“Ipagpasa-Diyos mo na lang yan (Just leave everything up to God)”.
This is a commonly held belief amongst Filipinos. It is deeply embedded in the Filipino culture and psyche which can be traced back to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The psycho-spiritual and holistic approach to healing is my preference. We need to work through our psychological wounds, emotional and mental issues that are causing a breakdown of our spirit. And we need to face them squarely and boldly. We cannot just leave everything to God and pass on the responsibility of our healing to God. We cannot run away from our issues and our wounds or pray them away.
One thinking that’s blocking our ability to forgive is the belief that by some force of magic or sheer miracle, without doing anything except pray, we will automatically forgive. This is magical thinking. Through blind faith, we think and we believe that for as long as we pray, things will all just work out.
Well, God helps those who help themselves, remember? So, we need to do our work in order for things to work out. Otherwise, no matter how much we pray, how often, or even how many people we ask to pray for us and pray with us, things and our prayers are just not going to work out.
Don’t get me wrong. I do believe in the power of prayer. Totally. Absolutely. With or without scientific validation — and that is a whole separate post altogether (or series of posts).
But we cannot put a spiritual band-aid on a psychological wound.
There are various techniques and tools that we can employ to assist us in our healing and forgiveness process. We can use them in addition to prayer. They complement each other.
These tools include guided imagery, visualization or meditation, talk therapy, counseling, art therapy, empty chair technique, journaling, and bodywork (You’ll be surprised how much of our emotions are lodged deep into every cell of our body).
When all we do is pray and not use the appropriate psychological tools to address our emotional or mental issues and wounds, we end up in the pitfall of spiritual bypassing.
“Spiritual bypassing, a term first coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984, is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs. It is much more common than we might think and, in fact, is so pervasive as to go largely unnoticed, except in its more obvious extremes.
“Part of the reason for this is that we tend not to have very much tolerance, either personally or collectively, for facing, entering, and working through our pain, strongly preferring pain-numbing “solutions,” regardless of how much suffering such “remedies” may catalyze. Because this preference has so deeply and thoroughly infiltrated our culture that it has become all but normalized, spiritual bypassing fits almost seamlessly into our collective habit of turning away from what is painful, as a kind of higher analgesic with seemingly minimal side effects. It is a spiritualized strategy not only for avoiding pain but also for legitimizing such avoidance, in ways ranging from the blatantly obvious to the extremely subtle.
“Spiritual bypassing is a very persistent shadow of spirituality, manifesting in many forms, often without being acknowledged as such. Aspects of spiritual bypassing include exaggerated detachment, emotional numbing and repression, overemphasis on the positive, anger-phobia, blind or overly tolerant compassion, weak or too porous boundaries, lopsided development (cognitive intelligence often being far ahead of emotional and moral intelligence), debilitating judgment about one’s negativity or shadow side, devaluation of the personal relative to the spiritual, and delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being.” (from Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters by Robert Augustus Masters). For the rest of the excerpt, click here.
Today: I will reflect on ways that I can heal myself and work through forgiveness through the use of complementary techniques.
To be continued
64 Ways in 64 Days Nonviolence Daily Reflections Day 29 – Feb. 27, 2012
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