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Suffering and spirituality 2

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Nielk, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Thanks Kurt, for the video. It's always a good time to hear the Beatles.

    I have had 2 NDE's in my life. Neither one was spectacular, like some of the ones I've read about. But that's probably because I was not completely dead, just temporarily knocked out. I left my body in each and floated above myself, and had to decide whether I should live or die. Both times I (obviously) chose to live... though sometimes during my worst CFS crashes, I wondered if that was the right decision. :confused:

    What had a more profound effect on me was a hypnosis trance session I did during my MA program, to get a firsthand experience of how hypnosis worked, and how to use hypnosis with others. As it turned out, I went into a deep 2 hour long trance, during which my body shook uncontrollably for about 40 minutes, and during which I entered what I can only describe as a very deep waking dream. The images are very special to me, so I don't feel comfortable posting about them on a public forum. But suffice it to say, I had an experience of a very archetypal nature, during which things regarding my spirit self and its connection to universal energy were confirmed for me. The woman who led me through this was quite stunned. She said she had never seen anyone go into as deep a trance as I had. It was apparently a talent I didn't know I had. :rolleyes::Retro smile::Retro smile:

    I had a few other hypnosis sessions, later on down the road, to see if I could tap into the same kind of experience. These also gave me some valuable insights, in the same way my dreams often do, but I never went quite as deep as that first time... probably because I didn't need to. Our psyche knows better than we think it does.
     
  2. allyann

    allyann Senior Member

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    Original questions....

    Hi everyone, I have been following both threads but it has taken me a couple of days to write up a reply....

    Do you feel that suffering has made you a more spiritual person?

    I was brought up in the Anglican Christian Church and chose later to be baptised in the Church of Christ at 15. I have always communicated with God and Jesus as well as members of my family who have passed over.

    I have however, never felt a strong tie to the church. I unfortunately have had more contact with Churches that preach their own prejudices rather than accepting their flock unconditionally. For that reason I left the church at 19 and made my own way forward.

    My real spiritual growth started out from suffering, from depression however, not the ME/CFS kind, after the breakup of my first relationship/marriage of 17 years. Overnight my whole life changed and for the first time I was forced to make my own decisions and choose my own destiny. I guess I was going through a stage they have now coined "30 something-itis". I had a successful IT career, was living the high life, but had no connection with why I was on this planet. I really felt the need to identify who I was and where I was going.

    I started investigating the world of spiritualism with a course in scrying (crystal ball reading) of which I was surprisingly accurate. I have since developed tarot and psychometry (reading jewellery and other objects). I have found that I can give people messages, most often they mean nothing to me, but have significant meaning for the person it is intended for. I also undertook a crystal healing course and became a lomi lomi massage practitioner. Lomi lomi is a Hawaiian spiritual form of massage.

    Have you become more sensitive to other people's pain?

    I have always been super sensitive to other people's pain and emotions. I could be in a room where everyone was happy and would be really happy or the opposite when someone is negative or aggressive.

    I would probably say I am less sensitive now that brain fog and my own pain stops me from interacting with the rest of the world. I am also much more interested in healing myself and less on healing others around me. It might be selfish I know, but necessary, as I get extremely drained by listening to others problems and negativity.

    Did your view on life change?

    I would say that I am a better person for having ME/CFS. I really believed I let too much of my life pass me by in the strive for corporate advancement and acceptance. I never thought I could be a stay at home mum as I needed that challenge/fix to get through the day.

    The biggest thing would be that I realise life is less about me and more about the overall picture. I guess there is something to slowing down and smelling the roses. I just never expected God to put the brakes on quite so hard LOL.

    Have your priorities in life changed?

    Hell yeah! Now I am much more happier with the simpler things in life like family, friends, getting back to nature and a living as chemical free and as sustainable as possible. I get much more pleasure out of a simple telephone conversation or watching a friends child play than I ever did before.
     
  3. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins PJ Princess

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    Allyann, what a great post. Thanks for taking the time to write it, and for sharing such an intimate part of yourself.
     
  4. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Hi allyann--

    Thanks for your great post. Good to meet you!

    I am also very sensitive to others emotions, and have been this way since I was a kid. I can read others feelings and feel them in my own body. I also seem to "know" when others (who I am close to) are thinking about me. I will call them on the phone, and they will inevitably confirm this, or even tell me they were just looking up my number or picking up the phone to call me. It happens often. Having CFS hasn't changed my level of sensitivity. What has changed is that I am more inclined to second guess my feelings and mistrust them, due to the brain fog.

