Developing Spiritual Wisdom
Our relationship with spirituality is one of the most fundamental and important aspects of life. Spirituality is inherently linked to our worldview about life, and forms the basis of all our beliefs, ethics, and values. Understanding the nature of reality, answering the question'who am I?', gaining insight into our connection to the world around us, and questioning the meaning of life. Our answers to these questions form the basis of our experience: whether we consider life as supportive or challenging, how we view our purpose in life, and how we choose to behave in our relationships with other people and the natural world.
Along with many spiritually aligned people, I have always been a seeker of knowledge, and I love to explore the deeper meaning of life. Whilst studying for my degrees in philosophy, I have explored the fundamental nature of many aspects of life including the nature of mind, body and soul, consciousness , religion and spiritual experience. What I have found is that real spiritual awareness is a process of dissolving the beliefs, opinions and judgements of other people. It involves letting go of the false conditioning that has become part of our identity. This can come from many sources. Some are easily observable- the opinions of parents, partner, family, friends. Others are more difficult to identify. But then, there are also the assumptions that we do not even question.: The conditioning, rules, and beliefs, of our culture and society, and even of the world. These assumptions often include beliefs about things we may take for granted: mind, body, science, religion, medicine, to name but a few.
When we sit and consider how we have learnt most of what we know about life, we realise that most of what we take for granted has been learnt from other people. We follow a curriculum in school, at college or at university. We believe the things our parents have told us on face value. Many people do not even question the truth or validity of their own beliefs, thoughts, values, opinions or behaviours. They are simply accepted as truth.
Spiritual wisdom is a process of the dissolution of false beliefs. As we let go of the opinions we have taken as our own, as we learn to see them for what they are, and release the strong attachment to ego, we are more able to access our true spiritual nature. It is like peeling away layers which cover the light of who we are, only to reveal our true nature.
Once we release these layers, we become more able to appreciate life in each and every moment. We feel less stress and hardship, and are more able to align ourselves with the joy of life. Our health often improves as a result, as do relationships, our sense of self, and our alignment with the true and deeper meaning of life.
Wisdom and Awakening
- Stress, anxiety, and worrying about the negative aspects of life
- Confusion about your true nature and purpose in life
- Fear of other people, which stem from feelings of separateness
- Over-analysing past events in your life, at the detriment of your health
- Avoidance of negative emotions: grief, anxiety, shame, sadness
- Fear of death, and by association, a fear of life
- Ability to transcend false beliefs and the stress caused by them
- Feeling truly aligned with your spiritual purpose
- Embracing the connection between yourself and all of life
- Able to live fully in each moment, and to appreciate everything
- Deep understanding of emotions, thoughts and nature of mind
- Insight into the nature of consciousness and eternal self
Spiritual counselling can help you to:
Develop mutually respectful and supportive relationships
Learn how to value yourself so that you can fulfil your life purpose
Understand the nature of mind, thoughts and consciousness
Deepen your spiritual awareness through self-inquiry and mindfulness
Understand spiritual sensitivity, intuition and empathy
Release stress and increase your levels of emotional well-being
Understand spiritual enlightenment or awakening
Align with your highest spiritual values and actions toward others
The 4 Elements of Spiritual Enquiry
Our understanding of the nature of mind and body is one of the most important aspects of reaching our optimum health and well-being. In Western society, medicine is based on a model of mind-body dualism. Where mind and boy are seen as completely separate substances. But when you view the world through a spiritual, or non-dual, belief system then well-being takes on a completely different meaning.
Our personal identity is centred around the concept of ego; the 'I am' beliefs that we have about ourselves. It is the story of who we are, what we have experienced in the past, and how this may still be affecting us in our daily lives. Our identity is influenced by every experience we have encountered; good, bad or indifferent. Often it is invisible to us; it is the lens through which we view the world.
Beliefs are important to how we perceive the world. Whether we see it as something to be feared, an experience of deep learning, or as a source of joy. When all is well in our lives, we do not usually question our beliefs. But when things go wrong; when we are in despair, fear, regret or shame, then our beliefs are the first thing we need to explore in order to see through their truth or falsity.
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy which deals which the fundamental nature of things. So it explores questions like what it is to be human, or about the nature of emotions, consciousness, mind, health, pain, or spirituality. Metaphysics is important because it allows us to understand reality on the deepest of levels. The level upon which all other things in existence are based.
Spiritual and Philosophical Counselling
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy which explores the fundamental nature of things. So, it can be applied to anything in existence. Philosophy can be regarded by many people as being concerned with abstract concepts and deep thinking and can seem distant and removed from our everyday lives. But this view does not represent the true value of philosophy when it is applied to human suffering. By understanding the nature of trauma, emotions and the mind-body connection we can begin to understand on the deepest level possible all the factors which are contributing to our stress, thoughts and illness.
Here are some of the main areas which I have found helpful in moving beyond trauma and chronic illness:
Philosophy of mind and spirituality:
This includes understanding the fundamental nature of the mind, consciousness, the mind-body connection, personal identity, mental health and religion. Understanding the nature of mind is perhaps the most important aspect of life - it influences our experiences at the deepest level.
In Western society, the majority of our assumptions about wellness are based upon a Cartesian system of duality: where mind and body are viewed as separate substances. In this approach, materialism is the norm: the view that we are individual, biological beings, who perish at death.
This is the opposite of a spiritual perspective which is based upon non-duality, and the unification of consciousness. So, if we are on a spiritual path and seeking enlightenment, there is often a schism between the advice we are given from external sources, and our underlying spiritual goals. This tends to manifest as a feeling of being 'not quite clear' or feeling muddled about certain aspects of life. Spiritual seeking is also a symptom of this dichotomy: it is a result of the conflict between dualism and the understanding of the soul.
The way to move beyond this problem is to develop insight into the nature of who you really are. In spiritual terms, this involves developing an understanding of the nature of mind and consciousness, life, and well-being. It is a process of personal experience to discover the truth of who you are, in every area of your life, rather than simply accepting the opinions of others.
Illness, health and beliefs:
Our beliefs about health are often taken for granted to the extent that we never question them at all. Many different theories abound regarding how we should manage our health. But many of these originate from conflicting sources: psychological, sociological, theological, spiritual, biological, to name but a few. Until we examine the source of our beliefs about health and illness, and become clear about the nature of our worldview, we cannot really fully grasp the implications of life upon our health. True well-being lies beyond theoretical concepts. It is a process of dissolving the incorrect beliefs that we have learnt throughout life, and re-establishing a connection to our source, and our true nature. The stronger this connection to our soul becomes, the less stress we experience, and the better our life becomes.