hygienic dark retreat

profound rest for the self‑healing psyche

a book by andrew durham

formerly darkroomretreat.com


the recovery of joy

This book comes out of a long inquiry into the cause of joy.

At 15, out of the blue, great joy overcame me. The moment blossomed into hours, days, months. Joy was real. It was natural. It was normal.

Then it disappeared. Why? The need gripped me to solve this mystery. After a long investigation, I did. (More soon.)

The solution included a way to recover joy. Freud had identified the destroyer of joy: trauma. I discovered the essential condition nature provides us to heal from trauma: darkness, used restfully.

Joy comes from health, not achievement or acquisition. It comes from being, not from doing or having. It means all is well with oneself. It is the feeling of being fully alive.

Lack of joy—suffering—comes from damage from trauma. Given profound rest in darkness, trauma heals by itself, and joy returns.

It’s that simple. For 13 millennia, we have been but weeks away from joy, health, and peace.

In our trauma-induced psychosis, we came to believe that lack of joy comes from moral failure. Effort became our smug panacea. But its results fade fast. It is a counterfeit.

By the will, one can do nothing directly to restore joy, only provide proper conditions. The organism does the rest naturally. Autonomically.

We have been right that something is wrong with us. We have been right that we must do something about it. But we have been wrong about which part of ourselves must do it. At long last, this book puts the issue to rest.

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