In my last 2 articles I have been exploring the healing of our past wounds. These wounds are the result of our past hurts and they comprise everything from genetic predisposition to abuse and hardship later in life.
Some understand this as our ‘holy brokenness’. Leading to compassion and developing character. I agree, but…there is more to it than that.
Such wounds mold our thoughts, attitudes and expectations and, when left unhealed, will consequently filter down into our current choices.
Because these choices have come from pain they can often lead to pain; a complex process that cannot be quickly explained, nor quickly unraveled.
In my first article I shared my pastoral experience that some people have found that their wound-based choices created an entire lifestyle that has buried them deeply. While others have become, over time, increasingly angry, or sad, or confused and depressed, thereby experiencing a poorer relationship to the people and things they love.
My second article shared my view that ones life does not change until our wounds are healed. This process is different than simply addressing the circumstances that the wound-based choice has created. For example, we can work to change the way we relate to our life partner, but without addressing the underlying wound causing the problematic choices, no permanent shift will occur.
In this article I’d like to share my growing realization that many change therapies are unsuccessful over the long term. Real change, real healing, only occurs when we invite a power greater than ourselves to enter our wounds and release us.
To help explain and differentiate this spiritual approach to healing, let me share my personal and professional experience that many forms of psychotherapy are a form of behavioral gymnastics wherein, by determined intent, folk are encouraged to make healthier choices. Such practices can help curb certain behavior, but don’t necessarily heal the wound leading to the behavior. Change is often incomplete and/or short term.
Other forms of psychotherapy enable us to touch the pain of our wound, yet as helpful as this is, the wound, though better known, can still have power in one’s life.
The healing process, to be most effective, must work to remove the inner wound. And this, as I am learning, is a spiritual task.
Initially, healing work is begun through self-evaluation and introspection (traditional counseling may assist well at this point). But the ongoing work is more of a prayerful journey. Wherein we ‘release’ our wounds by inviting Spirit (or a power greater than our own) to remove its influence.
This approach can sound flaky (full of spiritual rhetoric). It has taken me a long time to move towards it. But even traditional psychology is no longer denying the value of what I call ‘spiritual medicine’.
There is much needing to be understood about this topic. An increasing amount of mainstream research is being done on it.
My wording may not exactly reflect how this phenomenon is documented, but there is, as I see it, no denying that Spirit is finding it’s way into traditional healing practices.
In my experience, when we release our wounds to Spirit, over time, with patience and affirming support, the behaviors associated with our wounds are gradually replaced with a desire to live with increased compassion.
We wake to find ourselves managing unbelievable circumstances that once tripped us up…living from within our own skin, confident that all is well and all will be well.
Our healed lives may not be what we expected…just trust, they will be better then we could have asked or imagined !