Depression, Acceptance, Transformation
By Douwe vanderZee
From as far back as I can recall, I suffered from a virtually constant underlying anxiety. I felt very alone, and had difficulty communicating. I longed for meaningful relationships, but seemed unable to establish them.
I did find a woman eventually. Or rather, she found me. After a period of intense infatuation, however, my anxiety became worse, and it turned into frequent bouts of depression. How could I, having found what I wanted, become more depressed? Depression became a significant feature of my life. It made no sense, and I was determined to find an answer.
Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving was the turning point. For the first time I found confirmation of a deep intuitive feeling that somehow our concept of ‘love’ was wrong, and that there was much more to it “than meets our philosophies”.
The next step was A Course in Miracles. I studied it for many years, and it had a profound effect on me that I cannot possibly discount. And yet, I did not find lasting peace. Something seemed to be missing.
Then I discovered A Course of Love. As both ACIM and Eckhart Tolle had before, it felt like an oasis in a desert, this time specifically for its emphasis on feeling. It felt as if it was truly addressed to Me.
When I read: “The final stage in this process, this movement toward acceptance, is depression, a lowering of spirits and energy, a lack of desire, a lack of activity, a sinking feeling of going under, of going into the depths of sadness and despair,” (A Course of Love D:Day 3.51), I felt intense joy: “That’s it! My depression is not a sickness at all! It is the natural result of all that I have refused to acknowledge in myself!”
ACOL confirmed for me what I had been sensing intuitively more and more: the very feelings and emotions I had been denying were the key to peace. What a relief!
I learned to ‘enter’ whatever I felt, including anger, frustration and, especially, depression. The result was change, time and time again—into the very feelings and emotions I had denied. I kept ‘entering’ them. Frequently the end result was a deep, sublime joy.
It’s a long time ago already that my eldest son committed suicide, and I thought I had worked through it. Recently he started entering my awareness more and more, accompanied by an overwhelming sadness. It was painful—very painful—to ‘enter’ that sadness, but I was determined to get to the core.
I’m finding it: “If there are things that you, at this point, still hold to yourself and call unforgivable, now is the time to let them go. … You must choose to leave this blaming of yourself behind, no matter what it is you feel you have need to blame yourself for. You would not be here if you had not already felt regret and sorrow for the hurts you have caused others. Whatever actions you have not previously brought to love to be seen in a new light, are now revealed in the light of truth.” (T3:14.10)
I sit crying as I write this. Not with sadness this time so much, though, as with relief. Intense relief. And with that, through the tears, I can feel the joy emerging …
As an infant, I unconsciously blamed myself for my parents’ inability to show affection. Later I blamed myself for my inability to form meaningful relationships, and for my (perceived) failure as husband and father, and for my lack of “finding direction” in life, and so much, much more. With the blame came bitterness.
I had always known intuitively that depression is not a disease. It is the natural consequence of the denial of our authentic Self, and therefore also a key to its rediscovery. It was through my frequent depressions that I came to realize that “active acceptance is what allows the great transformation from life as you have known it, to death of that old life, to rebirth of new life. By clinging to some of the old, you prevent its death and you prevent the rebirth of the new. You prevent the very life-giving resurrection you await.” (D:Day3.60)
With that realization I can feel the resurrection becoming reality …
Acceptance is a nice idea, but purely as a concept it means nothing, no matter how often I say to myself, “I accept”. For me acceptance has been – and still is – the result of a deep emotional transformation process in which ACOL played a crucial role.
As a child growing up in South Africa, Douwe sought refuge from loneliness in nature. To study biology seemed to him the natural thing to do, but after a master’s degree in zoology and a few years as scientist he resigned as oceanographic research coordinator to pursue his interest in the human psyche and its Source. In a remarkably varied career since then, he has acted as counselor, group process facilitator, mediator, overland and wilderness trail guide, high school teacher, permaculturist, writer, “playmate” at a preschool, and CEO of the Field (Nature) Guides Association of Southern Africa—all external forms of an internal quest for peace and Truth. Predominantly through A Course in Miracles, Eckhart Tolle’s writings, and A Course of Love, Douwe says “I have now come to accept A Course of Love’s instruction that ‘the idea that you do not have to earn your way nor pay your way must be birthed and lived by.’ I cannot claim that it came without frequent deep and intense fear, but the result is ever increasing joy as I, as an ordinary person, move towards ‘living an extraordinary, and miraculous, and observable life’.”
The Generous Melon: An Epiphany
By Paula Payne Hardin
July 4, 2014
Knife in hand
Sniff test complete
The slicing begins
Two perfect ovals
Luminous, orange, lush
Row upon orderly row of seeds
Bedded in softness
Many melons I’ve numbly cut
As the cantaloupe shares itself
I glimpse its inherent generosity
Reflecting the abundant generosity
Cocooning our planet
An enchanting revelation this—
Some generous Energy
Through the portal of
This ordinary melon
In this out of-the-ordinary
Paula Payne Hardin appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show when her first book, “What Are You Doing With the Rest of Your Life? Choices in Midlife” appeared in 1992. She is also the author of “Love After Love: Stages of Loving” (1996).