Tragically within weeks of the wedding, the wife was given a diagnosis of cancer and soon found herself needing a mastectomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She and her husband needed spiritual as well as physical healing. In his case the grinding role of a full-time carer takes a devastating toll unless sufficient respite care is available.
There are things in all of us that we need to face up to for which we need spiritual healing. The problem is worse if we are the kind of person who isn’t used to taking the initiative. The good news is it is possible to become more assertive and proactive. This is because of our inner freedom to change. In my experience if I asked my therapy clients about the aspects of therapy that they found particularly useful, they often cite the discovery and assumption of personal responsibility. Courage to change arose when they started to act on this insight.
Many of us have developed at least one way of acting that can hurt ourselves, annoy others or damage relationships. Something is out of control. Something needs some spiritual healing. We weren’t born with these actions and what is learned can be unlearned. Gaining better control over our behaviour can be done but requires a conscious effort and persistence. There is an important distinction between on the one hand the notion of resisting bad impulses by our own efforts alone and on the other hand resisting them in God’s strength ‘as of ourselves’.
To many people, work seems to be a humdrum monotonous time that goes on and on involving much the same thing day after day. Spiritual healing is needed in some work places. It is true that being a small cog in a big factory or organisation, it may be hard to see that we are contributing any real service to the community but people can assume that other jobs like house-keeping, gardening or labouring are necessarily uninteresting.
The attitude we bring to a job can have a big effect on whether or not we find it boring. Do we have negative or positive reasons for what we are doing at work?
An occupation can exercise a positive pull on some workers as when it brings its own rewards for them. One example is the opportunity to learn on the job.
An Interpretation of Swedenborg’s Writings in Relation to Psychological and Spiritual Well-being
by Stephen Russell-Lacy. Seminar Books, 2008. 978 0 907295 36 5. (paperback) 180pp £10
“A fine little work … that will warm the hearts of the general public and all practicing Swedenborgians who are of a non-technical bent. …We find ourselves understanding a text while feeling that, at the same time, we are liberated by just reading it. This happens in many places in the narrative. Traditionalists will love the book, as it preaches the straight and narrow with regard to doctrine, but in places it almost unconsciously breaks out into a kind of semi-restrained wildness that reminds us of Swedenborg’s own mind – rational but also inward, intuitive, deep, creative, and as our British cousins are wont to say, spot on.”
“It’s a pretty comprehensive attempt to offer aid in meeting life’s many challenges. On Time Magazine’s ‘read, skim or toss’, scale for books, this is definitely a read – and keep handy for future reference.”
Some people are just harder to get on with than others. Obvious examples are those who are highly strung, aggressive or manipulative. They may need spiritual healing, but what do we need? What is the secret to avoiding unpleasant scenes with people who cause us a bit of grief from time to time? To better deal with the awkward mob?
A clue can be found in the study of social perception. Research psychologist Daniel T. Gilbert, University of Texas at Austin has pointed out:
“We may strive to see others as they really are, but all too often the charlatan wins our praise and the altruist our scorn. Juries misjudge defendants, voters misjudge candidates, lovers misjudge each other.”
Social psychologists have researched the way we see others in terms of attribution theory. This is studying how people make inferences about the causes of a person’s actions. One thing they have observed is how our expectations about how other people will behave can distort our interpretations. We may assume that the little old lady who bumps into us at the supermarket is someone with unintended poor balance whereas the tattooed hooded youth might be thought to be trying to pick our pockets. Mistaken perception can thus arise from social stereotypes, such as race, sex and age.
It’s never too late to change – or so my mother used to tell me. But I need spiritual healing as sometimes I feel I’ve missed the boat. Others have said the same thing. The more we indulge our weaknesses, the more our flaws seem to take hold; and the more we avoid those difficult challenges, the more dissatisfied with ourselves we become – and wonder whether ingrained personal habits can ever be broken.
Some of us may realise that we’ve stopped moving along our path in life. For the warning signs have appeared – a medical complaint caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, a developing coldness due to the neglect of one’s close friends, a loss of interest and energy for something we should be doing that we know deep down is important.
Not moving along life’s path is literally true for me. In my case it is a canal tow-path near my home which I should be using for much needed daily exercise. They say, ‘A healthy mind needs a healthy body’, but mine is getting to be no longer ‘fit for purpose,’ sadly through a long time of overindulgence. Sometimes I think I’m just naturally lazy and so have been quick to forget about the problem. And when I’m shaken out of my complacency, I only make an effort in stops and starts.