Excerpt from Chapter One…
THE CHALLENGE OF HEALING TODAY
Although healing is never easy and perhaps never will be, two interrelated factors are largely responsible for redefining our approach to health and the human healing potential. First, we have clearly entered the “energy age” or the “psychic age,” whose fabric includes our exploration of our psychic natures. Second, we have blended this exploration with an equally passionate pursuit of spirituality, and the result is an epidemic of spiritual crises mistakenly diagnosed as psychological sufferings.
Both of these subjects have a direct bearing on how we should approach illness today; specifically, that we recognize the spiritual crisis as an authentic crisis that is not the same as a psychological or an emotional crisis, though it may express itself through the psyche and emotions. Without this recognition, we often end up medicating a crisis that in fact requires not tranquilizers or sedatives, but spiritual direction.
Entering the Age of Energy
We now think of ourselves not simply as physical bodies, but also as “energy systems” that require various kinds of treatment. Our energy system is the harbor of our psyche, emotions, mental capacities, unconscious or subconscious mind, and spirit. All these aspects of ourselves require forms of treatment and care based on sophisticated philosophies of psychological integration. Further, their treatment must be harmonized with the healing of our physical body.
As if that’s not a tall enough order, we have yet to fully understand ourselves as “intuitive” human beings. We have not established a clear-cut model of health and illness that maps out the relationship between the psychic and physical realms. We have yet to recognize that certain disorders originate as psychic traumas or with macro-psychic influences. By macro-psychic, I am referring to the affect of energetic pollution, a type of pollution that is impossible to measure but is nonetheless present and very toxic.
For example, we now live in an atmosphere that is crowded with invisible technology. I imagine that if we could hear all the radio and Internet communications traveling through the air, we would go mad. But even though we don’t actually hear and see all these transmissions and waves, we are psychically sensing this data as it is penetrating our energy fields. We tend to discount such things, because our five senses can’t “reason” with that reality. The problem is literally beyond reason for our five senses, and so we dismiss it with the thought “If something can’t be seen or heard or tasted or touched or smelled, it really can’t harm us.” In truth, we have yet to develop the intellectual or psychic mechanism to cope with what we are able to intuitively grasp, and so we dismiss the data from our intuitive intelligence, relying instead upon “scientific data” to be our guide.
But I suspect that these massive networks of communications generate an enormous field of “psychic free radicals” that do penetrate the subtle, porous energy fields of the general population. The long-term effects of the war in Iraq, for example, or the dramatic and (one might say) traumatic decline of the economy have certainly had a collective impact on the psychic health of the nation as well as the health of its finances. The stress people feel is palpable, bleeding out of their energy fields like a slow, heavy mist that fills the collective atmosphere with a sense of dread. The weight of these psychic free radicals is felt by everyone, from those already embracing intuitive consciousness to those who resonate to gut responses-people whose intuitive systems are just beginning to awaken. It is even possible that the quantum rise in energetic disorders-mood swings, anxiety attacks, the inability to concentrate, sleep disorders, ADHD, and perhaps even autism-is influenced by the spontaneous combustion caused by the intuition age colliding with energy technology.
We have not fully recognized the parameters of psychic health and well-being, as opposed to those of physical and psychological health. Our psychic and intuitive natures are not yet real enough to us to be a recognized factor in our health. No doubt that day will come, but in the meantime the absence of this vital bank of knowledge, and of the ability to accurately evaluate a psychic disorder-much less treat it-has placed many people in the risky position of medicating conditions that may require far more astute treatment by individuals skilled at recognizing stress disorders originating from the subtle and indeed impersonal field of consciousness.
Spiritual Crisis: A Reality of Our Times
Nor have we recognized the precise nature of spiritual crises, such as the “dark night of the soul,” as very real suffering experienced by countless individuals in our society. Such a crisis is beyond reason; that is, the suffering of the soul does not take place within the mind, even if the mind gives expression to the soul’s darkness. But if our suffering is anchored in the soul, how do we respond to that within a society where the sacred has no clinical authority? In the traditional setting of a monastery or ashram, the seeker on an inner spiritual pilgrimage would most likely have access to spiritual directors, mentors, or gurus-those who know the rigors of the inner path. This seeker would be told to anticipate the experience of the dissolution of her ego, done in darkness again and again.
Why is this happening now? For one thing, contemporary society presents us with ingredients unique to our time: easy access to refined sacred texts and spiritual teachings, inspiring an appetite for the inner life, within an atmosphere that encourages the pursuit of psychological and emotional integration and healing. When we open the vast territory of the psyche and soul, the inner world begins to consume the outer world. Without the keen eye of a trained spiritual director, it is easy to mistake the spiritual crisis that may develop in this way for a psychological problem. Spiritual depression presents itself in much the same way as clinical depression-but not quite. The marks of distinction are crucial, yet hard for the untrained to recognize. They make the difference between interpreting the source of depression as a problem that may require medication or as a process of transformation that is best served by reflection, discussion of the stages of the dark night, and understanding the nature of mystical prayer. I have met many people who have been treated for depression and other conditions when they were, in fact, in the deep stages of a spiritual crisis. Without the proper support, that crisis becomes misdirected into a problem with relationships, a problem with one’s childhood, or a chronic malaise. Spiritual crises are now a very real part of our spectrum of health challenges and we need to acknowledge them with the same authority as we do clinical depression.
Further, we have made the healing process exceedingly burdensome and complex. Today it is not uncommon to approach an illness as an engrossing and demanding new relationship, one in which the illness becomes a means to an end, a temporary visiting friend, a doorway to a new life as well as to past lives, the motivation to excavate every hurt feeling from the past, and the inspiration to begin the quest for meaning and purpose in one’s life. Although it is understandable that an illness can inspire us to reevaluate what is important, dismantling the whole of our world at one time is a Herculean task that even a fully healthy person is rarely prepared to undertake. This kind of approach is also beyond ordinary logic and reason; it hints at being motivated by fear and panic more than by wanting to make only the essential choices. Healing demands that you focus on the elements in your life that require immediate attention and that are essential to your transformation to health-period.
Courtesy of Hay House
About the Author:
Defy Gravity is published by Hay House Inc. (October 13, 2009). When you purchase Defy Gravity today, you will also receive free access to a live online seminar with Caroline Myss on November 10. http://promos.hayhouse.com/defygravity/
Excerpt from Chapter One…