The first thing in life is to find meaning in the present moment.
The basic flavor of your being should be of love, of rejoicing, of celebration. Then you can do anything; dollars will not destroy it. But you put everything aside and simply run after dollars thinking that dollars can purchase everything. And then one day you find they cannot purchase anything – and you have devoted your whole life to dollars.
This is the cause of depression.
And particularly in the West, the depression is going to be very deep. In the East, there have been rich people, but there was a certain dimension available. When the road to richness came to an end, they did not remain stuck there; they moved into a new direction. That new direction was in the air, available for centuries.
In the East the poor have been in a very good condition, and the rich have been in a tremendously good condition. The poor have learned contentment so they do not bother about running after ambition. And the rich have understood that one day you have to renounce it all and go in search of truth, in search of meaning.
In the West, at the end, the road simply ends. You can go back, but going back will not help your depression. You need a new direction.
Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, or Parshvanatha – these people were at the peak of richness, and then they saw that it is almost a burden. Something else has to be found before death takes you over – and they were courageous enough to renounce all.
Their renunciation has been misunderstood. They renounced it all because they did not want to bother a single second more for money, for power – because they have seen the top, and there is nothing there. They went to the very highest rung of the ladder and found that it leads nowhere; it is just a ladder leading nowhere.
While you are somewhere in the middle, or lower than the middle, you have a hope because there are other rungs higher than you. There comes a point when you are on the highest rung and there is only suicide or madness – or hypocrisy: you go on smiling till death finishes you, but deep down you know that you have wasted your life.
In the East depression has never been a problem. The poor learned to enjoy whatsoever little they had, and the rich learned that having the whole world at your feet means nothing – you have to go in a search for meaning, not for money.
And they had precedents: for thousands of years people have gone in search of truth and have found it. There is no need to be in despair, in depression – you just have to move into an unknown dimension. They have never explored it – but as they start exploring the new dimension, it means a journey inwards, a journey to their own self. All that they have lost starts returning.