Research tells us that when one has faith, we feel safer and happier in life. That faith may be in your ability to succeed, your gratitude for God’s love or your intuitive connection to your own heart. The spiritual health concept that I work with is not about being religious, though many people experience spirituality through their religions.
Your Spiritual Nature
Your spiritual nature is your capacity to experience the depth of feeling that you would want your religious or secular life to provide. It is the ability to perceive the love and support that come from someone or something other than yourself and it allows you to know intuition, self-awareness, God, Jesus, Hashem, Allah, the Buddha, the Universe, the Tao, the Great Spirit or whatever religious or spiritual wellspring you drink from. Spiritual health provides you with the meaning and strength for self-sacrifice, contribution and heroism and helps you make profoundly important decisions, giving you access to a deeper level of truth inside.
The system of medicine I practice acknowledges the importance of this aspect of health and treats symptoms related to it. Perhaps you have gone through periods of life during which you felt lost. Work that was once meaningful is no longer, the marriage or love affair that was so pivotal feels riddled with conflict, valuable friends no longer understand you, your body collapses in illness, and you lose faith and values. There are several terms for this experience. Some call it a midlife (or quarter-life or three quarter-life) crisis. Others call it a dark night of the soul, a turning point, the cross roads. This kind of experience can happen in small ways over time or all at once. For most, going through a spiritual illness will lead to positive changes and a future that is better than it would have been without it. Often, we don’t recognize a spiritual illness when it hits us and don’t realize that it can be healed using specific remedies.
Healing from Spiritual Illness
To recover from a spiritual illness you must take good care of your body. My Oriental medical teachings state that the place from which you view life, the perspective that you define as reality, is carefully regulated by several of your internal organs. When you lose your footing, falter in your beliefs and question your values, the first area to take care of is your body. Are you getting enough rest, eating well, getting touched in loving ways? Making sure your body is getting good care may not eliminate a spiritual illness, but it can slow or stop it from feeling worse. Sometimes, if the loss of self is directly related to your blood chemistry or physical health, taking better care of your body can have a dramatically positive effect.
Seek out people who have medical and spiritual expertise. It is always a good idea to go to your family doctor and get a checkup. It may not help but it can’t hurt. If your doctor suggests seeing a psychologist, a psychiatrist or clergy, consider doing so as these experts may be able to give you insight. Going to see a licensed acupuncturist may be helpful because they understand the many complex connections linking the body, mind and spirit. Acupuncture has been used to treat spiritual illnesses for thousands of years.