In the introduction to this substantive paperback, editor Tami Simon notes that there are many different types of depression and no one size that fits all. Darkness Before Dawn is intended to bring "openness and spiritual illumination to the journey through depression." The authors and teachers who are featured in this anthology discuss their personal journeys through this widespread and complicated malady.
Reginald A. Ray sets the mood for what follows with his refreshing perspective:
"We need to try to see [depression's] possibilities and potentialities, and even why it may be happening to us in the first place, as a critical and perhaps necessary step in our own journey. We need to learn to work with the energy of depression. It's fluid, and it's very painful, but there's really nothing to be afraid of. We need to be fully present to it, explore it, work with it, and see what happens."
Simon has selected a wonderful array of essays and interviews. James S. Gordon reveals that depression is a sign that our lives are out of balance, that we're stuck. He also sees it as a hero's journey that can change our lives. Karla McLaren calls depression "Ingenious Stagnation" whereas Robert Augustus Masters prefers to think about it as a "repression-centered state."
In an interview with Simon, Parker Palmer redefines depression as moving from something taboo to something that is very meaningful.
As a person who has suffered three profound experiences of clinical depression, he opens up many doors to understanding this mental illness.
Elizabeth Rabia Roberts discusses depression as "an invitation to access perennial wisdom." Mark Nepo shares some of his experiences with depression as "a cramp in the muscle of the soul that prevents it from continuing to express." Simon interviews Thomas Moore who interprets episodes of depression as red flags that are signs of what you need, such as a need to be more serious about your life.
Darkness Before Dawn: Redefining the Journey Through Depression is a radical work that is destined to transform how we think about this widespread malaise. It also is bound to change many of our own ideas and behaviors! This is an essential volume for congregations, retreat centers, libraries, and personal collections.