Spirituality and Why it is Good to Be Good

Spirituality is an inner path of self-discovery and transformation, as one seeks the essence of their being and the deepest sense of the meaning of life.  As it creates a stronger connection with the self and humanity, one morphs into a moral along the way. Many of the major philosophers in history have rationalized what it means to be a good person, looking at ethics for the welfare of others or because it is a means to happiness. However, there has not been “compelling reasons for why it is personally good to constrain or altruistically modify one’s pursuit of self interest to become a morally good person” (20). Riker explains that being a moral person lies in the concept of the self, reasoning through his claim with Kohut’s self psychology as a way to understand the coherent self and how it creates an ethical life. A spiritual path also is centered on finding and becoming one’s truer self, which in the mean time also manifests into becoming a better, more ethical human being. As I have only my perspective of self, I have only my journey to compare both of these ways to and have found that only through thorough inner journeying and healing have I found a place I can now say is closer to my self and a much clearer and more moral path.

Through awareness, reflection, and healing, one’s understanding of one’s self grows tremendously, and the pain and anxiety from traumatic experiences can be transformed. Spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation bring about awareness to one’s body to where it holds emotional pain, and to one’s mind bringing consciousness to the continuous cycles it flows through. Calming my mind, bringing my concentration to my breath or a mantra, I understand that I am not my mind or my body. Rather there is more genuine and truer self beyond those things. I can then watch my emotions come and go, not attaching to them. As Aristotle put it, we must develop rational control over our desires and emotion to be more independent and virtuous. Bringing awareness to them and being able to sit with these desires allows one to then move from a calmer and more central place with a larger perspective on life and deeper connection to themselves.

As spirituality is a path to one’s essence, understanding of the self is crucial in this journey. For Kohut he believes that the primary psychic function is the development of the self. Through reflection of one’s past, they begin to get curious about why they are stressed by certain situations, why their body is always so tight in specific ares, and why they can’t let go of a certain conversation from a few months ago. Looking back at the experiences that shaped their lives or the environment one grew up in, one can understand the impact certain moments or relationships had on their psyche. As Kohut describes, many times the past is filled with traumas that severely injured the self and therefore in return caused anxiety, rage, or some construction of defenses. These create layers of stress in one’s self, as well as penetrating the unconscious, making the self become fragmented. While people have used extended meditations to access their unconscious mind and more fully integrate the body and mind continuum to be more cohesive and connected, it is very difficult to truly know what is our natural selves and what lies in our unconscious. Therefore guidance from a spiritual guru, psychologist, support group, or another trained expert provide ways, exercises, and services to heal the fragmented self .

In my own spiritual journey I have found that yoga and meditation have transformed my life. I have become more in tune with my body and more aware of what my mind is doing. I have found a deeper sense of myself, not just what things I do or what things I am supposedly good at, but an inner essence and spirit. This spirit has allowed me to feel connection to all that is in me and to all surrounds me. The deeper one travels spiritually inward, the more one feels invigorated by the Divine and linked to the spirit of the world. These practices have also helped me to relieve migraines, as the focus on the breath creates deep relaxation and the postures in yoga strengthen and invigorate my body. While spiritual practices have allowed me to bring awareness to certain areas of tension or emotional issues, I have found difficulty actually healing those specific places. It is because those traumatic experiences in the past lie not in the conscious realm but in my own unconscious. I have been lucky enough to work with various forms of psychiatrists, and was introduced to a personality profiling system called the Vibrancy Path that has created significant shifts in my unconscious and a move towards a coherent self.

In many ways Kohut’s self psychology aligns very nicely with this personality profiling system called the Vibrancy Path, developed by Jamie Champion (formerly called the ColorPrint, which is now going through huge changes as it transforms into a language that the outside world can better understand). While there are many paths to healing from psychiatry, biofeedback, acupuncture to reiki, the Vibrancy Path has been the most holistic and integrative system I have found during my nine-year search of migraine recovery. It ties in both eastern and western forms of philosophy, mind and body structures, and various forms of vibrational medicine. Its major goal, like Riker and Kohut’s, is to help people better understand their real selves so they can align with their natural gifts and live more authentic and inspired lives. To live with vitality, one must gain awareness of their real selves and tackle unconscious patterns from their past.

For one must work to knowing, understanding, and healing their own self, so that they develop into their truest selves and move into their highest potential. For Kohut, a “positive and strong self-concept is crucial in health and vitality of the ambitious pole of the self” (28). For the Vibrancy Path this is done by giving someone their vibrancy signature- a blue print of the energetic currents in their body, found from a pulse analysis and kinesiology test. This personality system uses colors to explain the energy currents in the body, as a kind of language just as psychology does. Thus each person has a unique set of colors resonating with their own personality traits and natural gifts. The five main aspects of ones signature are the environment, expression, intimacy, life force, and intention colors, which then allow one to more fully understand which environments feel the best to thrive in, what of their main talents should be expressed daily, how they deeply connect with the world, what is their main passion in life and what style works best to live their life in. In Kohut’s self psychology these traits would be found in situations where the self feels safe and “something about the activity directly connects to the self’s ideals and/or ambitions, the person will feel an increase in aliveness, buoyancy, and engagement” (34). People would feel this joyousness around a certain type of activity or in a specific environment, which brings them understanding of who their true self is, how it best flows through life with ease, toward a path lived through a vital, cohesive self.

