Those who know me best are aware that I have spent a lifetime battling a kind of low-grade mood Depression clinically known as Dysthymia. This is at least partly why I was drawn early on to the study of our human minds known as Psychology. A few decades back I became a practitioner of what is now called Cognitive Behavioral therapy, which had originally been called Rational Emotive therapy by its own founder, Albert Ellis. Along the way I also discovered the mood elevating benefits of a brain medication called Lexapro from within a class of anti-depressant meds called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors.
Still, I know all too well the dreadful feelings that come from hopelessness. Perhaps the worst pain I’ve ever been in has happened during times of clinical Depression where hopelessness and helplessness seemed to take over my mind’s thought process.
That I can today declare victory over Depression is reason for me to believe others can do so as well. Perhaps even better than I have done. Hope happens for many if not most who battle hopelessness at times throughout their lives.
How does hope happen in a world where fears seem to be around so many corners these days?
I’m still awaiting the release of my book, “Love’s Resurrection: its power to roll away fear’s heaviest stone,” within the near future. It’s my own spiritual memoir soon to be published by Higher Ground Books & Media. In it I come to terms with how hope happened in my own life over the course of my now seven decades plus.
One thing I have noticed about my own mind over the years is that it serves as a parent to my own body. I sometimes call my own body “little Danny.” It’s the part of me that applies all my bodily senses in reaction to the world around me. And quite often that reaction spells f-e-a-r. It’s a crazy world out there, and so my frightened body has been known to appeal to my mind to take control during times of greatest uncertainty. As my mind has responded in a kind of parental role of responsibility, that part of me has known much failure. I’m talking here about my failure to control the world around me that is scaring my inner child, my bodily “little Danny.” Failure to control results in my occasional Depressed moods. I feel like the bad parent who can’t calm one’s own crying child. It’s a helpless feeling. And it can drag on into a sense of utter hopelessness over time.
But if that’s the story of my own body’s inner child and my own mind’s failure-at-control parent, I’m here to tell you with great hope that there is more to my story. You see, we humans all have a 3rd part of “self” that lives on in final victory. Many of us refer to it as the soul.
Body. Mind. Soul. Our universal trinity as created in God’s own image. Body of the Christ. Mind of the Father. Soul of the Holy Spirit. Three in one. But take away the soul, and one risks a parent-child dynamic with a high risk for fear / control producing depression / failure.
For me, hope happens when the soul finds its voice within my mind. I say “the” soul because I now believe there is only One in all the universe. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit that constitutes the one and only soul within all of us and all of God. The soul that whispers heaven’s own love story into the midst of our world’s own fear story. That fear story which gets shouted into my own mind by means of my bodily senses leading to my failure-to-control resulting in my own Depressed mood of helplessness and hopelessness.
Perhaps I’m not alone in all of this.
Perhaps you, too, may have noticed your mind tuned into the loud voice of the world’s fear story around you as communicated through your own bodily senses. Perhaps you, too, have tried with your own mind to satisfy your own body by trying to control that which was, in reality, uncontrollable around you. Maybe you, too, have then found yourself failing-to-control and experiencing your own depressed mood with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
If so, I’m praying that as you read this the Holy Spirit might whisper heaven’s love story into your own mind in such a way that you can find that part of your own voice. Your soul’s stronger voice. The voice that empowers your mind to place more faith in heaven’s love than in this world’s fear. The voice that tells you, too, to trust that God’s love can cast out all human fear in the long run.
Yes, in the short run I still have fears. Hey, it really is a crazy world out there and uncertainty really does surround me on all sides. Of course, my body is sometimes afraid when appealing to my mind. Just like God’s body, the Christ, felt fear while proverbally sweating blood in Gethsemane and appealing to his mind, the Father, to “take control” and remove his own bitter cup.
In the long run, I believe God privileges the soul’s own heavenly voice of love. And resurrection. And hope that springs eternal. Which is how hope happens for any of us. One mind at a time. One therapeutic breakthrough at a time.
May our minds find the soul’s almighty voice within. And may that voice inform our own hope in love’s eventual resurrection victory. Amen.