How I applied the 22 Principles of Spiritual Psychology to my Recovery from substances, mental health and trauma

1. We are not human beings with Souls; we are Souls having a human experience.
This is the paradigm that shifted my recovery and my life forever. It truly did. When I recognized that my substance use, mental health and trauma issues were part of the human experience, it freed me into an understanding that I’m divine, whole and complete as the spiritual being. There’s nothing wrong with me at the core. These have been behaviors, coping mechanisms and failed attempts to survive the best I knew how at the time. I’m a spiritual being having a human experience allows me to drop the shame of past choices and behaviors and reconnect with the truth of who I am… A divine being who is here to share love, light and compassion with the world. How might holding yourself as a spiritual being support inner freedom?

2. The nature of God is love!

I didn’t have any connection to God when I got sober or so I thought. My experience of God included a lot of hatred, disconnect and disgust. Wow, what a projection?! These qualities were my experience of myself as well. My beef wasn’t really with God, it was more with me. Therefore, it took some time to open up to the idea of God being loving because in turn that meant that I was loving too and had to treat myself accordingly. Could your relationship with “God” be reflecting back something powerful to you?

3. Direct experience is the process through which belief or faith is transformed into knowing.
I thrive on experiential experience. I have to experience and practice the skills and tools I’m learning. When you first start off, it’s pretty much an emptying of the old toolbox and filling it with something new. New feels awkward and shaky for awhile and then you learn what you like, what works for you and what you want to incorporate into your daily recovery practice. As you deepen in your new skills, the skills become your practice and the practice supports your inner knowing.

4. Since we are all part of God, our nature also is Love, and we have the opportunity to know our Loving nature experientially, here and now!
Seeing myself as loving was a long shot. I’d carried such self-hatred around that it was hard to look myself in the mirror. I had prided myself on being different, misunderstood and “not belonging” so acknowledging that I was one with others and one with God was definitely a process for me. However, as I learned how to have compassion for myself, my compassion for others and the human experience deepened. I could see myself in others; the good and the bad. I learned how to let go of judgments so I could remain peaceful within. I started to experience Oneness and the amazing opportunity to use all my challenge’s in life as a way to self-actualize.

5. Physical world reality exists for the purpose of spiritual evolution.
I started to realize that all the “things” that had happened to me in my past where in service to my spiritual evolution. I was here to evolve my consciousness and furthermore, it was my calling to support other people in using their life’s challenges to find out the truth of who they are and use that truth for good in this world. Therefore, I could look at everything as an opportunity for learning and growing. This mindset supported me in shifting from victim to the creator of my life, one of the most empowering experiences I’ve ever had.

6. Spiritual evolution (growth) is a process, not an event.

Letting go of the goal line, letting go of needing to control or accomplish to feel good about myself has been so freeing. Life is a process, not a destination, not an event. You won’t be happier when you have that job, or that car or that whatever. Happiness is within, it’s a state of mind, a state of being. You could be happy doing anything, anywhere if you so choose. Learning that spiritual growth was a process and not some lighting bolt from the sky freed me from expectations of how the process should be or look. My spiritual journey is unique to me; however, we all have the opportunity to use our challenges to grow spiritually. What challenges could you use for spiritual evolution?

7. All life is for Learning.
Everything that is happening is for learning. Everything. The breakup, being laid off, getting married, the back pain, having a baby, the car accident, the “you name it,” it’s all for learning. What if you could take everything that’s happening and learn from it? How many valuable lessons are available to you daily?

8. An unresolved issue is anything that disturbs your peace.
You might wonder where to start with your healing process. A great place to start is with anything that disturbs your peace. Your mind will let you know what needs to be worked on. I love knowing that what is coming up for me is wanting to be healed. The misunderstanding is that we can’t handle it and therefore have to avoid it. You can resolve unresolved issues for the last time. You truly can!

9. Every time a single person resolves a single issue, angels rejoice and all of humanity moves forward in its evolution.
You don’t have to be into angels to understand that when you resolve something for yourself that all of humanity benefits. You are so needed right now. I truly believe that the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own inner transformation. Imagine a world where people have resolved their inner issues and can bring love, compassion and non-judgment to everyday experience. You can be the change in your family, your circle, your community. If that’s not purposeful, I don’t know what is.

10. All “becauses” are merely triggers to internal unresolved issues inviting completion.

I got upset because…is the opposite of responsibility. It’s a disempowered approach where the power lies with something other than ourselves. I had tons of “becauses.” I hadn’t healed because of my past, my parents, my trauma, my mental health, etc. I always pointed the finger at anything besides myself. Other people just didn’t get it or get me. Things were so difficult for me. I sat in victim consciousness for a long time wanting someone else to pick up the pieces and clean up the mess, I called my life. I could have spent a life time here. And some people do. Everything changed when I owned that my life had gotten away from and the mess was created by me now. I was abusing myself now. I had to stop blaming other people or the past for my inability to get on with life and make something of it. When I made that choice to live full out, everything started to shift in my favor. I was finally growing!

11. Inner disturbances are themselves a major component of the spiritual curriculum you are here to complete.
Learning how to “be” with my feelings and thoughts and use them for my growth has been tremendous. I used to be scared of myself; my thoughts, feelings and behaviors. I felt like some untamed animal that couldn’t get a grip or dominion over me and therefore had to avoid, escape and deny at any cost. Boy, was it costing me a lot. It took me awhile to feel again because I had gotten so good at dissociating. When I did start to feel, it felt like too much at times but I weathered the storm of emotions to find myself able to experience the sunny side of thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings are just indicators to you telling you that you are off or on track. I started to have a friendship with my feelings (I know that sounds weird) but I looked for the learning in the thoughts and feelings and found a lot of old crap that no longer made sense for a mature and responsible adult who could take care of herself. Your inner disturbances are telling you what needs your time, love and attention that’s all. You aren’t crazy, you just need to learn the skills to manage your emotions and reactions.