    I still volunteer to help others with their problems, though less so. I now only do this if I feel I have the energy to give, and can offer my help cheerfully. It feels good to be helpful and useful to others, but not at my own expense. I have had a few people in my past who got used to my counseling and support, at times even demanding of it, and then resented me for pulling that support back. I am glad they are gone from my life now. I don't feel that it is a selfish thing to take care of oneself. It is actually the responsible and very necessary thing.


    \

    Me too. Being in nature is one of the most healing things in my life.
     
  5. alice1

    alice1 Senior Member

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    Ember thanks for posting that.Humour is another big one on my list!
     
  6. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Allyann and dreambirdie,

    Very fascinated by the super sense that you both describe you have as far as "reading" other people. It is obviously a great gift. It also makes sense that when yo are feeling sick, you have to step back from it. Just like the instructions they give us on planes. In case of emergency and the oxygen masks drop, first put on your own and then hel others like children. Even though, I'm sure for mothers. their instinct would be to first help their child, what good would they be, if they loose consciousness from lack of their own oxygen. We have to take care of ourselves first and it's not a selfish thing to do. It's basic survival. If we don't, we suffer and in turn the people we care about suffer too.
     
  7. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Hi Nielk--

    I think women are especially vulnerable to this belief that "others comes first." We often have a hard time saying NO, and it usually takes getting burnt out on other's needs before we realize the importance of our own, and make them the first priority. Ultimately, if you don't take care of yourself, you will have nothing but exhaustion to offer those you love.

    Loving unconditionally is not the same thing as giving indiscriminately. I don't even think they are remotely related. This has been a big lesson for me to learn.
     
  8. Nielk

    Nielk

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    How great is this truth and what a hard lesson to learn. Especially for people who are used to always give.
    I should make a big sign of this and put it up on my bedroom wall, so that when I am bed bound like I have been a lot lately, it will lessen the guilt that I feel.

    Thank you, Dreambirdie.
     
  9. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    The idea of ONENESS is emphasized in spiritual circles, but what about UNIQUENESS?

    I think that's what appealed to me most about Jung's work, which stresses the importance of individuation--becoming ones Self, distinct from all others, and which is considered the Great Work of the Soul in each incarnation. It is true that we are all one on a spirit level, one point of light within the unified field. AND it's also true that we are someone with a uniqueness all our own. No one shares the same fingerprint, no one has exactly the same DNA. Bringing to consciousness who we are, expressing and manifesting that is the work of individuation. This is not about ego. If we truly individuate, that enriches who we are, deepens us, develops any talents that we have, and by extension serves to refine the conditions around us. So in that regard Jung would consider it an ethical requirement, in that it makes it possible for us to be our best selves, and to have a more fulfilling life.

    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."
    CG Jung, "Memories, Dreams, Reflections", 1962
     
  10. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    I think the Beatles' All You Need Is Love means something different from Donovan's Love Is Only Feeling.

    I asked, Is compassion about 'contriving feelings?' Here's a discussion between the Dalai Lama and Rev. Mpho Tutu (Desmond Tutu's daughter) on the subject from First day of the Vancouver Peace Summit full of laughter, posted by the Dalai Lama Center-September 29, 2009 (http://dalailamacenter.org/blog-post/first-day-vancouver-peace-summit-full-laughter).

    The discussion revolved around the idea that compassion takes a lot of hard work. His Holiness said, 'Many people think that compassion is passive. Compassion is action.' Rev Mpho Tutu had similar thoughts on the idea of love. She said, 'Love is not what we feel. Its what we do. Its what we do that matters infinitely.'

    As I understand it, Buddhists are working with intention, not feeling, when they send loving kindness. Because compassion doesn't mean condoning actions, it requires discernment. Unconditional love is counter-intuitive, assertive and consistent with joy. And though neither forgiveness nor passive resistance prevents violence, both are fine peace practices.
     
  11. allyann

    allyann Senior Member

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    I totally agree. It took total burnout for me to realise that fact...
     
  12. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    You may like this quotation from The Peace Summit Experience by Dan Haves: "When you look at the root of the word compassion, said Nobel Laureate Mairead MacGuire, it is 'Com patte, which means to suffer with, or being prepared to suffer with.'

    Not a passive way of living at all. As any Buddhist would agree, this path of compassion requires work and practice and ultimately the deep belief in our humanity, that every life is sacred and that we are willing to do everything we can to safeguard that belief. (http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/dalailama/default.aspx)
     
  13. allyann

    allyann Senior Member

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    I like your definition of compassion. Some of the greatest acts of love can be compassionate but still rebuke any wrong doing on the part of the sufferer. I guess that is interpreted by the suffer not seeing it as a judgement but an act of kindness.

