“It is now clear to me, spiritual thought transcends matter …. the power of what is in you permeates the world around you.” Barbara Streisand
Elihu alerts us to the fact there’s another imbalance waiting to be redressed – our lack of awareness of the ubiquitous human spirit. It’s as though we are so close to it we are functionally blind to it, a classic case of not being able to see the wood for the trees.
In his book Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife Eben , Alexander wrote, “Our eternal spiritual self is more real than anything we perceive in this physical realm, and has a divine connection to the infinite love of the Creator.”
Our eternal spirit is more real than anything we can touch and feel.
We are body, soul and spirit and we need to recognise we have impulses and influences from every one of these three sources. There is a remarkable interaction between these three discrete influences. For some time now we’ve recognised how the body influences the soul and the soul influences the sense of well being of the psyche. In medicine it is called the psychosomatic phenomenon.
For centuries the most sensitive and creative amongst us, particularly in the Western world, have been aware that something has been missing from our existence. This awareness of an absence has fuelled some of our greatest works of literature and art. What is this existential ache, and what is the role of the spirit in our almost unconscious quest for completeness?
Are we too close to it, to see the most profound factor in the human personality?
The recognition of this animating dynamic within our personality will bring an awareness of the unique place it should have in our study of sociology, psychology, medicine, theology and philosophy.
Scott Peck in his book Further Along the Road Less Travelled said of psychiatry and the healing of souls: “We are all spiritual beings, and I believe that a psychiatry which does not regard humans as spiritual beings may be largely missing the boat.”
The spirit has a special place in informing our conscience and our finding a sense of fulfilment and purpose. It is the location of our unique telos or path to completion and well-being. Our spirit gives us the capacity to identify with the general source of spiritual intelligence, the kind of wisdom that illuminates the human experience.
Discovering our source of human illumination
If as Elihu says “It is the spirit in a man that gives understanding,” this source of wisdom has significant implications for the way we engage with the whole of life. It has profound implications for the way we manage everything from our families right through to economies. It should be foundational in the way we think about how we do business, education, politics, and therapy, and the way we work with communities and nations. It will inform the way we work productively with people who have been in disasters, as well as the way we help people survive emotional trauma and the way we rebuild hope in communities.
Hi Mal, I haven’t read all the other Elihu posts, so I may be missing things already spoken of. Re this exerpt I agree with a lot of what’s said. But two thoughts: Eben Alexander’s comment for me tends to separate our spiritual self from the body & soul in an eternal sense. This fits in with some current (& older) theological thinking that there is not a physical resurrection. What do you think on this issue?
Secondly, when reading “For centuries the most sensitive and creative amongst us, particularly in the Western world, have been aware that something has been missing from our existence” it makes me wonder who you see as your audience? Are you referring to our existence collectively as a society? I would suggest that many people do, and have over the centuries, expressed their spirituality through creating ‘works of literature and art’, and that many, increasingly in the West, do already “identify with the general source of spiritual intelligence, the kind of wisdom that illuminates the human experience”. I do see your focus on the search for existential existence, but to me you don’t seem to be speaking into the broad spiritual awareness I see in our society today.
I know so many women who avoid connecting with men – by choice or unconsciously – because they don’t want to experience rejection. If you don’t accept – even welcome – rejection, your dream of meeting a life partner will most surely never materialize. It will keep you from getting out there and giving it your best.