What is Spiritual Psychology, and what’s it got to do with your health?

A brief backstory

The first 22 years of my life were pretty ordinary by millennial standards. All sorts of life pursuits in sports and academics, accompanied by a fairly superficial social network. Despite 1,000+ Facebook friends, I felt a bit alone and disconnected. I was living a goal oriented life, just trying to figure out the best way to be successful in the world. I at least desired to appear successful on the outside. That’s all that seemed to matter. For if others saw me as a success, I would be able to recognize that I was in fact successful - at least I thought. 

After college and a year working abroad, I was invited to attend a workshop in Santa Monica, an introduction into Spiritual Psychology. I quickly learned that the term Spiritual Psychology was actually redundant, as Psychology is historically defined as the study of the psyche, the soul. This school hosting the workshop, The University of Santa Monica, was effectively revitalizing classical psychology - soul study - by offering experiential education the invited participants to go within, navigating the dimensions of the self beyond the physical, into realms of the mind, emotions, and of course, spirit.

Through inner inquiry and sharing my findings, I realized my life was very much “goal-line” oriented with little awareness or attention to anything beyond physical world results. I saw how I was living my life from what I call an “outside-in approach.” I was working to do anything and everything to change my outer world, in hopes that my inner world would follow suit. It seemed rational to make everything outside look beautiful and perfectly ordered as a means to feel successful, happy, and most importantly worthy and loved. This “outside-in” mentality was indeed exactly how I observed others operating in the world, and it is the way most humans are born and raised - praised for their positive actions and punished for any “wrongdoings.”

Put another way, my life seemed to be happening to me. I was the victim of my reality.  

I discovered there was a radically different approach to life, what I called the “inside-out approach.” Through this method, my focus would simply remain on “self-realization” or understanding and experiencing the full extent of my authentic, divine, nature. I couldn’t nor needn’t rely on outside validation or feedback to tell me who I was, or what I was worth. By developing a close and sacred relationship with my authentic, “higher” self, I was able to experience a clear and profound spiritual law; outer experiences are a reflection of inner reality. With that experiential knowing, my life was forever changed. 

In other words, as opposed to being a victim of reality, I stepped into a new role, a conscious co-creator of my destiny.

Once I tasted the sweet sense of empowerment that comes with experiencing the power of manifestation, I needed more. I wanted to understand how to master this art, and that is what I chose to do. I continued on to completed a Master’s program in Spiritual Psychology where I anchored in much of what I know as fundamental principles of living.

Spiritual Psychology in Health

Since connecting with Spiritual Psychology, the basic philosophy and principles seem to make their way into absolutely every aspect of my life. Fast forward several years and these principles have now been finely woven into the tapestry of clinical medicine.

With regard to health, another spiritual principle often surfaces - we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience. As such, this human experience is actually a tool, a means to grow, evolve, learn, and heal. Therefore, each and every experience in this life - from all the glorious celebrations to all of the tremendous grievances, are actually healing and growth opportunities. In that case, then so too are each and every physical symptom or dis-ease. Put another way, within each physical ailment lies a spiritual growth opportunity.

Sometimes this notion is very challenging to grasp, especially in the midst of physical pain or suffering. Nevertheless, if we can work to maintain a spiritual perspective, that is lift ourselves up and beyond the purely physical view of our pain and suffering, we may open so many doors and possibilities. We may find hidden gifts or opportunities. We may find a deepened state of peace and wholeness. And often paradoxically, through connecting with a spiritual perspective we may also free ourselves from the physical pain and suffering all together.

More than angels and prayers

When it comes to the spiritual nature of ourselves and the healing that is possible, it is hard to pinpoint what is at work here. We can call healing a miracle, or we can say it is the work of prayers and angels. The truth is, we don’t really need to call it anything. The way I see it is once we get out of our own way we create space for the divine to work. Once we let down judgements, expectations, and attachments to how things ought to be, we give ourselves permission to heal on a more complete and holistic level.

What's as important as angels and prayers is a responsible mindset. When it comes to health and wellbeing, each one of us holds a divine responsibility. As powerful co-creators of life, we humans must know the consequences of each and every action. We must exercise our freedom of choice wisely, as to care for our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies with the highest expression of love and compassion. When we recognize our innate power in this way, we truly step forward in life to embody the presence of our own healer. We take action with love, and most importantly we surrender our will to divine will.

The fine line of surrender

Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up. Surrendering means letting go. In letting go, we open ourselves to receive. We are open to receive awareness and insights consciously, as well as grace and healing subconsciously. But surrendering doesn’t need to be a fully passive experience. We can, and should, continue to take inspired action in all ways possible to support the physical, mental, and emotional bodies. Surrendering is a spiritual practice, not a physical practice.  Angels work and prayers are answered where there is inspired action on the physical level. Inspired action is feeding the body intuitively with healing foods, moving the body gently and lovingly, and connecting with the love and support of community.

Regardless of the physical condition, there is always a spiritual opportunity. A simply head cold could bring the profound insight to consider where we are investing mental energy. A cancer diagnosis may awaken us to how we can transform a relationship with oneself or another. Even a twisted ankle or stubbed toe could be the action of an unknown angel. There is no harm in shifting into a spiritual perspective, but there most certainly will be some good. At the very least there will be deepened experience of peace, clarity, and love. Under ideal spiritual circumstances there may even be a profound and radical physical healing.

In Summary…
There is much more to holistic health than food, exercise, vitamins, and supplements. Acknowledging the mind, emotions, and spirit can be a powerful place to leverage your health and and wellbeing. Cultivating a spiritual perspective can provide a vantage point to see the big picture, viewing each human experience as divine opportunity. Achieving this outlook offers a sense of peace, love, and gratitude that will always fortify health and wellbeing on every level. Refining this perspective is process that is unique for each and every one of us. Receiving guidance and support from outside professionals in the realm of spiritual psychology can be a powerful and effective means to transform health holistically.

Blessings of Health,
Dr. Benjamin

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