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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD candidate, DPhil., MA (Psychology), MA (History)

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Psychological and Spiritual Methods of Expunging Phobias from our Lives

Paul Kiritsis - Tuesday, October 15, 2013

There are various techniques we can utilize to dispel fear from the depths of our being. One group is psychological in nature, the other spiritual. Some circumstances will require that only one of the two methods is appropriated and others will require a combination of the two. While the second group is by far the most far-reaching and effective method of fear exoneration in the long-term, the short-term effects of the first are instant and advantageous enough as to offer the individual the luxury of absconding into an inner ‘panic room’ whilst alternative coping strategies are premeditated and put into action.

 

Psychological Methods   

 

1.     The first method expunging fear is through self-reflection and serious contemplation. A natural by-product of psychospiritual evolution is the perspicacity that the throne of the intellect must not be usurped by the emotions. Early in our development we are convinced that the mind is subservient to the emotions. As we begin to self-actualize this perception is modified to accommodate a psychic dualism where the mind and the emotions are co-habitants of the psyche, equal halves with neither retaining authority over the other. Under this particular spell we are convinced that the mind cannot encroach upon or dominate the expression of emotions and vice versa. Further in our inner growth, we are finally struck by the realization that the mind does have supremacy over the emotions and can transform them in a most positive, constructive manner.    

2.     The second method is classical Freudian psychoanalysis. Through free association and other psychotherapeutic methods we penetrate the unconscious and bring latent content associated with phobias into awareness.

3.     The third method involves the rechanneling or transposition of nervous energy into constructive physical activities like sport and community service. Naturally, Jung’s active imagination comes in handy here; taking the phobia and dialoguing with it until it transforms into a much less threatening sentiment. Another method of transposing nervous energy is through laughter and humour which produces endorphins in the brain and genuine feelings of beneficence and goodwill. It is possible to laugh your way to wellness and better health in the most literal sense. Finally, it helps to surround yourself with people who reverberate with positive, dynamic feelings like audacity, cheerfulness, fortitude, and mental strength.

4.      The fourth and final method involves psychagogic exercises like autosuggestions and reaffirmations aimed at lifting the morale of the individual. In fact, contemporary spirituality promulgates these specialized techniques which rearrange some of the deeper unconscious layers of the personality in which personal belief systems and biases subsist, effecting desirable changes to conscious behavioural patterns that change the trajectory of the individual’s life for the better. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is also beneficial; by gradually exposing the individual to the dreaded and anxiety-provoking stimulus, the individual comes to understand that he or she is stronger than the latter, thus reducing its efficacy to elicit a negative reaction. This is a form of programming, or reprogramming to be exact.   

 

Spiritual Methods

 

The spiritual perspective proceeds from a cosmological humus proclaiming that fears spring from general misperceptions and ignorance that include:

1.     The instinct of self-preservation, stemming from the conviction that death is a termination of self-consciousness and that there is nothing beyond it. Naturally, esoteric spirituality holds that embodiment is transitory, merely a formative phase in the evolution of our souls, and that beyond it lies an eternity of ethereal freedom.

2.      The dismantling terror of abandonment and isolation. The best way of overcoming these mental hurdles is by self-cultivation through prayer and meditation, and by redirecting attention away from oneself and onto collective communal motives and interests. People reflect their inner condition; one at peace with oneself and with the cosmos will instinctively draw more individuals whilst one at war within oneself will repel them. In any case the interconnectedness and communion of all beings in the cosmos dispels the illusion of separation; we are all connected.

3.     Extremely low levels of self-worth, self-esteem, and inferiority complexes manifest in attitudes and behaviours that result in severe social isolation and in many cases disenfranchisement. We are all equal albeit unique creations of the primordial Godhead; the sooner one realizes this the quicker he or she can begin reengaging with fellow human beings and reintegrating into society.

4.     Fears of tragedies and misfortunes that may materialize in the future. The best way to surmount them is to understand that most are irrational creations of the hyperactive imagination and never come to pass. Further, we may be assisted in our quest by affirming to ourselves the axiom, “God never inflicts personal difficulties and tragedies beyond our ability to surmount them.” We are powerful beyond all imagining; we actually underestimate our ability to transcend misfortune and calamity and end up selling ourselves short in the process. An intuitive understanding of this fact is a prevailing characteristic of wise, self-actualized, and enlightened individuals. Only through the intuitive perception and practice of cosmic intimacy, unanimity, and mutuality does consciousness expand and swallow up the destructive psychic emanations of fear; feeding joy and personal freedom is tantamount to a deflation of anxiety and phobias surrounding the unknown and the future. At this point one would do well to remember the Cherokee legend of the two wolves:

 

 

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil–it is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good–it is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

    The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

 

 

 

 

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