We have pretty well come to the end of the road regarding the DSM5 as the impairments and traits seem to be a rehash of the same old, same old. So let’s leave that behind for a while and look at our situation more constructively. Instead of examining our pathological tendencies let’s focus on building a life that we would truly love to live.
Our journey towards mental wellness can be compared to Michelangelo’s work on the David. We all start off as a slab of raw white marble. During these exercises, we will be chiseling away parts of the stone which contain flaws that keep us from being the beautiful and powerful person that is hidden inside each of us. The first step will be to chop off the big chunks with powerful strokes of the hammer. This is what we will be doing during these grounding exercises.
These activities are designed to heighten our awareness or ourselves as perfectly blended beings of body, mind, heart, and soul. We can only reach a state of mental health and well-being when all four parts are working in perfect harmony. The key is to view ourselves as having a Higher Self which contains the essence and energies of all four aspects of our being.
We will be using exercises containing new and old psychological practices. You may recognize some activities from the Humanistic Theory, including the strategy of unconditional positive self-regard, seeking peak experiences, and self-actualization. However, the major emphasis will involve Cognitive Theory activities, especially Constructive Psychology, which emphasizes an active process of constructing new knowledge and new life patterns.
However, above all, we will attempt to expand these concepts to include spiritual practices such as meditation, contemplation, and mindfulness. These practices involve the ability of our Higher Self to connect to a universal intelligence which exists within each one of us and within the community of conscious souls. We will make a conscious effort to avoid references to a Higher Power. I believe that all the resources we need already exist within each one of us. The universal intelligence mentioned above is not meant to be another name for a spiritual deity. It is merely the accumulated wisdom of the community of conscious souls, combined with the intelligent patterns of the universe, and above all the quantum intelligent patterns of our own DNA. Regardless of our spiritual view, I think it is safe to say that we have access to an unlimited source of knowledge, wisdom, and creative power that can help us build a life that we would truly love to live.
We will develop our powers of visualization, or active imagination as it is referred to by Carl Jung, as a meditative and contemplative technique. We allow the Higher Self to interact with the conscious mind by guiding and bringing up images. We then use the images to get in touch with old feelings connected to the negative emotions of fear, anger, and shame. We then guide our mind through transforming images to bring it to the positive feelings of peace, joy, and love, for ourselves, for each other, and for every aspect of life. We then connect these images and feelings to the pleasure center of our brain where our Higher Self can apply the positive energies of healing to the body, mind, heart, and soul. We refire and we rewire. We change our beliefs, which change our feelings, which change our thinking patterns, and in so doing, we change our behavior patterns. Key to the process of active imagination is the strategy of exerting as little cognitive influence as possible on the visual images as they unfold. The approach is to subdue our mind so that it becomes a passive observer as our Higher Self guides the scene towards a point of intuitive understanding and healing. We then put this transformation process into practice.until it becomes a new life pattern.
We will look at five grounding virtues with a set of activities for each virtue. We are looking for paradigm shifts where we change our thinking and behavior patterns by shifting our mind states from negative to positive energy patterns. We should begin to see our Higher Self *as a powerful and beautiful being capable of being the person we want to be.
* Please Note: We will be using the upper case “H” and “S” for the Higher Self to describe the essence of our being. It is my hope that every time we see these upper case letters, we will be reminded of just how beautiful and powerful we truly are.