Giving Up Without Giving Up

Meditation and Depressions

'What if the suffering that we call depression contains experiences and lessons without which we cannot be fully alive?'

This is one of the many startling questions that Giving Up Without Giving Up invites us to ask ourselves. Depression seems to be a contemporary epidemic, a condition understandably feared and avoided by all. Yet this book explores the possibility that we have much to learn from the desert times in our lives, when it feels as though we are losing everything, most of all any sense of who we are. 

Drawing on his extensive experience of meditation within both the Buddhist and Christian contemplative traditions, as well as his own times of personal loss and bewilderment, Jim Green offers us a moving account of just how this wisdom practice can accompany each of us as we make 'the gentle pilgrimage of recovery'. He guides us through 'the invention of depression' in the mid-twentieth century, questioning the increasing tendency to medicalize human suffering. Based on the insight that 'Life is the Treatment', he offers a thorough and practical approach to our times of personal desolation, showing how we can learn to treat ourselves and each other with care and compassion. At the heart of this approach is the practice of meditation, learned from the Buddha, The Desert Fathers and Mothers and from Jesus himself. It's a practice which, this heartfelt book insists, can help you 'to be depressed – which might mean in mourning – for exactly as long as you need to be, no longer and no shorter. Then, changed, you are brought back to life, which is change itself.'


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“Jim Green has described a new approach to the corrosive suffering of depression … His special gift is shown in connecting to the sources of healing found in literature, faith and contemplative practice. Anyone suffering from depression who reads this book will feel both understood and gently guided forward.” – Laurence Freeman, Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation


“Might “depression” be, not a cold, deterministic diagnosis, but a call to spiritual awakening, to a graced construction of self? Jim Green says it may, and presents his case persuasively.” – Erik Varden, author of The Shattering of Loneliness


“If it is true that all human griefs have their roots in our inability to sit quietly in our own company for five minutes, this spare, candid and calm introduction to meditative practice will be a life-saving gift for many living in or on the edge of the darkness that regularly overtakes us in this uncontrollable world.” – Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury


“The beguiling title of Jim Green's book both conceals and reveals its revolutionary nature. In beautifully crafted prose, he challenges his readers to let go of their pre-suppositions, habitual attitudes and conditioned responses to life's existential sufferings. Above all, he offers a path out of the prison of dualistic thinking. Meditation, he suggests, leads into the heart of paradox where nothing gives access to everything.” – Professor Brian Thorne, psychotherapist, writer, Lay Canon, Norwich Cathedral

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Product Details

ISBN: 978-1-4729-5745-0

Specifications: 216x135mm, 240pp

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing


Table of Contents