Spiritual Quest as an Entry into Deep Psychological Healing
December 30, 2018
Making sense of the journey of psychological healing can take time and for some this path is unwanted, undesirable but happens nonetheless. Other folk welcome the expression of necessary growth into their lives. Then there is the other type of experience, where you are unable to recognise that something psychological desperately needs healing. In these cases the psyche, does it's job, when it safely keeps you separate to the parts of you that are painful; trauma locked away, unprocessed feelings from childhood. It helps you to build a sense of false safety in "ideas" of who you are, a rigid persona, and a facade, full of defence to keep you consciously entertained.
The Language of the Unconscious Comes in Many Forms
Angels, spirit guides and past life regresssions may just as well be the kinds or archetypes we need to bridge a deep disconnect. It's only once we have encountered our psychological wounding, that we may come to know how to live with the symbolic, the magical and the everyday.
When the time arrives, something deeper in you, in fact, the "entire you", may chose to awaken you. Actually, all roads could potentially have been leading you to this journey, helping you to build any form of strategy, outer tools or fanciful inner material you may require to meet this dramatic journey through the underworld. This is what happened to me.
I have been making better sense of what I have experienced over a stretch of around ten years, and which spans my life, when I include the long way in.
These generational healing phenomenans are the long winding path of what Carl Jung called, "individuation". These phases are not for the lighthearted, and likely there is little choice in how they come to you, however one can spend many years trying to evade "fully going through". In fact some people manage to spend an entire life skirting their, "dark night". This is a shame, but I can totally understand why one would want to put it off.
There is something so profoundly challenging about healing the ego.
We speak so frequently about the death of the ego in new age, and spiritual circles, yet what we don't understand so easily, is that, in order to play around with, transform, alter, corrode some of ones personality, one first has to have enough of "an intact self". There needs to have been sufficient solidness on some level, in order to sustain the pain of the further fragmented journey.
Breakdown or Breakthrough?
In an old fashioned light, these periods of intense inner turmoil, regression and falls from grace, we saw them as a "midlife crisis" a "breakdown". These labels have some use, and I guess they go some way to trying to explain what goes on when someone encounters a psychological experience such as this, but they don't give the experience full credit, and in essence they only tell part of a story.
The phrase, "dark night", provides a feeling of the type of mood that may long hold you, in the bleakest part of the journey, yet it doesn't convey the beautiful entry out from the blackness, and it doesn't speak about the beauty which comes next. Equally a "mid-life crisis" doesn't just happen at this age range, for some they venture there a lot sooner.
Where there has been disintegration in the ego, because of a shaky, difficult experience in childhood, a whole multitude of factors, and dynamics that would take me far too long to list, there becomes a need for "holding on", for rigidity where there is gap and holes.
The Completely Unbending, Will in Time, Become Broken and Those Lost Will Need to Find Themselves...
A person, unbending, and tightly controlling, is in any course hiding the true pain, and life can't flow well through such rigidity. It makes for living a tiresome and often painful experience, full of drama and reactivity. If the mind won't allow, then life will send the tsunami to break down the flood gates. This is actually such a simple thing to understand, if you continue to hold too tight, you will brake, however going through the experience is the most profound, and complex, evil and wonderful thing you may have ever encountered in your life. Growth can't meet your immediacy, and it will be done once it's done, not once you want it to be done. This is why the healing journey often stretches, many, many years, going through different phases and shades of light to dark and then light once more. Perhaps akin to the rise and fall of night and day, our consciousness must process the unconscious, bit by bit.
We Are Living Dying: The Paradox of Life
Once you are corroded enough, you can meet life and all the people in it, with a type of "letting go", a maturity, where you can accept, loss and pain, even though it hurts. A reality where your fears for yourself are met with your inner self, your loving resources. You will be living inside out, rather than outside in.
As I said earlier I have needed to make sense of an intensive period of years, where madness was afoot and I experienced being drenched in mental, emotional and physical health difficulties. It's important for me to see the bigger picture, and it's an inspirational thing when you can look back at your life, with true understanding of what happened, and why.
