What is spirituality?
Very simply put spirituality is the core of our belief systems. These belief systems are often based on deities, supernatural forces, or universal energies. The purpose of which is to provide a deeper meaning for our physical existence. Furthermore, the need to define our existence beyond the five senses is deeply rooted in the fundamental development and differentiation of our id into the ego and super-ego.
- So, why is spirituality so deeply rooted in our human development? To answer this question we need to first look deeper into the psychic connections we form as infants. These psychical connections, as you will see, form the core of our spiritual “self”. They in fact truly determine our ability to differentiate between good and bad.
- Now let us take a look at why the need to understand or define our existence starts in our infancy. As our id develops and the ego evolves from it we are able to differentiate between “self” and “other” by forming the “repressed”. The “repressed” is formed during the Primary Repression phase of our development and is cut off from the ego via repression.
However, the repressed may still be accessed via the id. During this period of development we also form our ability to differentiate between good and bad. Furthermore, this ability to differentiate between good and bad forms the core of our spiritual nature by creating the means of forming the super ego.
Secondary repression brings about the formation of the super-ego. This is primarily caused by the anxiety produced, in direct response, to certain desires. This anxiety acts as a negative stimulus or punishment and causes the desire to become repressed. Once the threat of negative stimulus has been internalized it forms the super-ego.
This evolution from the somatic instinctual id into the “evolved” id/ego/super-ego complex is the ongoing developmental process that leads to the formation of our adult spiritual belief system. In addition this spiritual belief system allows relief of ongoing stress and anxiety without forming complex neurotic coping mechanisms of continued repression.
So, it should be apparent that spirituality not only gives a deeper meaning to our existence but also provides an important outlet for stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety unchecked or repressed wreaks disastrous consequences, in our lives. Leading to unhealthy neurosis with devastating repercussions.
Consequently, without spirituality we would truly be a society of neurotic individuals with a plethora of maladaptive personality traits. These personality traits can manifest them selves in many forms. From anti-social behaviour to alcoholism the list of potential pathologies are beyond the scope of this article.
- So, embracing spirituality is not only morally right but also a healthy practice. Whether you choose to worship a deity or talk to a tree for spiritual guidance the ability to transcend this world by unplugging your inner self and connecting it to an external “force” is an integral part of good mental health. It allows us to release the stress and anxiety that we cannot handle or process. Thus discharging it in a healthy manner rather than repressing or “stuffing it” to fester and malinger.
- In summation spirituality is not only the core of our belief systems. Even though spirituality does form the core component of our religious and cultural beliefs. It also is an essential component of our psyche. Even more importantly spirituality forms the core of our psychical ability to cope with stress and anxiety, in a socially acceptable manner.
Author: Frederick Gimino
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