Articles From the December 1995 Unification News


Coping with Depression: One Layman's Strategy (synchronicitically speaking)

by Carlton L. Johnson-Miyazaki-ken, Japan

A good friend ended a nice letter to me with a casual reference to the bout he was having, recently, with depression. Anyone else, out there?

Depression! Ugh!

While I am, by nature, and tend to be (usually) the incurable optimist, there are times when the awesomeness of the task before us hits me upside the head and seems to stop me in my tracks. Such a moment came upon me a few days ago, a feeling that was exasperated by a visit to the local video store here in Japan. Just to see the clout that the adversary has in promoting selfish joy-and-happiness compared to the trickle of truthful entertainment and God-centered joy-and- happiness in the media-this sight alone is enough to knock some of the wind out of my sails. But in those moments, I turn my sights towards the direction of the emanations of Truth, Beauty and God-ness.

I begin to seek God's own feelings and try to understand how God could continue in the face of such little response, for so many centuries. I begin to seek out some slight inferences of communication from True Parents, by dream or prayer or video or literature. And usually an answer comes, often with surprising clarity and surprising relevance to the moment.

In this particular case at the video store, I came across a CD (here, in Japan, they rent CDs for you to take home and record!) which has a lot of healing vibes. And while the brother is not totally on the mark, his aim is pretty good. So I recommend this tape, with certain qualifications, as a therapeutic meditation for certain bouts of depression. Particularly the cuts: "Don't Cry" and "If I Could." The CD is entitled "Seal II."

A few words for thought with regards to depression and the blind spots of this particular artist (ideas gleaned from a recent I Ching reading-Wilhelm/Baynes edition):

When the good elements of society occupy a central position and are in control, the evil elements come under their influence and change for the better. Let us keep walking the walk to bring about these conditions in our hearts, in our families, neighborhoods, local environments, states and nations, and in the world and cosmos-starting with the man in the middle. When the spirit of heaven rules in man, his animal nature also comes under its influence and takes its appropriate place.

One great challenge is to possess enough greatness of soul to be able to bear with imperfect people, even the imperfect influences within ourselves. For in the hands of a great master, no material is unproductive; he can find use for everything. You are the great master. And you may hit the slump of depression on a regular basis. No plain exists which is not followed by a slope. No going exists which is not followed by a return. Everything on earth is subject to change. But if we continue mindful of the laws of give and take action, mindful of the "Big Picture" of the Ideal of Creation, the Fall and the Course of Restoration, then we remain persevering and make no mistakes. As long as a man's inner nature remains stronger and richer than anything offered by external fortune, as long as he remains inwardly superior to fate, fortune will not desert him.

We would all do well to regularly try to distill the truths that we come by, for the sake of others who are coming along after us. Then our struggles and our depressions take on more meaning and value and we find renewed strength and zeal. We can take pleasure in giving one more kernel of truth to one more friend. The sage is inexhaustible in his readiness to teach mankind and sustains and cares for all people. He excludes no part of humanity. This thought we would do well to pass on to our children.

All too often, you may feel the gap between the way you would like to raise your children and the way you actually are. You are the sage. And the are the "sagelets"! One great value that I have noticed from having children is that they make me aware of the deeper qualities of love which I am able to activate for another. Then I am judged by how much I am actually making use of this great ability for nourishing spiritual children. Are we doing our spiritual stretches every day? Are we toning our spiritual love muscles for the sake of giving true love to everyone we meet with the same intensity that we want to give our undivided love and attention to our physical children?

Actually, I do not worry so much about whether or not I am giving enough love to our kids. I know that I love them dearly, because I love God and they are God's children. He has simply charged me with the awesome responsibility of taking care of them, protecting them from the bad influences all around them and raising them up to the be true-love, messianic stewards in their Father's Garden. For this purpose I am more concerned about whether or not they can see and learn from our effort to accomplish the Three Blessings in and around the lives of the people in our immediate environment. By focusing our love outwards, in this way, we are doing the best service to them. Our love becomes hotter and our sensitivity towards their needs are reflected in our sensitivity towards all the people we try to love- everyone.

These are a few thought on how I deal with depression, when it manages to rear its ugly head. But music is one of my best weapons for keeping this opponent at bay...making my own and listening to others'. More often than not, our place is filled with music of one sort or another. While still only a hobby for me, my original music recently landed me a spot in a local rock festival and for a live interview and one selection being broadcasted, I aim for the demons inside, and the ones bugging my people in the world at large. Thanks to MFT, I am free to take my tapes to the streets, shop to shop. Putting a message in some music, and getting out there: this way is great for witnessing and getting out of one's doldrums. [Yes, tapes are available; see ad for "cj & co / IN FLIGHT."] Sometimes you just need to jam with your kids! "Turn it on and turn it up, and work till you shake the devil out you!" The group "Take 6" is good for a lift....

When we consider the consummation of human history, we come to understand that, naturally, people of this age fall into internal insecurity, terror and chaos due to the shallowness of our ideals and ideologies. We need to be always sharpening our sensitivity toward spiritual things. In this way we come into deeper and deeper understanding of the beauty of the providence. Through this understanding we get that "grip" that allows us to respond to this providence, in spite of the many apparent discrepancies we may face between the new-born view of truth and our old way of seeing things. Through humble prayer, and by directing our efforts towards a spiritual purpose, we may ascertain truth which becomes one with our spirit, producing that true heavenly joy deep within our heart. In this way we find freedom from depression and find the way to true salvation, the true consummation of human history.

About the love explosion (an aside), bonding in the holy of holies: This moment is one of the most sacred offerings I can offer to God. I would like God to make that final thrust together, through me, through us, through the seed into the egg, through space and time, throughout future generations, ten thousand years! A child born of that thrust has a special advantage (I would imagine).

About pledge: I do not remember a time when we did not regularly engage the boys in pledge. We have pledge every morning, together with the boys, followed by prayer and a mini-sermon in language and concepts they can understand. We do not always have pledge on time, at 5am-depending on our schedule the night before. Let us challenge the highest standards.

"Letter to a Friend" might become a consistent column, here, if anyone else out there cares to engage in more "heart to heart." Go ahead, write me! I tend to respond promptly, in kind, with a personal letter. Some issues I may choose to address publicly, as I have done here, for my anonymous friend. God willing, a meaningful ministry might spring forth, herein.

Carlton Johnson, 799-20 Oaza Miyamura, Mimata-cho, Miyazaki- ken 889-19, Japan


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