“You’re going to worry yourself sick”, was my mother’s ring tone. Those seemingly meaningless words crashed softly to the ground in my youth and young adulthood. Unfortunately, in 2005 with my life completely unmanageable did the phrase make its way home. After suffering from major depression and depressive rumination for over twenty years, I learned “you’re going to worry yourself sick” was an understatement.
The Stuck Mind
Depressive rumination is repetitive thinking; the disruptive behavior is associated with affective disorders like depression. I was a slave to this horrible affliction. The ability to chew on negative thoughts for days was a common occurrence. These judgments originated from numerous mental queries, judgments, and suggestions (i.e., a perceived wrong from others, external forces, or future expectations).
Whatever the reason, thoughts or opinions would stew in my mind until mental exhaustion was achieved. Without question, I could not let go of repetitive negative thoughts; they were a normal element of my depressive life.
Major depression is a dark alley of hopelessness and its strangling mist slowly chokes rational thinking to death. The experience of depression is indefinable, and it becomes more horrifying; when we cannot articulate our mood, it’s scary as hell. But we can recover from both depression and depressive rumination. We can find a way out.
Thus when the decision to face my darkness was sprouted, rumination or obsessive thinking was also in my crosshairs. I wanted freedom from depression, substance abuse, and repetitive thinking in that order.
Dismantling depressive rumination became possible after reading Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is.” Her book helped me learn more about Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of psychotherapy where thoughts are challenges for validity. In other words, is it true what we’re thinking or is it a false perception? Unchallenged negative thoughts have a direct impact on our behaviors and our depressive disorders.
Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is”, coupled with psychotherapy, anti-depressive medicine, and Taoism provided the strength to challenge my depressive rumination. Taoism is my philosophy and my path. I practiced five years reading, studying, and receiving therapy to not only conquer depression, but to manage circular thinking. In addition, the art of mindfulness helped challenge old habits as well.
Depressive rumination increases depressive symptoms in patients. This maladaptive behavior is detrimental to the mind, body, and spirit. We ponder relentlessly about memories we cannot affect and likewise wait with heightened anxiety for future expectation.
However, major depression and depressive rumination are curable. Please consider seeking medical diagnosis for your depressive symptoms or rumination. By the way, only when we are present in the here-and-now do depressive ruminations begin to dissolve.
Note: I have more Christian friends than a mega church could shake a stick at. My friends and I share and read books. We share books not as an attempt of conversion to either faith or philosophy but spiritual growth. Hence some books receive a succinct written appraisal because of their indelible impression on the Dragon. Such a book is below.
Og Mandino, (1968) “The Greatest Salesman on Earth.” Overview: Jay Redmond dutifully sworn to inform me of Christian genres did so with best-selling author Og Mandino’s book “Greatest Salesman in the World”. Why, the forewarning? Because we do not trade books so heavily slanted that any message of worth is drowned out by ideology or mythology. This is not to say religious books make me scurry but some attempt to covert by text. I’m not a big fan of these books and pleasingly Jay takes this heed.
In fact, before Jay dropped it on my desk, I could honestly say, never heard of it. Jay’s an avid reader as well as philological gent, a light-skinned African-American fellow drenched in thought. He informed me of the mission, “read this book, I think you’ll enjoy it”. This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds, damn that Jay. Spoiler Alert!!! Greatest Salesman on Earth (1968) is not about last month’s quarterly reports.
The date did not bother me (1968) concerning contextual relevance. The Tao and Bible are much older; the Buddha, a tired elder, long should have retired. What the book has in common with these books and philosophical thinking patterns is the art of the parable. The story sets in Jerusalem in about the time before Christ’s birth, when the young man Hafld wishes and learns the secrets of success.
The educational tutelage came from one of the wealthiest men at that time. The well-off elder was repeating the gesture he himself requested and received long ago, “the secret of success”. The story reveals ten scrolls handed down to Hafld, these lessons of principles necessary to build one to self-actualization. Without giving much if anything away, the scrolls provide lessons to change one’s circumstances through a change of consciousness.
The story inside the story is a powerful plug for Christians; as such reading the book in its entirety will be a great revelation. Greatest Salesman on Earth is a nice story of self-identity building and remaining faithful to one’s beliefs.
Og Mandino’s “Greatest Salesman in the World” has sold over 14 million copies. There are some helpful, empowering tools in the classic. However, my reaction to the book was lukewarm mainly because the anecdotes were familiar to my schema. This book would be more advantageous to a person just beginning their journey, such as the main character Hifld.
In addition, the book offers great insights and then produces thoughts that baffled me, as such, “Experience is comparable to fashion; an action that provoked successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow, only principles endure (pp42).”
Principles become experience when applied in real life situations. It is similar to hope, it only becomes hope when actions are secured, or “when the rubber hits the road”.
This book favors individuals who desire external guidance in the beginning of their journey.
Next Book Review
Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success
Reading and reviewing books has become a past time. A few friends have joined in partnership to exchange text for examination. We have dissimilar religious and spiritual affiliations, they being Christians and the blogger a pious orphan. Taoism is the nearest philosophy among my external counsel. However religious and philosophical membership aside, reading wisdom-based fiction is cool. Discovering new and useful information among text is the purpose anyhow.
“The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews speaks about the fictional life of David Ponder. Mr. Ponders experience a midlife crisis and finds himself traveling back through time. He encounters several individuals who will provide him with values for personal success, seven total. Hence, however, these persons are making crucial decisions as David crashes into their past.
In fact, Harry S. Truman found time to speak with David as he decided the fate of Japan. The past realities and David’s life come together to forge a new mental framework for guidance to success. Overall these seven principles are foundational attributes through a Christian writer’s lens.
Personal Observation: Christian’ books (my personal book reviews) consistently promote “when my ship comes in” paradigms. The Traveler’s Gift in step presents a map to obtain future happiness and rewards. As such Mr. Andrews illustrate that present moments are only platforms for things to come.
The Traveler’s Gift, pp..88-89 “My hopes, my passion, my vision for the future are my existence…I am passionate about my vision for the future. My course has been charted. My destiny is assured…I have a decided heart.”…pp 166, “I will persist without exception. I focus on results. To achieve the results I desire, it is not necessary that I enjoy the process. It is only important that I continue the process with my eyes on the outcome…my light, my harbor, my future is within sight.”
Sadly, we do not control the future with our works; however the author seems to suggest otherwise. In fact, he points out that until goals, ambitions, or expectations become reality happiness may remain dormant. This book in my opinion is a pep rally, a motivational dialogue woven into a brilliant story.
Nevertheless, disowning the present moment while concentrating exclusively on expectations will create pain for many. Because obsessions with future or past events may create emotional trauma. In addition, what happens when our plans do not work out? Do we blame God? On the other hand, do we condemn ourselves for a lack of faith?
In closing, adhere to the present in my humble opinion. Because happiness is a state of being available anytime; your choice and free of charge.
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