The Enlightened Response to Depression

A Spiritual Antidote for Dealing with Depression from Ram Dass

Matt Gangloff
3 min readFeb 13, 2022


Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

Ram Dass, the ’70s Psychonaut/Spiritual Teacher, has this way of speaking that you just can’t help but love, even when it cuts deep. He can make fun of your deepest neuroses while making you feel seen, understood, and forgiven, all at once.

That’s never more true than when he talks about Depression.

“Are you depressed,” he asks a fictional character.

“Yes,” he answers himself, sitting up rigidly in his chair.

“Are you completely depressed,” he asks.

“Completely,” he answers in the overly serious voice usually reserved for impersonating his father, an old-fashioned, upper-middle-class Jewish lawyer from Boston who founded Brandies University, among other things.

“Every part of you?”

“Every. Single. Part.”

“Is the part of you that is aware of the Depression depressed?”

“No, that part is just aware.”


Hidden in this disarming, little act is a deep massage: the antidote to suffering from Depression. He put it another way, even more poignantly when he said…

The enlightened response to Depression is not, ‘I am Depressed.’ The enlightened response to Depression is, ‘Wow, dig this depression!’

- Ram Dass

Here’s what it means and how we can use it:

Depression Is Just a Cluster of Sensations

The #1 symptom of Depression is Psychomotor Retardation, which is just a really fancy way of saying that everything slows down. You think slower. You move slower. You have zero energy. You feel emotionally numb. Ice cream doesn’t taste as good.

All of those things are just physical sensations. They take place in the mind and in the body. We put all these…



Matt Gangloff

I teach the how-to’s of Post-Traumatic Growth: How to heal and grow, find a new mission, become your best self and build a meaningful life.