Of course you knew this post was coming. Ever since learning the term psychospiritual, as mentioned in my last post, I have been pretty distracted with exploring it. I love that it’s a term. Because humans like to know where they fit, whether it’s necessary or not. But what fascinates me most is that I didn’t identify as psychospiritual and then learn how to apply the discipline. I actually applied the discipline by being my overthinking self and then discovered that what I was doing had a name. This is what makes the entirety of this blog all the more profound. And maybe what I’m about to say will inspire you, too.
The Moment of Psychospiritual Awakening
Like so many along a “mindful” journey, to this point, I was already on a journey to cultivate my mind. A “think better, be better” approach to life. This was the first half of becoming psychospiritual. The other half of my psychospiritual making was when I embraced my “ugly truth.” The fact that I am/was what psychology and psychiatry call “codependent.” And in an effort to not be a hypocrite, I decided to take my own blog’s advice. I logically and objectively set out to understand what this meant. And then I went into the darkness to face it. My intention – to somehow overcome it.
This is the blend of psychology and metaphysics which, unbeknownst to me at the time, created my psychospiritual practice.
Finding Psychospiritual in the Jungian Darkness
In the Jungian darkness every thought is a labyrinth. Your only ally as you face the darkness is a willingness to overthink every thought. “Overthinking” is the psychospiritual act of applying all of the wisdom you have gained to the wounds of yesterday. You just have to remember that you won’t be here forever. This is the necessary reconciliation which will take you through.
Inspiration in the Levels of Darkness
You will quickly see that exploring the darkness is not a one way elevator. You don’t step off of at the bottom never to return to the light until you are completely healed. It’s a descent and ascent. But not a rollercoaster, either. It’s hard to describe, but just know that it feels really good to intimately know yourself. You’ll begin looking forward to being alone with your thoughts, instead of alone with your phone.
Based on this, you shouldn’t be surprised to know that while the darkness can be intimidating, there is also inspiration in the darkness. And inspiration happened more frequently than I realized. Ya know, looking back, the darkness wasn’t actually that bad.
I would say that I have likely been psychospiritual for many years. But before now, I spent a lot of time learning about things. Everything from expanding my interest in psychology, broadening my understanding of the nature of The Universe, reading a bit more philosophy, and so on. If it interested me, I looked at it. Nothing was too trivial for my curious brain. But I only started applying this knowledge to myself recently.
If I had to pin it down, I’d say that this particular part of my psychospiritual path began in late October 2020. Today, mid-February 2021, was the first day I realized that I have a completely different relationship with my darkness. It’s balanced.
And in some ways, I even miss it. The epiphanies are pretty inspiring, that’s for sure. But I take comfort in the space I have found knowing that the whole point of going through the darkness is to resolve the past so we may understand ourselves. And this understanding is part of the psychospiritual experience. It allows us to better manage the constant cycle of life. Even become an active participant in its creation. The old, “change yourself, change the world.”
Think Less “Existential Crisis,” More “Know Thyself“
In the darkness we gain knowledge of ourselves. And if we do it right, that knowledge becomes wisdom. And that wisdom integrates with all the other wisdom we have gained – both from within our minds and from the world around us. This process cycles back upon itself infinitely. And with the past resolved, the present is easier to navigate.
And then, before we know it, we understand how to work with the darkness as part of our lives. Instead of burying it only to have to dig it up later. It’s truly liberating.
Tips from Within the Psychospiritual Darkness
- You WILL come out of this changed. You are changed by everything you experience. This is no different.
- You might want to keep a pad of paper with you. You can also begin by freestyle writing.
- Understand that this isn’t necessarily about visualization. It’s about thoughts. And the analysis of your own opinions and feelings about those thoughts.
- Often times these thoughts come in the form of memories we’d rather not have. Have the memory and feel it. It’s hard, but so. fucking. worth. it. Remember, this is not permanent. This too shall pass.
- Allow yourself to complete the thought/memory before you begin to analyze it. Sometimes you’ll find that you don’t know where the memory ended and your thoughts/analysis begin.
- And do not prematurely end your analysis. If you must, then know that it will be waiting for you.
- There is no wrong thought. No diversion. Embrace that everything happens as it should. It’s perfect. Whatever it looks like.
- You’ll know when you’re done. Don’t worry about that.
- Allow yourself to be embarrassed, or disappointed if those are the appropriate feelings. It’s the denial of how your thoughts make you feel which created the darkness in the first place. Again, it won’t last forever.
- Only then can you put these thoughts and feelings to rest. Permit yourself to understand that the good and the bad are why you are the wisest version of yourself right now. And will be wiser tomorrow…and the next day…
- Come to some sort of resolution. Strive to understand why you did or said this or that. Even if that resolution means admitting you were just too immature to see a better way. This is acceptance.
- Forgive yourself if you keeping coming back to a thought. There’s just more for you to learn about yourself.
Psychospiritual to the Core
When it came time to meet with my shadow, I did not distract myself with all the other things I could be doing. Honestly, they just seemed trivial by the time I reached this point. And so I let my thoughts guide me to my teachers. I consulted with Carl Jung and countless philosophers through the process. Marijuana was also consulted, as I find that cannabis is an excellent shaman. But it’s a microdose. A sweet spot where you gain easier access to your thoughts, but don’t blow your own mind and forget two seconds later.
A great, and unexpected teacher was simply getting lost in thoughts of my own. That spiral of thought I’ve mentioned before. This seemed to coax me ever further to reach a place of understanding. Or at the very least, I gained a temporary acceptance for things I couldn’t completely understand. That was a big one.
As predicted by my zodiac, this Capricorn was finally letting go of the codependent control which was apparently needed in every aspect of my life. And I adopted something called “faith,” which I had traded for science long ago.
If this combination of metaphysics, astrology, psychology, and philosophy isn’t the embodiment of psychospiritual, I don’t know what is.
Looking back, it didn’t take long for this whole “objective observation of myself” to become less about being codependent and more about being me. And then suddenly it came “full circle” when I embraced the “coincidences” of Mercury Retrograde. I penned a line that said something like, “maybe it wasn’t me who drove my ex away. Maybe it was a matter of compatibility.” And that’s when I discovered I was psychospiritual. And equally, that’s when I knew I had healed. Not completely, but more than ever before.
Once again I am inspired to consider the Hero’s Journey, because Joseph Campbell was right.
There are organizations with teachers in psychospiritual practices. And while seeking growth from mental challenges is admirable, please do not use this as a substitute for professional help. Your needs are unique and you don’t have to go it alone. Please do not hesitate to seek professional help.
An Appreciation for Endings
I was inspired many times in the darkness. But beneath every inspired thought was something deeper. I had discovered that I was able to apply the same balance and objectivity I used for myself to others. But not just generally speaking. After all I had experienced in my life, past and present, I found that I actually had an understanding and appreciation for endings. And somehow I had found the words to usher in an ending diplomatically. Because not all endings have to be messy. They should honor the past and welcome the next beginning. They should also inspire possibilities.
And so I have begun to write “break up copy.” Think of it as helping people find the right words in situations where words escape them.