Healing the Wounded Spirit
Dr. Howard Peiper, N.D. –
What is a wounded spirit? A wounded spirit is an injury to any part of our soul or spirit faculties the mind, the emotions, or the will. It is injury to the unseen areas of our being. One part inside us may be more affected than the others. The deeper or more severe the wound, the greater the negative effect on our lives physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
The spirit part of us is the engine of our lives. Life is broken when our spirit’s health is considerably compromised, no matter how attractive, healthy and expensive the body may look. The breakdown of the spirit also eventually brings sickness to the body.
Spiritual problems, many believe, are the cause of our social and financial problems. Spiritual problems can happen to the best intentioned of us as well, and some spirit wounds are so severe (but overlooked) that there can permanent damage, to the emotions, to the physical body, to one’s financial stability, etc. We’ve heard references such as he is a nervous wreck, emotional wreck, manic, psycho, etc. The ruin can be in any area of our inner selves the mind, the emotions, or our will.
Each of us has some scars in our spirits from unpleasant past experiences. Some were relatively minor, some were extremely traumatic, and some may have been in between. The relative impact is determined by our own interpretation of it. Remember, however, that scars imply the wounds have healed. We can recall the unpleasant experiences and how we had, then, so much inner pain. Occasional recall or remembrance of the experiences can remind us that we have processed the event and pulled through. Our Higher Power (or whatever we choose to call it) has been faithful in helping us heal and it is useful to affirm that on a regular basis.
Spiritual wounds that remain unhealed can, however, compromise or harm our spiritual health. They potentially also can lead to physical illness or chronic health problems, and can impact all areas of our lives. If we have fully let go of the painful past experiences, we can move on from the past and the inner hurt and pain is gone. There is no preoccupation with the past experiences. They have no power over us, or over our present circumstances. Many times we may also see how our Higher Power still brought good out of the unpleasant experiences.
Spiritual wounds which persistently will not heal become a problem. We may constantly recall the unpleasant experiences, how unfair they were, and assume we’d be better off today had we not experienced them. In the present we’re still preoccupied with the past, the past inner hurt and pain still surfaces in negative ways. They have power over us and over our present circumstances. Our past problems become our very identity. When that happens, we are unable to see how the past is affecting us. This is commonly called denial. It is how our psyche protects itself, but that denial (still an open wound) may keep us from experiencing joy or success in our lives. Those inner wounds are still raw and untreated.
So how do we recognize our wounds? Most often we recognize them through our teachers. Who are our teachers? Our parents who weren’t there for us in the ways we needed. Our siblings who competed with us or belittled us. The betrayals of our past. Or presently, our spouses who infuriate us or don’t meet our needs. Our boss or co-worker who demeans or controls us in various ways. Our children who do the opposite of what we would like them to do. Our friends who disappoint us. These people and situations represent the vehicle for our learning our teachers.
When we find ourselves feeling angry, worried, or certain we would be just fine if only someone or something outside ourselves would shift that is our teacher. That is what we need to look at inside of ourselves. If we did not have an unhealed wound, we would not be reacting to the external stimulus in a dysfunctional, ineffective, or highly emotionally charged way. If our spiritual self is unhealed, we will react from a place that says it’s your fault and if only.
Our wounds are our teachers and we have today many, many resources available for help and healing. If we are willing to do the inner work for the still-wounded parts of us, rewards of great magnitude await us. Inner peace, joy, comfort, freedom from compulsive behaviors, true love and connection to ourselves and others, will be there. We become the spiritual beings we have always wanted to be and from that simple standpoint, our world begins to change.
Dr. Howard Peiper, N.D. nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, has written several popular books on nutrition and natural health.
Darkened, dense space, and time,
That past, that life, of then,
Left me lost, bereft of me,
And it played out again, and again.
But from that void came illumination,
And from illumination came hopefulness.
Angels, teachers, helping hands,
Received with childlike trust and boldness.
So it begins, the spirit to heal.
The woundedness unburdens.
Cautious nurturing, letting go,
A healed spirit, robust, emerges.
By Meg Cassell
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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