In esoteric Work, depression is often experienced in the early stages. When one becomes dissatisfied with the stock answers given by religion, culture and science and begin to look elsewhere for truth, the resulting shocks of learning the true nature of our reality can be truly depressing. And, depression that manifests as a consequence of seeing the truth of this reality may actually be necessary to fuel the desire to ascend.
However, true esoteric development also requires that one struggle against negative emotions. This does not mean that one should suppress them, but rather struggle not to express them.
As P. D. Ouspensky said, "In the beginning work on negative emotions is two-fold: studying and trying not to express them. Real work on negative emotions comes later. You cannot study them, if you express them. If you try not to express them, then you can see and study them."
Boris Mouravieff writes:
An energetic readjustment is indispensable for the one who wishes to take a serious part in esoteric work, the aim of which - as we know - is the complete growth and development of the Personality taken all the way to the Second Birth. [Negative emotions] are the means by which the great destructive force acts in man. It is not an exaggeration to say that negative emotions are mainly responsible for the fact that human beings age and die prematurely. To combat old age and death, one must combat the negative emotions in oneself.
When treated according to precise rules founded on a strenuous psychical discipline, these very same emotions, though harmful, can become an abundant source of the fine, active energies whose presence is necessary for the development of the personality.
The saying that "knowledge protects" is wholly applicable to the inner revolution that takes place within the seeker. For all of our lives we are slaves to the programs that are set in motion by our negative emotions. Our intellectual centers steal this energy and produce all kinds of rationalizations, suppressions, fantasies of power or illusions that we have "mastered" the emotion simply because we are able to suppress it, or tell ourselves egotistical things like: "I'm better than that because see! I can suppress my reactions. I can say nice things when I am really boiling mad. That is what makes me superior." With knowledge of the true nature of reality and the programs that run in us, we are enabled to completely halt any such usurpation, to allow the concentration of the emotions – whether negative or positive – which then set our entire being on a higher vibration.