Perhaps you have met someone like this mythical paragon of spirituality. She spends much time most every day on such worthy activities/rituals as exercise, meditation, prayer, contemplation, yoga, ritual and ceremony. Jane has a shaman as her current main teacher and she carefully follows his advice and direction. She describes her relationship with her spouse as wonderful. When her human upsets arise, she has learned to tune instead into 'more spiritual feelings' such as God's love. One of her main goals is to be expressing God's love as much as possible and her work as a Reiki healer is an example of that goal manifesting in her life. She demonstrates much psychic sensitivity. She says she has a great life.|
So why would anyone consider Jane anything but a wonderful spiritual example for all the rest of us? How could anyone think that she is being at all phony? All of the above activities make Jane feel better and she looks generally happy. The truth is that no one (me, you or Jane) knows how much she is fooling herself/us with what she is doing.
Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' the milk of human kindness. Macbeth, William Shakespeare, c. 1564-1616
What might reveal that all might be not so wonderful with Jane? I'll describe six areas that show her underlying tension.
1. Look carefully at Jane. She is a very busy person with many defenses available. (Busyness is also a defense for her.) She is just not as obvious as a person who smokes, drinks, is overweight or is in an abusive relationship. Instead of getting upset, she just reaches for her "spiritual" set of pacifiers (yoga, meditation, prayer, shamanic group, and so on). Such pacifiers are healthier than smoking, drinking or being overweight, of course, but they are still defenses that she uses to cover over upsets and tension. These "healthier" pacifiers are far more self-deceiving than smoking or drinking because "everyone" thinks they are wonderful and praiseworthy. Thus, Jane not only covers over her inner pain with the pacifier but also gets another pacifier (the praise from others and herself) in the process.
2. Jane's body has an elevated pulse, higher blood pressure and lower extremities' temperature than someone who is less phony and more real. Her shaman and his followers also show these symptoms of inner tension. Instead, they claim to be feeling calm and in a state of inner peace. They deceive themselves and many others with these self-lies. It is unlikely that either Jane or her shaman have any interest in measurements of bodily tension. For such measurements would tend to expose the lie about their claimed states of inner peace. (Please see the next chapter for more on such measurable evidence of the tension in the body.)
© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze
|Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Four typical fears are: (1)I can't trust my spontaneity because I might do myself harm, (2)I won't be accepted if I laugh hard or play joyfully, (3)Creativity is often the work of the devil and (4)I fear I won't be accepted if I enjoy myself because there are starving people in Africa."|