We All Share The Same Life Story in Many Different Guises
Finding this story in others, and especially in people drawn to work in the same field as me has offered me the last pieces of my puzzle. Understanding the healers journey, and the wounded healer as a mechanism, and an archetype for this experience makes sense. Even the shaman's journey fits in with this idea of healing psychological trauma, and filling in the missing pieces of ones developmental stages.
There is a Richness to be Found in What is Not Yet Known - But it May at First Blow Your Mind!
An event I went to the other day, helped me to understand the importance of these emergencies that show up in our lives and the awakening of sorts that can be found. I was also reminded how science and spirit speak a similar language and how this language of symbol and metaphor, is universal.
This day of insights into working with existential states and spiritual crisis in the therapy room really helped me to make more sense of my own healing journey over the last ten years. It's not known by everyone that Carl Jung, the great Swiss Psychotherapist, spent a number of years in his own meeting with the unconscious. He was, at times quite taken over my psychosis, yet, he knew that something more intelligent than his rational mind was guiding him through.
Some of his most amazing insights, and understanding into the world of the psyche, and mental health came from his journey of breaking down. He came out embodied, more solid, and closer to the wholeness he always spoke of.
Having an understanding of this story, which we all know in symbolism, like Alice falling into the rabbit hole, better informs us of our sameness.
Although hearing from doctors of Psychiatry who possess many years experience seeing the difference between legitimate phases of potential individuation, which can include periods of psychosis, and other less creative mental health psychopatholgies, I was sadly reminded of how many people get caught in a system and don't find their way to the other side.
We still have no proper understanding, or language for this very human journey. We don't trust the psyche, and sometimes, people will not be as lucky as me, they may not get through their journey. Society has a long way to go to remove taboos of the Victorian era, and come to see mental health as hopeful, creative, complex, and seeking wholeness, even in the pits and fits of madness.
So when is the spiritual arena part of this unfolding?
Sometimes when we don’t have a road map for knowing how to address our psychological wounds, we begin in other places. The new age, or spiritual arenas can become a metaphor for the inner child’s quest to piece together the missing developmental stages. My healing journey began in 2006, but it didn’t really start until 2012.
There comes a dim light, when battling with deep psychological anxieties and depressions that seemed to have you locked in. I encountered past wounds and traumas from childhood, and was trying to find my own inner parent, but not knowing that was what I was doing. At this time, I thought back on the former years, where I was immersed in a “spiritual” and metaphysical bubble.
I beat myself up for not seeing how my neurosis had fooled me into superfluous and superficial places, in distraction to true healing. I was in shock to be honest.
It has taken me time, during my integration and new birth stages, to realise the full extent of this growth that spanned many years. I now acknowledge the importance of that first stage, the laying of the foundations in faith, in something other than myself, and the tools I picked up, even if they were somewhat shallow and “out there”.
"Neurosis is Just Avoidance of Legitimate Suffering" - Carl Jung
Spiritual bypassing, is a mechanism to palm off your legitimate suffering onto false gurus, and spiritual ideals and practices, which make you feel like you are doing something. However they often further detach you from what you really need to deal with. It can be the stage from which other things come.
In time when the true grounding arrives, and the giant Self knocks on your door, you may come to understand your need to try to understand yourself through, ceremony, angels, tarot, conspiracy, and all that “out and up” stuff. The “higher self” may end up leading you to your deepest self. Once firmly within, with your closets cleaned and your parts all in a loving place, you may once again be interested, and involved in the magic of the world, but never again as an excuse, or a distraction from yourself.
I have found, that life often knows exactly what it's doing, even if we don't. I have also found that we can trust ourselves, even when we are out of touch, there is something more profound inside, guiding us and laughing at our folly. It's your journey and to accept your path and love your past is kind.
The road of balance is likely to be the truest, and one that you may be lead to. Spirituality is in everything, including how you wash your dishes, drive your car, and do your shopping. Everything you seek most, is within not in another realm, although saying that I’m sure Carl Jung, would think that other realm was quite a good place to start your journey if that’s where you were right now.
Where you find yourself is your starting point, but also you end point, and if you are reading this, then I am wishing you wholeness.
Life Path Inspiration is the new Lightworkers Unite