A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Evil Spirits & The Devil

I do not believe in evil spirits or the devil.  I know that we are animals, human mammals and that as a species we are all interconnected and we are all mentally ill.  War is mental illness.  And much has been done to harm ourselves and others through religion.  I do believe in God the Great Spirit or God as the Holy Spirit.  God is totally healthy.  And we are ill.  We have health in us, which is from God.  We always have God to reconnect to, but we get lost in our minds because we are not in balance, not in harmony as God always is.  When things are out of balance and in disharmony there is much distortion of Truth which is the essence of God.  

I believe the concept of original sin and the Fall of humankind is a mixture of imagination and mental illness.  Perhaps it the way some of us tried to understand our sickness and make it logical.  We knew something was wrong within us.  We saw that we acted out in violence and could cause great destruction within families, communities and countries.  So we became ashamed of what we had done and continued to do.  We believed that God the Great Spirit was angry with us.  I believe God is a God of Love and always has been.  He/She/It does not live inside fear and anger the way we often do.  God does not hate.  God is not angry.  God does not punish.  That’s all us and our mental illness.  We have such a desire to explain things to ourselves (just as I am doing now) but we misuse our imagination.  There is so much we don’t know and never will in our lifetimes.  It is not we who were made in the image of God but God who we have made in the image of our selves.  This is very disturbing to me.  There is so much beauty and goodness in the “holy” books of this world, but there is also so much sickness, so much violence!  This comes from us, not God.  

Yes, God works through our spirits which include our hearts, minds and bodies, and I do believe there are other non human beings who have reached a higher spiritual plane and can enter into our spirits, but they are there to teach us and not to punish us or drive us away from God the Holy Spirit.  Actually I believe they are there to reach the core of health in us, our true selves, and reconnect our true selves with the health and healing of God.  But first they must enter into our spirits which are ill, into our imagination, which is full of distortions and try to reach us through all the distortions we’ve created and often cling to in the form of prejudice.  Prejudice is the intolerance of those different from us who threaten us or perhaps who challenge our false selves/personas.  We are a very fearful species, easily threatened and we cling to our false selves as a misguided form of protection and security.  When that false self is challenged, we can become quite aggressive and even act out violently towards one another, using our prejudice as an excuse to judge and condemn others as if we were all little gods ourselves, as if we had that right when we do not - we steal it. 

We are not evil; we are very, very sick in our spirits.  How did we get this way?  It’s possible that it has its origins within our body.  I believe in evolution.  As apes evolved, so did the size of their brains and by the time we arrived the fetus had to be born prematurely.  Precious human babies are very, very vulnerable and very, very dependent on the mother or caretaker.  If it is true that we as a species are all born too soon, what does that do to our developing spirits?  The timing and rhythm of our lives is off, not balanced and we need even more nurturing and protection than ordinary mammals, a sort of womb outside the womb.  Most of us do not get this extra nurturing and protection for long enough.  Even the best, the healthiest of mothers and fathers cannot provide the optimal starting point for an infant.  We are are disadvantaged right from the start of separate life.  The sicker our mothers and fathers, the more disadvantaged we are for handling, let alone thriving in life.  We are very resilient creatures, but we are also damaged and become ill no matter how hard we try to overcome our obstacles.  

Hence, the need for God in our lives.  God our psychic doctor, our healer.  Some of us act as if God should just wave a magic wand and make us all better.  But I don't think for God that is the point.  The point is we have to learn how to take care of ourselves and each other in our present incarnation as spirits combined with bodies.  The key to doing that is to learn to love unconditionally, the way God does.  Cultivating love for ourselves, most especially, is our psychic immune system and defeats our spiritual malaise.  Extending self love to love of others, unconditional love, is the psychic immune system for our entire species.  This is the only way that our species can survive on this beautiful world that we are systematically poisoning, along with ourselves.  Loving your enemies is the ultimate test of unconditional love.  And despite what many people think, it is very possible to love those that abuse you and those that abuse those you love.  You can do this through the practice of compassion.  Compassion is empathy.  It is trying to walk in another person's shoes.  And it is true you should not judge a man (or woman or child) until you have walked at least a mile in his (or her) shoes.  Or put more simply - don't judge others.  Don't judge yourself.  Acknowledge that you are sick, that you need help and that much of what you have done in life that has been harmful is due to severe illness and not to an inherent badness, not to sin.  

There is no Devil.  There are no evil spirits.  There is just us and our collective mental illnesses.  Don't use the concepts of devils and evils spirit as a scapegoat for avoiding your responsibility to heal yourself with God's help.  Blaming others, even evil spirits or God is part of being an addict.  In our sickness the pain is so great the we want to project in outward onto something, someone, some other being.  What must we do?  Approach our pain differently instead of acting out, projecting, or acting in, repressing.  Pain hurts, sometimes very, very badly, but it is really only a small part of the bigger picture.  Pain is our way of telling ourselves that we need to take extra special care of ourselves.  Don't run away from your pain.  Sit with it as you would with an ailing friend as some Buddhists teachers have instructed.  Notice that there is much space around the pain and that pain is not all there is.  The space around the pain, the gentle, accepting, non judgmental, nurturing space is God.  Focus on the space.  Connect with God.  Do it again and again.  Make it a way of life.  Heal yourself.  Do your part to heal this world, our only home.  One person, one soul at a time, I believe we can heal the world by healing ourselves.  

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