It's not very often that we find ourselves in a setting where reasonable discussions regarding the totality of a specific human experience can take place -and even if an individual felt confident enough to discuss some of the more extreme aspects of their psyche, how could we expect them to translate those thoughts and beliefs in a way that promotes a meaningful dialogue?
We know that the dissociative beliefs prevalent in those who suffer from illnesses like schizophrenia are not shared with those from a similar demographic sampling, but is it possible that they and others like them are expressing dynamic themes and relationships so entrenched in their own (delusional) mythology that the rest of us would no wonder feel at a loss to translate them?
Are there parallels in ideology that run deeper than Jungian archetypes and what, if any, does the underlying design look like? It's not a stretch of the imagination to think that our mind is a natural construct meant to adapt to the constantly changing environment it exists within. One's perception of their environment can be thought of as lacking the dimensions accurately predicting cause and effect. We might think of an individual as being rude if they push
us out of their way on a sidewalk, but we might not consider the idea that they've just been notified that their father has just suffered a massive heart attack. Fundamental attribution error is an effect well known in social psychology and it indicates a lack in cognitive dimension. One that I believe is entirely neglected for fear of association with other, more established theocratic constructs.
I do not intend to fail at describing my idea of spirituality's use here, but I do acknowledge the existence of the phenomena is due to some cognitive function that can (and continues to) house a sort of biological 'blind-faith'. Where we have failed for thousands of years as individuals within a society is, frankly, keeping our beliefs to ourselves and ensuring that they are appropriate for us and us alone.
The academic community is reticent about embarking on the first steps necessary to uncover any kind of humanistic ethos and I don't blame them. The topic of spirituality is charged so much so that any real effort to sift truths from the myth would be so disrupted by the pushing and pulling of various religious sects that their clamoring for scientific justification would drown out any plausible truths. So, I tread carefully in this article and attempt to justify a cognitive validity to the spirituality phenomenon without advocating the kind of mass induced hysteria so associated with the subject today.
If you feel like your mood or spirit was revived after visiting a special place or you felt like you experienced something special that you can't quite explain, let us know. I think that if we could get past the large pill that is organized religion, we would realize that allowing an individual to acknowledge the world around them like a child does prepares the road for a proper education of that subject as an adult. We might call it spirituality, but the phenomena is an aspect of the imagination and therefore a misunderstood product of the psyche, not something to be so easily extinguished, but directed by us for the benefit of ourselves. It has a genuine benefit to the mind and a place in psychology. That being said, if you want to talk about the earth being created in 144 hours by an omnipotent being, I'm going to recommend you stick to arguing qualitatively.
One of the first functions of the mind is to interpret the world around us and while we might not immediately recognize the multiple layers needed to experience the depth of consciousness that we do on a day to day basis, they are there nonetheless. If you were to do a quick personal check, would you consider concerns related to events one or two years in the future to be worthy of any sort of planning or discussion? If they caused you a considerable amount of anxiety or stress, you might have said that they would. In that case, we begin a preparatory process of thought that begins to grapple with those events and bolster those psychological areas we project to be in harm's way. It's around this time that we begin to lay the foundation for how we will manage that situation when it comes to pass, whether it's an interview, a test or death.
Those preemptive thoughts are fertile ground for whatever kind of emotional seed you want to plant, but be warned. Fearing the future sets you up to react fearfully. Hope instills more courageous reactions, trust results in honesty and so forth. Any kind of proactivity is going to result in a feeling of preparedness and completion, which tends to manifest in my behavior, focus, effort, etc. I tend to stammer, burn out more easily and apologize too often when I try to ignore the feeling of being overwhelmed and I am extremely good at staying focused and motivated when I have explored a variety of outcomes and how I might react to them. What your inner monologue sounds like can be the difference between sinking or staying afloat when nobody else is around to help.
Left unaddressed, prolonged negative attitude are 'perceived' by us to be a series of unfortunate events that string along after one another like a parade of personal havoc. We blame ourselves or other outside factors for our trouble instead of look for solutions. These kinds of errors in thinking can culminate in the kind of life altering failures that distance family members and limit our ability to grow as an individual.
What we at Derivative Psychology feel is that we adjust our personalities to better prepare for what we think is coming. As we begin to identify anticipatable situations and take responsibility of the cognitive processes that take place, our expectations, attitudes and behaviors will settle into some kind of 'caricature of preparation' that represents our best guess of what the actual event will look like. We can prepare ourselves to overcome a petrifying fear of heights by imagining ourselves actually looking over a cliff. People do this in a variety of ways and religious institutions have capitalized on standardizing the effect with a bit of misdirection and hypnosis.
In any case where the future is to be predicted, there is always a little bit of stretch in the imagination. Look at most monotheistic religions. I was raised under a set of parents with wildly different beliefs, yet they were both miserable to be around. Neither felt successful in their relationships and roles because their emotions were not under their control. They went unsupported and both crumbled in their own ways even though they had every material necessity available to them.
The key to the castle is setting ourselves up for a variety of post-reactions. When the crap hits the fan, did we prepare ourselves to lean into it and find a way out or did we nervously ignore the looming date? Where was our mind? The difference between the two is what others perceive in us. Do we seem like we have things under control or not?
Take back those early moments where you begin to form your expectations, if only to prevent any further destruction or wasted time. Understand that from most difficult situations, we might emerge beaten and bruised, but we emerge nonetheless. There are most definitely things to fear, but not most of what we do fear is worth the kind of attention and anxiety that we give it. Expect better for and from yourself and you'll perceive it even where it's not really received. Those feelings associated with belief, encouraging words, miraculous signs and moments of hope are real, but not until you put them there.
Much like you did at the beginning of this article's series, in this little box [ ].