actuallythere wrote:Hello enlightened,
You have indeed raised a really interesting topic, you wrote:enlightened wrote:I posed a simple question:
Are the spiritual practices enough to deal with your "stuff", or does one need therapy as well
and previouslyenlightened wrote:In the spiritual sense all this "stuff" is the result of 'karma", in psychology the "stuff" is deeply repressed issues that one cannot deal with on a conscious level. Do spiritual practices effectively deal with the "stuff", or should it be combined with therapy......................
As far as I see here therapy and spiritual practices are positioned as mutually exchangeable, that they can both deal with the same thing (please correct me if I have got that wrong).
Personally I can't comment from first hand experience because I haven't ever been involved with a spiritual group long enough say I have undertaken a significant level of spiritual practices. Nor have I been in therapy.
But I can envisage a scenario in which an individual faces that choice:
Sandra grew up in a family where she never felt loved for who she was; her father was a workaholic and therefore rather absent from her life, her glamorous mother had affairs and spent more time seeking the flattery of men than taking an interest in her children. Sandra's sister was more beautiful and her brother was a much higher achiever. She was given little guidance or warmth in the home, which felt like a sham. As a teenager, Sandra found something deeply compelling in the world of classic literature, it was an inspiration. Briefly, primarily for social reasons, she attended Bible study group but left after feeling it was shallow, and took a volunteer job at a charity shop that she thought would do more good. Approaching young adulthood, there was an overwhelming sense of emptiness about where she had come from, she was lost for a calling and relationships didn't work out. She felt worthless and secretly hated herself. She began to cry to herself at night, she overate and got into fits of anger. But she was wary of the option of therapy, she'd heard most therapists are messed up themselves - and even if she got a good one she expected to feel exposed and scrutinized, it might open a can of worms and make her worse; therapy sounded too intensely intimate, and that is not something she's comfortable with.
At this point, Sandra might find a gentle introduction to spiritual practices appealing. My hunch is that if she went into spiritual practices, she would soon feel loved, guided, aware of a direction, that her past didn't matter, that she was worth a lot, that she was special.
And if so, what has happened to Sandra here? Has she got closer to understanding the mysteries of the universe? Has she got closer to understanding what has made her who she is?
Personally, I wonder. Is there a risk that what Sandra thinks is spiritual attainment, is in fact purely a distraction from the personal problems that caused her to seek a new lifestyle in the first place?
How can Sandra know whether what she has is not a mirage of spirituality which is in fact a distraction from her personal problems, that would have been addressed square-on by therapy?
Can Sandra be sure those personal problems won't come back, 5 or 10 years into spiritual practice - all that anger, that insecurity, that personal desire to be loved and guided and to belong?
And what if there are other people around her undertaking spiritual practices who are morally corrupt (and it happens everywhere, most infamously of late in the Catholic Church). Will she be strong enough in herself to stand up to them? Will she be strong enough to protect others from them? Or will she turn a blind eye and therefore encourage them? And what if they, and by extension their spiritual practices, are criticized and ridiculed? Will she feel hurt that the source of her new and good feelings, the source of the love, care and guidance that she always wanted and deserved, was now being thrown in the gutter? Will that hurt cause her to leap to the defense? And if so, will Sandra have been on a spiritual path, or an emotional path?
So to go back to the start - therapy or spiritual practices for Sandra? My hunch is that she could probably try both, but I am not yet sure that spiritual practices would be enough to deal with what she could address in therapy.
In terms of experience, you Enlightened are in a better position to look back at the process than I am. So I'd be curious to know what you think about it, whether one can indeed use spiritual practice as an alternative to therapy, or what the difference is. So, over to you.
Did you read this above post directed to you?
I actually found it very interesting, and pertinent, many thanks actuallythere!
While it may at first seem an exaggerated story, this I believe is how it is for many or
most students, in a percentage range from say 5% to 100%.
Even for one who believes wholeheartedly (rightly or wrongly) .. such as myself, that I was there
only for the answer to the meaning of life, this added aspect makes the school 'extra attractive'.
This element the school fosters, to make individuals feel wanted, cared for, loved ..and even special,
and nothing wrong with that of course .. but, it is tainted because of manipulation and subtle abuse.
This all also makes sense of my astonishment, that many senior students in SFSK
seem to turn a blind eye to, or not care or enquire as to the validity of their school principal
Mrs Mavro, in relation to the M's giving an impure mantra and no authority to initiate
(because he never asked ..)
Also enlightened, I hope I have not covered up the two excellent posts waiting for your reply
from MOTS and Someone else, with this long post.
So please answer them first ..