For a lot of years, I really disliked psychology. Like strongly. And I realized that this was because my parents were always sending me to therapists, who labeled me without once thinking perhaps it was my parents who were crazy. Anyway, psychiatrists don’t address the heart, which is integral to healing. For healing my soul and mind, I needed spirituality.
Alas, while recently healing the mother wound — which is the reason many, many women (and men) today feel flawed or unloveable — I reconnected to the power of psychology and discovered that sometimes definitions are not limiting, but instead worlds unto themselves that deepen our insight.
Uniting spirituality and psychology, soul and mind, yields powerful insights.
We all think we’re so unique, but many of us operate along common themes that scientists have spent decades working to understand. While I don’t agree with the rampant over-prescribing of medication among other things, I believe that taking spirituality’s idea of wholeness into the realm of psychology can bring about transformational healing through uniting soul and mind.
And while it’s admirable that so many people in spiritual circles take 100 percent responsibility for who they are and how they feel, many times our difficulties stem from childhood, and by understanding our family interactions, we can better understand ourselves.
The idea isn’t to sit on a therapist’s couch for 10 years or to meditate in a cave for just as long, but to use the two approaches to live our modern lives, as well as we can, while gaining greater levels of awareness and peace.
Just so you know, I’m not trained in psychology in any way. I speak from my own extensive experience healing the soul and mind.
I believe in a spirituality-first perspective. We’re made of energy, and energy gives rise to thoughts and underpins all social interactions. Anger is energy, sadness is energy, stuck energy contributes to disease and unhappiness.
Healing spiritually is a non-linear process. You might feel multiple, perhaps contradictory emotions all arising at once. Giving yourself space to feel and heal is important for moving through these emotions.
1. Feel it all
When waves of anger or guilt or resentment pop up, it’s easy to resist them. We judge ourselves for having painful or ugly emotions, and it’s often hard to separate the emotion from the thought. But give yourself time to feel, no matter how long it takes.
Feelings and thoughts are connected, but separate. Try to feel without gripping the thoughts as they flow through. This becomes easier with practice, and over time you’ll be able to purposefully investigate feelings and purposefully investigate thoughts at separate times.
As the more intense feelings dissipate, you can begin the later, more objective work. First soul, then mind.
2. Go at your own pace
The process can be especially difficult when we feel anger or another emotion, and it goes away only to return.
You may castigate yourself, “I thought this was over!” It’s so important to honor the process and have faith in your wholeness. Keep feeling the emotions. If you resist them, you stall the process of healing.
Sometimes we give ourselves time tables and become upset or doubt ourselves when the process takes longer than we want. Have faith in the process and let your spirit guide the way.
The spirit knows exactly how to heal, kind of like how the body knows how to heal an injured muscle without our intervention. The important thing is to silence the mind’s judgements. Not silence the mind completely, because the mind is an important tool to help us better understand the psyche.
Have faith in your ability to heal. Have faith that you are whole, and that this experience will pass.
Meditating to heal emotions is a process of holding them in awareness until they dissipate. It heals both the soul and mind. You may start to cry or sweat. It’s all normal. Go with it, giving thanks for healing. Over time, you may become grateful for these emotions that arise because it means you’re healing on even deeper levels.
When emotions arise, ask yourself, what is that? Where is it coming from? Where does it appear in my body? Why am I feeling this? Feel it with compassion, giving yourself as long as you need until it dissipates.
4. Sleep and/or move mindfully
Maybe you need to sleep 10 hours a night for a week, and that’s part of healing. A lot of processing happens during sleep, and if that’s what your body wants, try to find the time. Or maybe you need to run five miles or go to kickboxing class to release anger. Whatever the energy of the situation calls for, try to tune into your inner self and give yourself what you need.
Have faith that your energy will return — or your anger will evaporate — when the energy body has processed what it needs to process.
The mind is a powerful tool. Thoughts can help us discover areas of the spirit that need attention. Although thoughts originate from energy, sometimes we’re not aware of the underlying energetic pattern. Thoughts are closer to the surface and easier to identify. When healing the soul and mind, each can help us dig deeper into the other, illuminating areas ripe for inquiry.
While spiritual is non-linear, psychological is linear. That means we must work to avoid circular thinking, repeating things over and over without purpose. With the mind, try to stay linear, moving forward as much as possible.
5. Consider objectively
One of the most difficult parts of non-traumatic healing is that we must figure out a more expansive way of looking at the situation from our current, more limited self. This is in part why difficult things in life help us grow — when viewed in awareness, they force us become more loving, compassionate and wise versions of ourselves. But how do we get there?
First, know that you are whole and loved. Know that whatever happened, it’s not because the universe is trying to punish you or that you’re a bad person. You have the power to move through this, learn from it and set boundaries to prevent similar situations from happening again.
Second, examine the situation from the outside in. Separate the ego, the part of the mind that gets offended or hurt, and separate your feelings. Consider the level of pure behavior, yours or others. This helps you to identify those things that are healthy and those that aren’t, both in your behavior and in others’. Forgive yourself for reacting in ways that may not reflect the higher self, and investigate. Is there abuse or toxicity present? A case of a bad day?
This is important. Let’s say you have low-self esteem and because you’re compassionate, you have the tendency to put others’ needs before your own. So maybe you’re wondering about a situation and you find yourself making excuses for the other person’s behavior, thinking how you could have opened your heart more and maybe avoided the entire situation.
Subtract the feelings and just take note of the behavior. This helps you create the space to feel anger if you were genuinely taken advantage of. Otherwise, you risk explaining away bad behaviors in the name of compassion. Then the cycle repeats and no healing happens.
Analyzing behavior objectively helps you create better boundaries and greater self-awareness.
You may want to talk about it out loud or journal. Anything that helps you stay linear, as opposed to circular thinking and repetitive thoughts.
6. Look for the root
Is this a recurring pattern? What is the root? Look deeply and honestly, perhaps going way back to your childhood. I resisted this for a long time, but recently I have been able to attribute a long-standing difficulty in my life to things that happened when I was younger. It’s good to take responsibility for your actions, but at some point, you have to sit back and ask yourself, “Where is this all coming from?”
As you dig into your psyche, difficult feelings may arise, maybe anger or resistance. This is a signal you’re on to something. Hold the feeling in awareness. As you trigger different places in your energetic body, you can hold the resulting emotions in awareness and heal increasingly deeper parts of yourself.
As you heal energetically, these patterns will come undone, healing soul and mind. It will then take awareness in the future to develop and maintain new patterns. This is how you can use emotions to dig deeper into your thoughts, and your thoughts to investigate more deeply into emotions.
7. Envision your ideal
Envision yourself in a specific, ideal situation. How does it feel? I did this recently and literally felt energy in my body being rewired.
8. Seek out teachers and wisdom
It can be difficult sometimes to figure out what healthy behavior looks like. And if we don’t know what’s healthy, how can we make good decisions?
In my most recent week of healing, I spent a long time seeking out spiritual teachings on YouTube, podcasts and reading books. You could also talk with a professional.
Surround yourself with healthy, affirming ways of thinking. Learn what’s healthy and implement those standards in your life, no matter what it takes. Healing soul and mind takes commitment and a willingness to let go of things that make you comfortable.
If applicable, read about the psychology behind certain behaviors. It can help trigger a-ha moments that reveal a new perspective. Once you gain this new perspective, it’s easier to deal with the underlying energetics, establish new goal behaviors and move on.
Do you have a process for healing soul and mind? Share your story in the comments below.
Image by mica dew via Flickr
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