In this three-part feature, we will discuss methods of Self-Therapy from the 3 planes of human existence: Spirit, Mind, & Body.
At many points in life, we are bound to face conflicts which test our strength as individuals. Quite literally, we are bound to these challenges, as they represent a stepping stone on our evolution, a distance marker on the journey of our soul.
Before the field of psychology made its way into our cultural consciousness, there was only spirituality to assist us in these troubling periods. Only the clergyman (in the West) could give us the advice we sought.
My spouse has been unfaithful.
I can’t quit drinking!
My best friend is ill.
My dog just died.
And what could the clergyman ultimately do? Support us, of course, through use of religious texts and their accompanying wisdom. In these modern times of psychological inquiry, what can the therapist do? Support us, of course, through use of academic texts and their accompanying wisdom.
But both the best clergymen and the best therapists take a surprisingly similar approach: They allow us to tap into ourselves for the answers. Both take the same route using parallel roads, one spiritual and the other intellectual, bound for the same destination: Healing.
Is there a way to take oneself down this road, perhaps one straight down the middle of both the clergyman and the therapist’s parallel approaches?
Yes. Self-therapy is a completely real mode of healing. In fact, if we are being honest with ourselves, this type of therapy is often the most neglected and most feared kind. It literally puts the onus on us!
We are so accustomed to seeking external validation or having external expectations (i.e. “This therapist is supposed to be great — they’ll help me be cured!”) that we often fail to accept the source — the self. As Ken Wilbur has stated, that which we hate and seek to destroy are elements of the self that we have decided we are NOT, in order to project the self we desire to be.
Every time we cry, our body is expressing a mode of healing. Of course, we can say the same about sweating, scabbing, and even sleeping. How is sleeping healing, we may ask. We are healing our energy. After experiencing a painful situation or conflict, we often tell ourselves (or hear others tell us) to “sleep it off.” But sleeping does not need to be the only way we heal our energy. We can think of sleeping as a bandage that stops our energy from bleeding, and Self-Therapy as a way to clot the energy at the right places.
In “Psi Co-Therapy” we discussed the healing potential of integrating psychic information into therapy sessions. By offering such information to a client or help-seeker, an intuitive therapist can offer both the spiritual and physical information designed to assist the person in dealing with life’s most difficult obstacles.
So how can one practice “Self-Therapy,” especially when so many of our difficulties seem intangible, at least at their roots?
I overeat, so I guess I’m unhappy and filling some void.
I can’t sleep, so I must be anxious about something.
I don’t want to quit smoking, even though I know it’s bad for me. I must not like myself.
These type of assertions are actually HEALTHY for two reasons:
1. We acknowledge an issue we are having
2. We make some attempt to identify the cause
However, we still keep ourselves in the dark about the deeper causes at work on us. We make excuses like, “I can’t be doing this because of something that happened in the past. I should be past that by now!” Or some people go as far as to deny the possibility of a past event or trauma being a cause because they fear they are “Living in the past.”
There is only the present, and if your present experience feels strongly linked to past events, it must be fully explored in order to exorcise it from the present. Like any demons one might link to the paranormal, traumatic memories are demons which must be exorcised as well. This concept is already discussed when we use phrases like “Inner demons” and “Skeletons in the closet.”
In both of these expressions, we make our personal experiences ABJECT — parts of our self we reject and objectify as being outside of who we “really” are. In so doing we keep our self trapped, constantly reinforcing how we can not understand our plight.
The problems mentioned above are examples of “Symptoms,” as we may define them as that which physically expresses a greater conflict going on. However, not every Symptom can (or should) be linked to a concrete parent-problem (greater cause) or overriding “disorder” or clinical mental illness. Sometimes a Symptom is merely a way to express a lack of awareness or validation of a problem.
What about when we have Symptoms whose causes seem to be self-evident?
My spouse was unfaithful, so now I have low self-esteem and overeat.
I was just diagnosed with cancer, so I can’t sleep because I’m anxious.
My close friend passed away, so I began smoking cigarettes.
Regardless of the root cause of our Symptom, the approach to Self-Therapy will be exactly the same.
EXPOSURE, a concept generally associated with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), is a productive first step when practicing Self-Therapy. Exposure means, quite literally, stating the Symptom you wish to address openly and honestly with yourself. Most people will find this first step difficult in and of itself.
First, you must be able to say the Symptom to yourself out loud.
I eat more than I need to.
I smoke cigarettes, which I know are unhealthy.
I engage in sex with people I don’t even find attractive, just ’cause I can’t help it.
Whatever your personal Symptom, you must say it aloud — admitting it to yourself — and then you must ask for guidance from your higher self. The “Higher Self” according to many spiritual practitioners is the divine part of the self which knows what is best for you in life innately. Some people may prefer to use the term “Conscience,” although it has less of a spiritual bend. When you ask for guidance, you are surrendering control to the part of you which is connected to the bigger picture. This relates to G-d, angels, guides, and other manifestations of the divine energy in the universe.
I need help with my symptom of overeating.
I seek guidance to control my symptom of smoking.
Please allow me to receive help with my symptom of sexual addiction.
It is best to work from the higher plane down to the lower plane in this case, as we conduct our daily lives on the lower plane of existence, where as human beings we can change our experiences tangibly. When we engage with the higher plane, we are practicing an awareness of the issue as it relates to an overarching lesson we must undertake.
Once you can seriously ask for spiritual guidance about a specific Symptom you would like to address, you are ready for the next step. Perhaps you are wondering about why we are making the Symptom abject in this case. Wouldn’t it be necessary to accept the Symptom as part of our Self in order to understand it? Well, not in this case. In this case we are aware that the Symptom we are expressing is something negative, something detrimental to our well-being, and nothing that is negative is innately part of us. If we did not objectify the Symptom in this case, we would be framing a negative behavior as innate to us. By doing this, we are in fact framing the Symptom as being part of our Self, thereby reinforcing the idea that we can not exist without it. This is obviously not the case, as we recognize that it is something causing us negativity. We must break the cycle.
It may take you time to achieve the step of asking for personal guidance, and that is perfectly okay. We all deal with inner turmoil in our own ways. Some of us spend years denying or minimizing our Symptoms.
I know I eat a lot sometimes, but hey — plenty of people are heavier than I am and they’re fine with it.
I only smoke half a pack a day. That can’t be that bad.
I always practice safe sex with the people I get with, so it’s not like it’s hurting me for real.
Some of us spend years projecting our Symptoms by placing blame on others.
Yeah, I overeat — but I’m an American. Our restaurants always give us such big portions of everything. How could I NOT overeat?!
I know smoking is bad, but if I hadn’t seen my Dad smoking from the time I was little, I never would’ve started.
If my ex-girlfriend hadn’t told me I was bad in bed, I wouldn’t feel the need to be getting with so many girls who seem to like having sex with me.
Some of us have a tough time even putting a name on what our Symptom is.
I eat a lot, I guess. I could look better, maybe, which gets me down a lot. Is that a problem?
I smoke here and there, but I don’t really think about it much.
I end up sleeping with lots of people, but it’s fun. I don’t always love it, but hey, that’s life.
You will know you are ready when you can genuinely state your Symptom and ask to receive guidance related to it. This concretely sets your INTENTION with your higher self, your Spirit.
First published on Adam’s blog, Paranormalyte, on October 25, 2013.