Over a dozen core truths help to define the path we would take together. I offer them here for your consideration.
Divine Intelligence, known in the ancient traditions and in the spiritual practices of our own time by many different names, is the source of all energy, matter and form in the Universe. All things, living and nonliving, are moved, organized and sustained by its innate qualities. We can personally experience the functioning of this Primary Principle in many ways…the foremost of which is called Love.
2. Divine Presence Surrounds Us and Fills Us.
Each body/mind incorporates a component of the Infinite Eternal, which we may call spirit, personal soul, or higher self. A good way to experience this aspect of Soul within is to focus the mind on the felt sense inside the body. This involves an experience of spaciousness within the body, with subtle sensations of flow, solidity, warmth, and vibration.
3. Life Involves Destiny.
Each personal soul that agrees to enter into life on Earth accepts a Destiny in the time leading to birth. The course provided by Destiny persists throughout life as a complex, open, living template, subject to the operation of Choice. No matter how far our circumstances may drive us from the centerline of our Destiny, it is always there to be rediscovered. It is possible to learn the specifics of our personal Destinies.
4. We Become Estranged from Ourselves.
The conditions that most of us are born into starkly contrast what Nature intends to provide for us. The common, unintended mistreatment and deprivation around the time of birth and through the early years usually results in a lasting interference with the functioning of our life energy. As we grow, we spontaneously strive to adjust to our early impairment and develop layer upon layer of compensation. Our initial straightforward, resilient way of being gets encased within a fixed pattern of thought, feeling and action. A complicated structure that we know as our personality surrounds our true nature, much as a hard, mechanical suit of armor covered the soft, organic entity within.
5. We Can Restore Ourselves.
Our original nature and purpose can be obscured and forgotten, but never lost or destroyed. The human organism has enormous capacities of restoration. In fact, self healing is one of the basic attributes of life itself. However, early life experience is often so disruptive that life’s self healing capacities get overwhelmed. It then takes skilled and dedicated help to engage one’s innate healing capacities in effective actions.
6. Healing Takes Place in Relationship.
The healing that takes place in the presence of someone else is greatly influenced by the nature of the relationship between the two people. The most important aspect of their relationship, when one of them is serving as guide, is that he be fully present. That means that he responds with spontaneity, relates as an equal, functions through a warm heart, manifests his affection, and enjoys the experience. These are high standards, but if they are not met the process will not get very far. Furthermore, the final completion of wounds received in childhood only takes place when one allows oneself to be vulnerable in an intimate relationship…and when one’s partner allows the same. A guide for the pair’s process can be of great help in this.
7. Healing Takes Place In Community.
All ancient healing practices involved the understanding that if a person is sick, his village or clan is sick, and that the personal illness and the social illness both need to be addressed. Today, the failure to involve others besides the patient in his healing is often an obstacle to full recovery. In their work, some artists pursue a communal dimension of healing that most of our doctors have forgotten.
8. It Takes More Than One.
Sometimes a single healing relationship can support the restoration of life to an extent that is sufficient. But more often the course of the healing that is needed is long and varied, involving a number of guides over time. This is because we are so complex and have received injuries on so many levels.
9. We Need Balance.
There is an obvious need to seek balance between the many contrasting dualities within our lives, for example, between contemplation and action, seriousness and playfulness, and feminine and masculine. There is also a need to find balance among the four basic qualities of life itself. These four “essences” have to do with Body, Emotion, Thought, and Spirit. As “elements” they are referred to respectively as Earth, Water, Air and Fire. The interplay between our four essences or elements determines a fifth, known as Personality and as Nature (or Wood.) Overinvestment in, or inattention to, one of the four essences results in an imbalance in the personality, and thus in the whole of one’s life. Those who seek healing usually need guidance in monitoring and resolving imbalances in their four vital energies.
10. Mind And Body Are One.
A disturbance in the functioning of the Primary Force within the organism is manifested in parallel ways in the Psyche (the Mind and Spirit elements) and Soma (the Body and Emotion elements.) Knowing this, one can often see more rapid healing by approaching the bodily dimension with the mind, through psychosomatic medicine, and the mental dimension with the body, through body psychotherapy.
11. The Soul Can Be Injured.
Another aspect of traditional healing practices is the recognition that when the injury to the body-mind is severe, the immaterial Soul is also injured. Many traditional methods are organized around ways of tending to the fragmentation of the soul. Here, too, most of our doctors have forgotten something important. In our culture, this dimension of healing is usually entrusted to those in pastoral roles.
12. Boundaries Must Be Honored.
All living things consist of energy and fluid pulsating within a boundary. For example, a cell has a membrane, and a body has a skin. Nonmaterial boundaries are just as important. The egg-shaped boundary of one’s bioenergy field (at arm’s length) is the basis for one’s sense of personal space. Boundaries maintained in one’s awareness keeps one from absorbing the emotions of others. Boundaries in one’s behavior are important for smooth social functioning. Very often, one who is seeking healing has had early life experiences that caused problems recognizing, maintaining, and repairing his natural boundaries. He will need guidance in perception and practice around his boundary difficulties.
13. Emotion Is Vital.
Emotion evolved as mammalian life developed because of its survival value: caring unifies the actions of a group; anger alerts us to violations of our space and our rights; grief initiates the process of detaching after loss. Though most emotions are negative in quality, they are positive in function, since they identify threats to our well being and point the way towards corrective action. Our culture forgets how well emotion serves us. We flee from depression, often with medication. We suppress sorrow. We dump anger on others. We tolerate forms of entertainment and advertising that exploit and wear out our emotional circuits. A course of healing usually includes efforts directed at handling emotions meaningfully and effectively, which includes learning to decode their messages, to chose means of expressing them that are both effective and respectful, and to incorporate them in the intelligent choice of a course of action
14. Emotion is Complex.
The evolving human species developed several “affects,” specific composites of impulse, sensation, facial expression and muscle tone that had survival value because of their ability of focus attention on the most relevant aspect of each moment’s experience. For example, the taste of food gone bad quickly elicits the affect “disgust” and the sight of a predator nearby elicits “fear/terror” and “distress/anguish.” These affects help to initiate the right responses. The highly aversive affect known as “shame” functions to signal that there’s been an interruption of one of the positive affects. It becomes the most problematic of our affects because as one’s life proceeds there develops around it a library of associated meanings, memories, emotions, and patterned behaviors, that frequently bring one back into the affect. Critical to learning to master emotion is understanding the interplay between the biologically mandated affects (especially shame) the feelings and beliefs of the life scripts that get attached to the affects, and the problematic means we tend to use automatically to escape the highly negative state of shame affect.
15. Humanity is Traumatized.
The Greek work from which our word “trauma” derives was understood to mean both the wound to the body made by the piercing weapon, and the accompanying wound to the soul. We have learned a great deal about how traumatization is manifest as an alteration in the Autonomic Nervous System, which carries responsibility for survival in the face of threat. In traumatization, visceral threat responses that are programmed into that system (such as sending blood into the limbs) do not shut off when no longer needed, because the time and circumstances required to properly tune them down are not available.
16. There is Still Time.
It is not too late to reverse the malignant processes that are degrading our planet and our societies. However, if we are to avoid self destruction we have immediately and radically to change many of our practices. Furthermore, each of us needs to expand the familiar aphorism, so that it reads: “Think globally, act locally, focus personally,” since restoring the health of the planet is linked to our restoring our individual selves. One’s personal healing is the opposite of a selfish endeavor. It is a gift to all, since the The Energy of Life connects every one of us to our pulsating blue sphere.