what depression actually IS ! In retrospect, the idea of getting rid of something, without first asking what that thing actually IS, seems absurd. Peter Wilberg explains what depression IS and outlines how essential it is for all of us .... A short Glossary is included at the end.

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Spiritworks - A Handbook of Spiritual Teachings

One of my favourite pieces of  Peter Wilberg's writing. He writes - "Our bodies or minds suffer a type of amnesia of soul and spirit. We become like immigrants who do not feel fully at home in their new country, but have completely forgotten their spiritual homeland — or believe that it is only a mythical country which doesn’t actually exist. ... If we cannot accept the heritage we bring with us from that world how can we feel fully at home in this one? To feel comfortable in our own bodies we need to retrieve our bodily sense of our own soul and spirit, not only in our dreams but also in our waking lives. Science tells us that the existence of this homeland cannot be proved, that we must therefore get along with just understanding ourselves in a materialist way ... Priests, rabbis and mullahs ... offer us stories instead — scriptures that provide us with mere symbols of spiritual truth, spiritual values and the spiritual world. But they do not know this world themselves."

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New Perspectives on Mental Health - an interview with Andrew Paul by Marianne Broug


This is an interview with Andrew Paul that I completed in 2003. It is a comprehensive introduction to understanding the early work of Peter Wilberg and the ideas on this site. It discusses the limitations of psychiatry, who we are as human beings, the importance of our relationship to ourselves and our inner being, resonation versus empathy, the reason why all therapies work some of the time, consciousness and awareness, the healing power of real relationship, the meaning of illness and pain, and the realities of change. 

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Body, Soul and the Circle of Depression - by Peter Wilberg


A quote from this article: "Each time a medical patient, therapy or counselling client goes to see and be heard by a professional, they bear with them an unspoken but often desperate message: “Will someone please see and hear me and not just circle, tick off and seek to treat my symptoms?” Yet as Marianne Broug writes, though the patient or client may have no pre-prescribed name for their inwardly felt dis-ease, each of the countless different approaches to medical or psychological therapy, not least in the ‘treatment’ of ‘depression’ effectively “…prescribes a circle around the patient or client and their symptoms, and then seeks to explain and treat the client’s suffering in terms of other things that are contained within that circle.”

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Damaged Brains - A Health Warning - by Peter Wilberg

A short article on the effects and dangers of psycho-pharmaceutical drugs. I have briefly tried some of these drugs over the years and can only agree with the points Wilberg makes. I have also had a couple of occasions when the side-effects of these drugs was merely seen by the prescribing psychiatrist or doctor as further symptoms of my depression or anxiety. Please also read the disclaimer on the Home page.

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The Circles of 'Depression' - by Marianne Broug

This was a piece i wrote many years ago that I intended as the opening chapter of a book. I have recently edited it a little to make it relevant for this website. There are so many healing modalities or 'circles' that seek to limit and define our experience of 'depression' ...

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Little Black Book of Negative Thinking - A Philosophical approach to Depression by Peter Wilberg


The overwhelming commandment in our society is to be happy and to function normally. But what happens when we put pressure on ourselves to always be happy? Peter's introduction reads: "This book aims to question and rethink many of our ordinary assumptions about ‘depression’ and in doing so help us to understand our own and other people’s depressive symptoms in a more philosophical way. Its motto is: "melancholics of the world unite - you have nothing to lose but your shame".

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Human Ontology or Human Genomics - Heidegger's Health Warning to Humanity - by Peter Wilberg (PowerPoint)

Fancy words, but don't let them put you off ... a step-by-step presentation that simply asks the question "Are you a human being or are you just a body and brain?" The outcome of seeing a human being only as a biological machine is catastrophic and dehumanising. On a small scale I have felt that catastrophe in the offices of psychiatrists and some doctors. I have felt the impact as all expressions of meaning - my anguish, my sorrow - were relegated to meaninglessness.

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Questions - by Peter Wilberg

This is a piece written for this site.

We have forgotten how to ask questions. We have forgotten that we can ask questions.
Our life itself is a question.
Our life itself is questioning us.

Depression is questioning us. Suffering is questioning us.

Do we have the courage to ask the questions that our life poses to us?
Do we have the courage to LIVE those questions?
Do we have the courage to listen for the answers?


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Depression - A Meta-Medical Approach (PowerPoint) by Peter Wilberg

ESSENTIAL READING. Many of the points made by Peter Wilberg are simplified in this PowerPoint presentation - a step-by-step understanding of what depression is. In his own words - "The depressive process is our most natural form of meditation, not raising us into the light but helping us to feel our way down to the innermost core of our being". "The depressive process is essentially a deepening process, helping us to feel the meaning of events at a deeper level and respond to them from a deeper level of our being".

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Bodying - A New Way of dealing with our Negative Thoughts and Feelings  by Peter Wilberg


Conventional therapies talk of either expressing or repressing feelings. This article proposes another approach: bodying our feelings or thoughts (bearing with them in a bodily way} so that just as with a pregnancy they may grow and give birth to new aspects of ourselves.

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Introduction to Meta-Medicine - A non-Medical Philosophy of Health and Healing

This piece was the first I ever read of Peter's. I can still clearly remember the sense of relief I felt. Have you ever considered that you might be "meaning" something through your illness or pain? And then have you ever wondered "who" it might be that is doing this "meaning"? Peter's Meta-Medicine (literally "Beyond Medicine") sees illness as the expression of a healing process of change, but it is not just a change in our general lifestyle or our eating habits that he is talking of, it is a change of our very sense of who we are.    Click here to read ...


spiritual meaning of depression, spirit, meaning, canefields,

Canefields at dusk, Far North Queenland.

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