WHAT IS A PSYCHOLOGICALLY HEALTHY SPIRITUALITY

© Paschal Baute, 1992, revised 1994



A PSYCHOLOGICALLY HEALTHY SPIRITUALITY (= S.)

...does not see S. as the magic solution to all of life's problems or those one is unwilling to face ("God will do it for me").

...has a sense of humor and is able to laugh and poke fun at oneself.

...does not employ rituals, like attending church on Sunday, to create a sense of superiority or security.

...does not use S. to avoid intimacy/autonomy/conflict/accountability, or standing on one's own feet; does not use S. to detach from the vulnerability of being human.

...does not look for an all-knowing parent or an authority ready with answers to all problems to escape self-responsibility.

...requires a foundation of personal integrity and honesty based on self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and a willingness to accept reality.

...is marked by wholeness, compassion, openness, humility & respect for others.

...is neither rigorously ascetic nor indulgent with sex, food, money, power, etc.

...is often passionate about life and some project dealing with peace and justice.

...tempers spiritual ambition with imperfect reality of ordinary life.

...does not abandon the need for critical thought and insight.

...holds honesty with oneself as a core value of life, and therefore is committed to regular self-examination.

...refuses all self-elevation and any devaluing of others' paths.

...regards everyone, regardless of differences or status in life as a potential teacher.

...enjoys healthy, warm, loving and game-free relationships.

...views all forms of "specialness" or giftedness as an obstacle to true humility.

...accepts imperfections and flaws of our humanity as instructive and redemptive.

...is seldom isolated from a community of fellow seekers.

...often results in compassionate prayer or action for peace and justice.

...accepts that is often through pain, failure, or crisis that we are brought to a deeper spirituality.

...knows the journey can seldom be taken safely alone without some guide or mentor, even if it is only sacred writing, or still better a person of some experience and wisdom; realizes the danger of religious enthusiasm without a guide.

...recognizes that the spiritual journey is beset with many pitfalls, traps, and illusions and is willing to test one's "leadings" with others.

...does not make an idol out of any religious symbol, object, project, or practice, nor out of one's own religious path.

...must be ready to give witness, but never pass judgment on those whose convictions conflict with our own; seeks the truth and stands for it with passion but never acts as if one has exclusive claim upon truth or morality; may never ever claim that its conviction, however deep, binds the conscience of another.

...knows, really knows, that no moral crisis can ever dispense people of conscience from full respect for the freedom and responsibility of every other conscience.

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