“The characteristics of a spiritual crisis are nearly identical to that of clinical depression… except that the cause is a crisis of the soul,” remarked five-time best-selling author Caroline Myss in a brief excerpt from her workshop. It is a timely topic during this pandemic and how it affects society.
An internationally renowned speaker on human consciousness, energy, spirituality and medical intuition, Ms. Myss explained that she has met many people who declared that they were in states of depression and anxiety. The symptoms are basically the same. However, they were undergoing spiritual crises — not psychological or mental crises. The terminology was just different.
How do you treat or respond to it?
The question we often ask is, “What is happening in our spirit or soul?”
The spiritual crises need to be identified. They are considered “the epidemic of our age… Prayer is essential to navigating your way through ‘a dark night of the soul,’” Ms. Myss remarked.
In this context, people do not realize the power of prayer and its healing value.
She observed that we have become “people of the interior world” through the past seven decades. There is an emotional language involved. The term “Empowerment” has emerged. It has changed our values and inner vocabulary.
A spiritual crisis is different from a psychological depression and anxiety. What many people now have are called “sufferings of the soul.”
Over the past century, survival has changed meaning. We used to be focused on physical survival. Now, we are inwardly focused. This shift has changed our terms.
The interior life has great value.
The dividing point was World War II — when we entered the nuclear age. Survival used to be just the physical world. After that period, we developed “the body, mind, spirit template.” There is a new understanding of our energetic nature and physical anatomy. We want to pursue what makes up a happy, healthy human life. In the transition, there was a shift in our “inner calculus.”
What makes a happy, healthy life?
The focus is on the self.
This is critical to understanding how much our values have changed. “We have pointed the arrow from the outside world to the world behind our eye.”
“That inner world has always been a part of the human experience,” Ms. Myss emphasized.
It is important to note that the big questions have been worked on in “monastic settings” and universities for centuries, by people who had access to “refined methods of asking.” They were the monks and professors, the intellectuals.
“What is the meaning and purpose of life?” This is the great cosmic question that has changed the direction. We are preoccupied with the game changers.
What is the power of the human soul? What is the purpose of my life? What has value?
People are in search of the most extraordinary questions.
Prior to the pursuit of the self, that was a question restricted to “the luxury of one who could ask the question and who could handle the answer.” There is a need for someone who can handle the question. When we dwell on the question, we are asking to know.
We ask the Divine, “Reveal to me why you gave me life? Why did you send and want me here now? Not 100 years ago or 100 years later? What am I doing here? Why was I born in this country, as a female? I realized that I couldn’t comprehend why am I a Taurus? Or a Leo?”
We are asking for and expecting “soul knowledge to bubble up and make its way to the conscious mind.”
“From whence did I come?”
The answer is — “The warehouse of the eternal.”
This time and culture have produced what are called “oddities.”
Studies show that people have contempt for the “ordinary.” It is considered “the most unappealing thing in the world. Being and doing ordinary.” We were brought up to think, “I was born to be something special.” This is the curse of “specialness.” It provokes someone to start imagining that life is disappointing unless it is “gargantuan” and glamorous. We expect that the measure of success in life is the Hollywood style. It has to be extra-special.
What makes something ordinary?
“Ordinary means subject to the laws,” Ms. Myss explained. This refers to the law of nature, the law of gravity, the tides, the law of ageing, the law of change. “The cycle of life. The birth of the phoenix.”
We think that we can transcend the laws. That means we think of ourselves as being extraordinary. Therefore, we feel entitled in doing or dealing with small, meaningless things. For example, we say, “I don’t have to wait in line.” Then we are negotiating the laws of longevity, youth or ageing.
“We are unconsciously negotiating with the sacred… The striving to be extraordinary.
“We think we have clout with the unfolding of life itself.”
When we realize that we cannot be extraordinary, we feel the pressure and we suffer.
There is no instant solution to the spiritual crises. The slow process of understanding will happen when we learn and accept that we are ordinary.
We can pray. Perhaps, we can do things, like the saints, in extraordinary ways.
Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.