12. Unresolved issues are not bad; they are just part of your spiritual curriculum you are here to complete.
It felt like there was so much that was unresolved; I didn’t really know what was resolved in me. I did know that I wanted to heal and get better and that I was 100% committed to giving recovery a chance for at least a year of my life. Of course, many of you know, I never looked back once I got sober and have 10 years of recovery and never relapsed. I never relapsed because of this principle. I rolled up my sleeves and wrote a list of all that was unresolved in me. It was an extensive list but one by one, I started to work through the misunderstandings that I had bought into about myself, others and the world. I devoted myself to letting go of beliefs that only served my old story. I knew that I would die if I stayed connected to it. Don’t mean to be dramatic here but suicidal ideations had lead me to get help so this was truly a do or die situation for me. The time is now to resolve what’s unresolved in you. Make a list and start chipping away.

13. Personal responsibility is the foundational key that opens the door to Freedom.
Yes, yes and yes!!! You are responsible to yourself. You are responsible for your recovery and healing no matter who did what to you. It can feel like a life sentence but spiritually speaking, it’s your road to self-actualization. In every moment, we are responsible to how we are feeling and thinking. Things are happening to us; it’s happening for us. Own it so that you can learn from it.

14. Nothing outside of you causes your disturbances.
This is a biggie and doesn’t work if you want to stay connected to victim consciousness. Nothing outside of you creates disturbance, it’s your reaction to it that causes disturbance. The disturbance happens in the reaction. And you get to decide how you respond. You get to decide if your peace is disturb. Your reactions may not feel like a choice but you can learn to observe your reaction, find out what is being bumped into inside of you and heal it for the last time. This is how you resolve relapse. You resolve the disturbance so that you don’t have an excuse of to backslide.

15. You create your future by how you respond to experiences now.
The time is now to resolve what needs to be resolved. No more putting off healing for another time. Do things differently now and give yourself an opportunity for life to be different, improved and optimal. Engaging in recovery and putting aside destructive behaviors gives you and opportunity to heal what’s begging to be healed.

16. How you relate to an issue is the issue, and how you relate to yourself while you are going through the issue is the issue.
I just love this one. It’s all about me and not about others. There is so much learn from my own reactions. I used to shut down REALLY bad. Then I learned that my shutting down was all about me trying to avoid pain, conflict and feelings of shame. I would disconnect so I didn’t have experience emotional suffering. Learning how to resolve the issue supports you in having a different reaction to it. I resolved my shame so now mistakes don’t bump into feelings of unworthiness. And I was relating to myself in such a harsh manner. Any perceived mistake on my part was followed by an inner berating of how awful I was at the core. I kept noticing how I was “being” with myself and I didn’t like it. I truly wanted to treat myself better.

17. What you believe determines your experience.
For sure! I had negative beliefs about myself, others and the world and that was the experience I was having. I knew that I needed to change my thinking or I wouldn’t maintain sobriety. How can you maintain sobriety when you are thinking negative and self-judgmental thoughts all day long. That’s exhausting. Focus on changing your thoughts through reframing, affirmations or creating a “new story” that you can read to yourself. You believes are incredibly powerful. Hold thoughts in your consciousness that work for you not against you.

18. A life filled with Acceptance is a life devoid of unnecessary emotional suffering. It’s a life filled with Love.
You can be in acceptance or resistance. It’s really that simple. You could go through your whole life and either be in acceptance and in the flow of life or in resistance and in emotional suffering. If you are in emotional suffering that how might you be resisting life. What might you have to let go of to be in the flow of life?

19. Your primary goal is not to change the school; your primary goal is to graduate.
You can’t change your spiritual curriculum but you can learn what you are here to learn. Instead of spending your time wishing you didn’t have a substance abuse, mental health or trauma issue, work with what you have and it use it for your own personal growth. What are the learnings from your life’s challenges? What message and purpose do you have to share with others because of what you’ve been through?

20. Healing is the application of Loving to the places inside that hurt.
Find out what needs your love and give it to yourself. It’s not enough to stop the destructive behavior. What’s underneath the substance use? That’s what you have to find and heal. Is it, unlovable, undeserving, bad at the core, wrong for existing, etc. And when you find what needs to be resolved, then offer it compassion, love and kindness like you would a friend or child. You need your own acceptance, compassion and care. No one else is expected to give that to you, so take responsibility and learn to give it to yourself. If something is blocking the loving then learn what that is and heal the block. Often times the block is an old belief or misunderstanding.

21. Loving, Healing, and Evolving are all the same process.
You are here to remember your loving nature and essence and share it with the world. Your recovery is the opportunity to awaken and heal yourself so that you can evolve deeper and deeper into the knowing of who you are! Your recovery is a gift, use it as such!

22. Judgment is self-condemnation. Self-Forgiveness is redemption; and Compassion, Acceptance, Peace and Joy naturally follow.
Judgment adds more negativity to your inner experience and to the world. Self-forgiveness makes room for love, compassion, acceptance. You can offer yourself redemption at any moment of any day. When you live a sober, conscious and purpose-driven life, every moment can be expressed in joy. Imagine a life where compassion, acceptance, peace and joy are just your constant state of being. This is available to you when you take responsibility of how you think, feel and behavior and resolve your unresolved issues so that you can experience an inner freedom like nothing you have ever experienced from any destructive behavior. I am talking about a lasting peace, love and compassion that is better than any high you’ve ever experienced because it’s real and true connection to Self.

1 Comment

  1. Liz on August 9, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Great article–very insightful and inspiring!

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