Linda said she believed in deprivation. She complained of feeling anxious much of the time. She told me her doctor told her she was suffering from "generalized anxiety disorder" and prescribed Klonapin for her which used to make her feel better and then didn't so she increased the dose and now it doesn't seem to work at all.
When we talked more she told me she grew up worrying about money, and her parents, and was fearful that there would never be enough and it was only a matter of time before some bad thing happened. As we talked she said she could see how the fear of deprivation had contributed to her thinking that sacrifice was love and it made her feel better to do things for other people to the point that people laughed at her and told her that she should remember that "nice gals finish last." Linda said with tears that she usually felt as if she was last or would become last in any given situation.
The doctor diagnosed Linda's problem as a medical problem, and a psychotherapist might diagnose her problem as psychiatric, and I wondered with Linda if it was spiritual.
Linda asked what do you mean, spiritual?
I said, "Thinking that you are a body and meeting its needs has made you fearful of so many things and situations in life that it is robbing you of your peace and contentment. You are not your body but a divine spark that is loved by the universe. It says in A Course In Miracles, 'As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived.' It says a bit further 'Deprivation breeds attack, being the belief that attack is justified. And as long as you would retain the deprivation, attack becomes salvation and sacrifice becomes love.'"
"Does that mean," asked Linda, "that to be happy and at peace I have to give up my preoccupation with my body and focus my energies on fulfilling myself in other ways?"
"Yes," I said, "and our UU faith can help you do that if you pursue the mission of living and extending the seven principles. These principles are rich and deep and their implementation and operation in our lives brings great peace and happiness. Pick one and work on it for a week or as long as you want and then move on to one of the other principles.My favorites are the first, the third, the fourth and the seventh."
Linda laughed and said, "That's about all of them."
I laughed too and said, "Yeah, it's hard for me to choose. Start with the first and see where that takes you."