Treating Spiritual Disorders

An Introduction



What should we make of the saying " we are broken vessels of light" ? I believe that it is not forever true that we are "broken". At times it does seem so. While we are capable of experiencing the light of life, creation's offering of life as a gift and blessing, we are also beset with frustrations, disappointments, inadequacies, even misery and agony. Is life a continuum within which we live? On this continuum with enough dedication, discipline, love and effort we can ameliorate the disorderly and problematical realities? In the midst of difficulty move towards harmonious beingness? We may see this vision of light as a river of life within which to bathe and swim.

In this vision we see the river from afar, as from a high place, or perhaps through an upper window. In order to journey to it we must first take it into our hearts and lives. Keeping it within us we then leave the viewing of serenity for the journey through darkness towards the waters of comfort. Through the journey the vision within sustains us.

This model has been useful through the millennia. It appears to be clearly validated. It seems that we do live in seas of disrelationship; with terrorism, wars, famine occurring throughout the world as well as with personal and social tension, strife and sadness. In order to avoid being sucked into all of these despairing realities we must work hard. We must do well at home and on the job. We must raise our children properly, sustain family and friendships, teach and live by high standards of ethics and morals. The tasks are arduous and never ending. With persistence and patience the rewards are great. We may realize a happy home life, times of contentment, even prosperity. We may find ourselves in communion with loved ones and with our loving source of being: creation and beyond.

The hazards of life never leave us. With diligence they do not overcome us. We work with them and even if we are at times overwhelmed, we find the light within us and move towards the recovery of spiritual awareness and grace. Our spiritual practices assist us greatly in these endeavors. Not knowing how and why it is we live in the midst of such instability we nevertheless continue on with our goals, those being the moving towards the light of life, the waters of comfort, peace and harmony through love and faith.

Treating Spiritual Disorders is an approach which offers something in addition. Let us presume that as vessels of light we are not broken. Neither must we journey from the vision to find the waters of comfort. These metaphors are useful in helping us to find ways of increasing our sense of well being. It is not important that we know these truths. It is important that we allow for the likelihood that in our explorations of life we will find our wholeness, discarding that brokenness. Further, we must know that we are not immune from brokenness. Brokenness is a transient, not a fixed state. If we live as if it were fixed and immutable, we become less able to negotiate the journey towards and into recovery.

A spiritual disorder is any state that obscures or distorts our awareness of spiritual beingness. Like our persona, personality, intelligence, emotions, relational involvement, we are spiritual in nature. We do not see our intelligence but do see aspects of its manifestation. The spirituality within which each of us lives manifests as a result of and is a nourishment of our own being. Through living our spirituality without conflict, others are nourished by it as well. In contradistinction to physical, psychological and social presence, spirit is absence. All that which is, within our being is nourished by this spiritual effect; a light connecting the temporal and eternal.

Treating spiritual disorders occurs through many approaches to caring, loving and living: meditation, prayer, contemplation, good deeds to name a few. Loving one's own being as a gift of life helps greatly. The fifteen approaches to contemplative meditation form the basis of a discipline. It is not an exclusive approach nor does it presume a religious or secular orientation.

The etchings are helpful guides which will serve to prepare you for your contemplation. With each approach empty your mind as you look upon them. The symbols associated with each of the approaches have no explicit meaning. They may be useful as something about which to wonder.

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