In August 2005, I became entangled with federal law enforcement as a result of my untreated clinical depression and substance abuse. The event, I attest, remain the strongest transitional chapter in my life. Subsequently, I authored the poetical book titled “The Journey to Spiritual Restoration” in February 2009 which chronicles my despair inside the funnel of mental illness and risky behaviors. I wrote the book to leave trace evidence to explain the insanity one may experience in such a maze.
Let me be clear, the mental illness and substance abuse is not an excuse, I own up to my discretion unequivocally. Nevertheless, I had never been or since involved in felonious criminal activities or illegal substances. I cite my shorten NFL football career with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the tipping point to madness. Like others before me, professional football was brief; I injured my knee beyond repair and was forced to retire after two seasons. Not long after, I spiraled into an 18-year bout with mental illness and substance abuse. Although, I maintained employment during this time (i.e., Jane Addams Hull House, Chicago Park District, and Board of Education), I wore a mask.
I attempted medical intervention to my mental health in 2002-03 but walked away prematurely feeling, “I can hack it”. I soon discovered the awesome power of mental illness in November 2004. I became unhinged. As a result, I had my wife commit me to the mental health ward at St. Luke Hospital that winter as my life spiraled out of control. I was discharged four days later with a diagnosis of clinical depression. The care physician stated; “I possibly had suffered from depression since my father’s death in 1977; I was fifteen at that time”.
As August 2005 approached, I was terrified for my health and life, I sought spiritual intervention at that time. I was scared as hell of dying. Sadly, soon after I sought help I was arrested for possession of fake credit cards to purchase gas. I was given one-year probation. In addition, the FBI charged me with possession of counterfeit devices after a traffic arrest in Wisconsin 10 days later. I had prayed for intervention that would help me stop the madness and I received my wish. These events change my life and remain the greatest moments in my life.
The FBI gave me three-year probation beginning in November 2006 for my offense. More important, the court mandated mental health and substance abuse treatment. Dr. Amy Jacobsen of Ben Gordon Community Center in DeKalb Illinois treated me and we successfully ended treatment in the fall of 2009. Although, I served five months in Terre Haute, Indiana federal prison camp (June-November 2008) for a probation violation (unauthorized internet usage) nevertheless I remain a complete and whole human being. I began school at Northern Illinois University fall 2009 and have never looked back.
Tao Te Ching
The Tao Te Ching is the most intriguing book in history second only to the bible in English translation.
Lao Tzu (570-490 BC) the author who compiled the eighty-one verses may never have existed. As often with ancient writings indisputable chain of authenticity remain difficult. At the age of eighty-one, Lao Tzu feeling despondent and melancholy over man’s inability to achieve nirvana recorded The Tao Te Ching translated (The Way and its Power.)
Lao Tzu theorize man behavior as being in conflict with the perfect order of the universe. He believed the constant desire for acquisitive and status led man to strain himself and become detached from his true nature. This unnatural strain he suggests produces greed, envious and covetousness.
Lao suggest posits non-action as an essential key to man’s transformation to spiritual restoration and wholeness.
Chuang Tzu:“To regard the fundamental as the essence, to regard things as coarse, to regard accumulation as deficiency, and to dwell quietly alone with the spiritual and the intelligent — herein lie the techniques of Tao of the ancients.” Lao Tzu believed a ego-driven life was counterproductive. The Tao’s 81 verses are principles based upon living in order with natural.
Important Contributors to Taoism
Chuang Tzu(399 – 295 B.C.) Closely took up where Lao Tzu left off. He produced a greater and more exact attention to Nature and the human place within it which also lead to a greater emphasis on the individual.
(53 B.C. to 18 A.D)
Wang Ch’ung(27 to 100 A.D.)
Huai-Nan Tzu(died 122 B.C.) [born Liu An]
Yang Chu(440 to 360 B.C.)
All to often, Americans tend to worship mass consumption and believes in bigger is better. However, we learn at an expensive price, this is not the Way. The collective ego in America is obsessed with acquisitions and illusions.
Lao Tzu philosophy of 2,500 years ago is in demand today.
The Tao has being translated numerous times. I have read several and reference them in living and writing. However, the Tao is beginning to discover a place into American culture. We all must choose our own path.
Robert A. Williams