    I also get your distinction between intention and feeling. That implies a thought out approach rather than an emotional one.

    Great points!
     
  14. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    Can't we have both? In fact, I think it is imperative in a soul's journey and development to both individuate and conjoin. It is the achievements of individuals that often allow the human race to evolve. One Edison, Einstein or Luther can change the course of history. Yet these great individuals also joyed in humanity and loved people, and worked to enable humanity to progress.

    Maybe this is our dual nature, just like photons of light act both as particles and waves, we exist both individually and collectively and perhaps can further develop both aspects of our being at the same time.
     
  15. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    Our dual nature...or our nondual nature. (I think we're talking about the same thing.)

    In Christianity, the nondual is expressed in statements like I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Religions are full of nondual statements.

    In No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth, Ken Wilber (a fellow patient) places Jung in the transpersonal band of therapies. No Boundary is an early Wilber work.

    Here's Ken Wilber discussing contemplative practice and the true self in 2007: "Spiritual, But Not Religious? (with Father Thomas Keating)" www.youtube.com/watch?v=04gdsFt_zDY
     
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  16. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I don't agree that it's "imperative... to both individuate and conjoin." Each person's path is a unique one, and that's the point of individuation, to find YOUR OWN TRUE PATH, your own way of being in this reality, as well as your own way of connecting to spirit.

    Some people are clearly a lot more extraverted than others. They thrive from being actively involved in events out in the world, and are much more socially inclined. Whether that means that they will have an easier time conjoining with others on a spiritual level is questionable though, because extraverts are generally very easily bored with introspection, and would rather be DOING than BEING. They tend to have a lot of friends, but don't tend to develop intimate relationships very easily, mainly because they are seldom just "too busy" for that. They may have a deep unspoken loyalty and love for their intimates, but because they are not good at (or don't have time for) expressing it, that can lead to some turmoil in their close relationships.

    Introverts are much more comfortable with their inner reality. They can spend a lot of time alone, content to be with themselves, and their own thoughts, feelings, intuitions. They often feel drained from being around people too much or too long, and prefer to know just a few people well. In my experience, introverts are usually more genuinely creative, because it's easier (and more natural) for them to tune in to their own inner musings and come up with something original from those experiences. Introverted intuitive types are the ones who are known for their mystical tendencies, their ability to see "the whole picture," regarding the Oneness of soul. But they tend to be rather ungrounded, and have such a hard time with practical reality and especially with money, that they can live a very unbalanced life, if they don't learn how to take care of practical business.

    Of course there is nobody who is 100% introverted or extraverted, but people do have inclinations one way or the other. According to Jung, it's the INFERIOR FUNCTION--the weakest one that leads one towards individuation. One of the more common motifs in fairytales has to do with a king (the dominant function), who has three sons.Two of the sons will be fairly well adapted, and know how to perform their duties in a way that is met with approval by the king and all who reside in the kingdom. And then there will be a third son, who is a bit of a goofball, and is known for his strange, sometimes literally backward way of doing things. That's the one von Franz likens to the inferior function. Inevitably, there will be some big crisis in the kingdom, and at that point all three of the sons will be asked to take up the challenge of slaying a monster, or rescuing a princess from a dark castle, or solving what seems to be an unsolvable riddle. As it always turns out, the two well adapted sons fail at the tasks, and the goofball son ends up being the one who succeeds-- kills the beast, saves the princess, and rescues the kingdom from ruin.

    "We're not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes." (Joseph Campbell) I definitely agree with that.
     
  17. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    The path may be different, yet the destination the same.
     
  18. Nielk

    Nielk

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    In Judaism, we learn that each person should feel as if the whole world was created just for him. Yet it says "
    Separate not yourself from the community."

    Both the importance of individuality is stressed and the obligation to the community.

    They are both essential - one can't be without the other. There is an important balance there. Furthermore, we are instructed that we have an obligation to make the world a better place. This connotes social action and social justice work.
     
  19. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I am not sure about that.

    I have no idea what my destination is, other than being willing to be with, and investigate, what is.
     
  20. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    If you get time, do take a look at "Spiritual, But Not Religious? (with Father Thomas Keating)" www.youtube.com/watch?v=04gdsFt_zDY. I may be wrong, but I think it will interest you.
     

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