These various parts of one’s personality that lie in their energetic body, manifest in the world and should be expressed at there fullest so they can best benefit themselves and the world.  Knowing one’s vibrancy signature allows them to connect with the reality of their talents and come to release fantasies of what they once thought they ought to be. Kohut would describe these gifts as idiosyncratic traits and abilities and describes how it is important for ones self-concept to transform from “a fantasy of greatness into a moral realistic understanding of ones specialness” (27). Understanding one’s strengths and what one can offer the world is one of the most important aspects in living a successful and vibrant life.

Both of these types of therapeutic psychology emphasize optimizing liveliness by creating a coherent self. To do so, both self-psychology and the Vibrancy Path work with one’s unconscious, where one has fragmented from some traumatic event in the past and trains it to recreate positive pathways. Both require someone to assist in this process as the unconscious “cannot be accessed by conscious introspection” (34). In Kohut’s practice he acts as the selfobject so his patients can have someone finally fulfill the self functions they have not been able to produce for themselves. In this way they feel a sense of safety, security, and increased well being, as Kohut believes the developmental process is very relational, and one’s self structure is woven in with the presence of others. For the Vibrancy Therapeutics, Jamie Champion taps into the unconscious through the patient’s energetic body. Different stressful events of the past have created negative thought patterns instilled in the energetic body and then have manifested in one’s physical body usually as some form of stress like pain or disease. By finding where certain energetic currents have been stuck by past traumas or stories, Jamie been trained to then be able to tell which colors and meridians have been affected, which ages the occurrence happened, what the issue was, and then move from there. Specific sounds and affirmations are attached to certain colors, and these are sang or said while holding the specific areas where the colors are localized in the body. Repeating affirmations and sounds, retrain one’s unconscious to work in a new positive pattern, help clear out the old issue, and relieve the stress it had once caused in one’s body. As these issues keep us in defensive modes, releasing them provides removal of stress and allows the individual to move through life with more ease and vivaciousness.

Finding peace with the past and reflecting on the reality of one’s life creates a new space for the person to move into. Acknowledging old traumas and working through them in some guided form of therapy, allows for the person to more fully understand how they developed in the environment they grew up in, what their true talents are, and have a deeper awareness of how they interact with others. As Kohut states “the zest in life comes from the particular human being asserting and enjoying her unique singularity” (31). In my own therapy with the Vibrancy Path, I have not only unblocked many centers of stress in my body but have also began to understand my true self in a way that yoga has not been able to show me. Over the past year layers of stress from emotional processing to issues with integration have been lifted, and I move more freely in life. Having Jamie explain my vibrancy signature as well as my inner energetic map, I have gained great insight on my natural talents and abilities that I can share with the world. Last year I was in lost state, as I was what Riker would called “split” and moving from external “oughts”. I was internally conflicted, compartmentalizing my life as I made bad decisions and lying to close companions without letting myself realize I was lying, letting my father’s wishes of being a doctor override my extreme stress and fulfillment of sciences, moving along in a new environment with friends that I did not genuinely connect with, and so on. Through my own spiritual commitment of practicing yoga and meditation, finding creative ways to connect to my spirit and the divine, working weekly with Jamie and the Vibrancy Path, eating healthy and gaining as much knowledge of myself, I now am a much more authentic self and radiant person. As I have gained more understanding of my self, I have much more love and respect for myself and others. Going through difficult experiences and various forms of healing, I now have a much broader empathy for those around me- accepting them for who they are and where they are currently at on their journey. My body is flooded with appreciation and light, so I not only laugh now with a light heart but also feel a great sense of love and energy every day.

Truth is what I seek. It is what has brought the most meaning to my life, and it is what will continue to do so. As I walk on my spiritual path and look back at the windy, bumpy road behind me I can see now how all those steps have led me to be a much more moral person. I can see other roads connecting and intercepting with my own, and that my road is singular but also interwoven into the network of the universe. I therefore not only have commitment to continue on a path to true self, but one to all in this infinite cosmos. This world is sacred and so are each of our souls. We must learn to love ourselves and those around us.

Block 3, 2011. Ethics

Advertisements

where i was born and where and how i lived is unimportant. it is what i have done with where I have been that should be of interest.              georgia o’keefe.

 

what you live by.

does this path have heart?

 

 

Next Newer Entries