Since my last post, both hemispheres of my brain have been on fire. I come from a family that has both very strong scientific and artistic thinking traits. It is so easy, when you start out on a philosophical, psychological, or spiritual path, to dip your toe in and be immediately surrounded by genuine crazy.
I am a storyteller by nature, and an artist, and a big big thinker. I LOVE SCIENCE and technology gets me viscerally excited, but I am also deeply emotional and spiritual, and moved in ways unexplained by science.
This can make a person feel crazy.
So you turn to spirituality to help you cope, to find acceptance, to find a WAY to be happy when what your life actually is is different from what you want it to be. I can't tell you how many times I have been in conversations with people and feel like I sound exactly like an AA member. Recovering from ME/CFS requires a lot of the same faith and personal responsibility and self discipline that it takes to get over an addiction.
When you rely on faith for an extended period of time to get you through your daily routine, you get a little lost in the clouds. Sometimes then reading your horoscope goes from being an entertaining way to start the day to making you panic whenever Mercury is in Retrograde. That's when you need to get a little more grounded, come back to earth, maybe read up on some science or watch some BBC Earth .
I worry sometimes that my enthusiasm for some new age thinkers comes across as being a little out of my mind.
So here are some tips for staying sane when you are between the world of the magical and the world of your physical experience.
1. Humour is Key. Whenever this stuff gets too serious it's like.. woah... step off. A real sign its getting to weird is if you feel defensive or feel like you have to press your beliefs onto someone. If it feels bad or yucky, then just say "this is bullshit" and find something that makes you feel good.
2. Healthy Skepticism. Don't ever be afraid to question something you hear. Again, you'll know if it rings true to you based on how it makes you feel. If you feel better hearing that your auntie Margie is an angel that watches over you then why not believe it!? It doesn't hurt anyone. If you hear auntie Margie is watching over you and you feel haunted, let it go! Forget about that idea! Test every spiritual idea/practice and see what it does for you. Results will prove if it is worth keeping around in your life.
3. Find people like you that inspire you AND bring you back to earth. There are tons of modern physicians who have had their own spiritual experiences that have shaped their practices. I'm enjoying Lissa Rankin MD's story at the moment, and if you haven't watched neuro scientist Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight yet, get to it! These are rational, science minded individuals who have first hand experiences not explained by their education and practice.
4. Be Inspired. The Journey, and spiritual practice in general, should be inspiring. Great art comes from a desire to explain our human experience, and to answer our great big questions. So put on an episode of The Cosmos or look at some moving art.
“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”
— Vincent Van Gogh
Alex Howard posted a real thought provoking link this week, an article written on genuine spirituality vs. pseudo materialistic spirituality. You can read it here. Is Your Spirituality Bullshit . This raised a lot of points for me, being a California yoga-mat carrying, casual meditator, seeker of the soul. But the point is to find the genuine points in your beliefs that make the world a better place, versus trying to portray an idea of something that attracts materialism or superficial gains through your practice (one reason with The Secret seriously gets on my nerves!).
I also saw a science page post a quippy article on ideas Scientists are tired of people misusing, included in there was their understanding of quantum mechanics. (The idea as far as I understand it is that a quantum particle's movements/reactions change upon being simply observed). The Secret (grrr!) uses this "scientific evidence" to prove that our intention on things causes thought to manifest in physical form. This is a gross misuse of the science, but I also wonder if the article squashes the dreamers who do further research to see how these things affect the way we life and interact with the forces of the universe.
A lovely contrast observation to this is in the movie I Am by director (of Ace Ventura, Patch Adams, Bruce Almighty) Tom Shadyac who suffers from Post Concussion Syndrome. The exploration of HeartMath is really interesting to me! (How our body gives off waves of emotional information/wavelengths/ impulses that effect organisms around us)
Intention is one of my absolutely favorite things. The Law of Attraction has me so bothered I want to run up a tree. It is a very common psychological practice and even a creative practice to know that what we think about we see more of. You wake up in the morning thinking "Red", you're going to see a lot of red. You're writing a book on dragons, you're going to find a lot of material on dragons. It's a very simple concept that makes use of our very selective, focused, organized information brain. It's the same way we find our fav shampoo in a sea of hundreds of brands at Target (as described by Malcolm Gladwell). So think of ways to be healthy, and you'll find more recipes, processes, methods, and people that support your wanting to be healthy. The brain doesn't think in negatives so if you just keep thinking I don't want to be fat the brain keeps thinking fat fat fat. That's why the "law of attraction" claims that what you think about manifests, because to our observing brain, it does. So take this very common neuropsychological concept and simply intend your thoughts towards healthier, happier ideas.
One of the most helpful things I have learned over the last couple of weeks is this.
When you feel out of vibration, knocked out of whack, feeling crappy and moody and uninspired, here is how you get out of it.
You first acknowledge it. "I feel like crap."
Then you accept it instead of fighting it. "I feel like crap. And that's OK."
Then you just focus on the OK part. "I am OK."
Then you imagine you could possibly feel a little better. "I'm open to feeling a little better." If this feels false then spend more time being just OK.
Then you feel a little better. Then you feel a little more better. Then you feel good. Then you feel a lot better, then things are going well for you. Things go well for you for a while and you have so much energy you are ready to tackle more puzzles.
So. Love the science. Love the spirituality. Love none of it or all of it. The point is find whatever it is that makes you happier. I have stopped focusing on the science of ME/CFS since the XMRV research/hype/dissolution. Easing specific symptoms is a good idea if you have a good way to go about it. The OHC has the best program for me because it is about nutrition and stress reduction, coping and getting to OK so we can launch forward the way we know is best for ourselves.
If you get overwhelmed, ungrounded, or lost in existentialism, just let it all go and do something else for a while.
Feel better, find your bliss, and Namaste, in the most genuine, California yoga yuppie loving way I can.