It seems to me that most of what we call 'spiritual work' is actually psychological work. Yet in saying this it is important to understand this psychological work is a conscious re-integration with the entirety of our human experience which goes well beyond self-contained mind. The mind is the seat of our awareness, but it is healthy only when it is open in relation to the wider range of our experience.
One reason I am wary of the idea of the 'spiritual' is that it suggests a something within us, a reality, distinctly other than the united rest of us, the mind, the body, the world, and Mystery. This is a perennial belief, the idea that there is a 'spark' of the divine within us, the spiritual, which we must discover and through which we become 'spiritual'. This is a belief that lays the foundation for all manner of dualistic thinking and behavior.
It follows from this belief in a 'spirit' within that there is a Spirit without that acts upon us or, barring that, is something with which we must re-integrate. It is given various names — God, Mind, Dao. I would suggest that for philosophical Daoism, Dao is a state of mind, not a metaphysical reality. It is an orientation toward Mystery; it is not some entity that defines Mystery.
It needs saying here that this is a choice of paradigms, a model, by which to orient oneself in the world; it is not intended as a statement of truth. Truth, I confess, completely eludes me. This being the case, I can only seek to discover that orientation, that paradigm, which most honestly reflects my experience and most effectively integrates that experience into a whole and pleasant one.
What has been said thus far is intended as an introduction to the psychological work of occupying oneself. This involves not only re-integration with ("re-owning", as Perls puts it) all of one's psychological behaviors as revealed through a growing self-awareness, but also with one's being a body, being this world, and being in an open, empty orientation to Mystery. Occupying oneself thus involves not only being oneself as a distinct person, warts and all, but also being part of the whole which is nature, and not being oneself in relationship with that in which no identity abides.
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