My Most Unpopular Psychological Idea, Yet Crucial

Excerpt from Chapter 1 - Overview

There is one psychological truth that I have been following for the past twenty-plus years that I consider crucial to the avoidance of long spirituality detours. This personal truth is my belief that "whatever bothers me, disturbs me, irritates me, or causes me fear in any way, shape or form is clear evidence of my own psychological or spiritual garbage." If you do something or say something that upsets me, then I have psychological and/or spiritual work to do.

Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss. Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882
If you make me upset, it might or might not be beneficial for you to do some psychological work. But that has no bearing on the truth that I have work to do if I ever become bothered or upset. This belief in upsets = necessary-work-for-me has never failed me in more than twenty years of following this path. I have always found ways that I was blocking or avoiding some unwanted truth/feeling whenever I dared look carefully at such upsets. I'll discuss this much more in Chapter 8.

This idea of upsets = work-to-do is stated in another way by Byron Katie as "loving what is." If I am loving what is, then I am not bothered, I am neither upset nor angry, and I have no fear. This is very challenging. Byron Katie's recommended method to accomplish this she calls "The Work," which involves a cognitive method similar to cognitive styles of psychotherapy where you change your thinking so that you can love and accept what is.

In my considerable experience with cognitive styles of psychotherapy, I have not found them to be completely successful in reaching the goal of always loving what is. I believe that ultimately one's childhood traumas and perhaps a few past life traumas may also need to be worked through. But that evidently is OK with Byron Katie; for in her book, Loving What Is, she takes a close look at the childhood feelings associated with one person's childhood incest (Katie, 2002, p. 249). Personally, I have more often followed paths that are primal-therapy-oriented rather than cognitive-therapy-oriented, because I believe they are more complete. But primal therapy is abhorrent to many reading this book. If it is repellent to you, then I suggest Byron Katie.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze

 

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Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "For the wide variety of psychological symptoms, however, a general understanding by clients is commonly lacking about underlying roots. The roots of most symptoms have much in common with each other, though the symptoms themselves may be very different."