Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Interior spiritual life class for UUs
This week we will be considering what an interior spiritual life might consist of and what models there are for the development of spiritual lives.
There is a field of spiritual direction which offers guidance to people seeking assistance in further developing their spiritual life. I am not a spiritual director and I am hoping that if there are UUs who practice this discipline they might share with us their methodologies, intentions, and services they provide.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Work Psychotherapist and I often find myself discussing my client's spiritual life with them. I am drawn to the field of mental health and substance abuse counseling because of a spiritual desire to be of service to other people in their lives. I firmly believe that people in recovery are greatly assisted, as is anyone, in developing a rich interior spiritual life. John Bradshaw, a substance abuse counselor, who became famous back in the 80s when he lectured and wrote several books on recovery especially as it involves one's experience of one's family life. John Bradshaw described a recovering addict's spiritual hunger and emptiness as the "hole in the soul."
John Bradshaw said this in an interview published on Healthy.net back in 1995:
I'm also troubled that there is not more stress on the etiology of addiction. While I believe that I may have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, it's also true that you have to learn to be an alcoholic or an addict, and you learn through the ideology of abuse, through abandonment, neglect and enmeshment. You get this emptiness, a hole in your soul, and you've got to keep filling it up. You numb out emotionally, so the only way you can mood alter is with your addiction. I would like to see a lot more emphasis on that.
I'd also like to see somebody come along and start talking about soul, restoring the soul of our culture, because I think we've lost our soul in a lot of ways. I'm more of the prophetic voice, which is easier than being the practical one, who knows how to put that into action. But I guess you need prophets, or at least prophetic voices.
The model for an interior spiritual life which I am developing revolves around two main ideas:
How well do I know myself?
What makes me tick? What are my motivations, intentions, desires which fuel my behavior, my thinking, my emotional awareness?
In other words:
Who do you think you are?
What do you think you are doing?
Your first assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to write a brief essay of 500 words answering those two questions. If you could boil them down and add some comments on the blog or send your essay to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd love to read it and I will respond to you personally.