Diseases can manifest at two levels within our heart. The more commonly attributed diseases cause a malfunction within the physical muscle and ailments often require medical intervention. I am not a doctor. I am a Psychotherapist and the diseases that I am concerned with cause malfunction at a non-tangible level; within our spiritual heart.
I believe that all humans have a natural inclination to do good, and it’s when we go against this nature that we cause ourselves emotional and psychological distress. How we do this is by lying, cheating, stealing, backbiting and causing upset to others. It hurts our soul and can create sickness in the spiritual heart. This can cause us to feel uneasy and not at peace with ourselves. Often such feelings can overwhelm us and develop into psychological conditions including stress, anxiety and depression.
The ‘7 deadly sins’ are a familiar term used within most of the major world faiths and each one can cause physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual distress to individuals engaging in them. Lets examine each one in relation to the self:
- 1 Gluttony-excess in eating and drinking/over-consumption of substances
What is your vice? Chocolate? Cigarettes? Drugs? Food? Alcohol? We all have something in this we can relate to, examine what your vice of choice is and how it impacts on your life.
- 2 Lust, fornication-to have an intense desire or need sexually and act on it. Includes sexuality in all its forms, Adultery, infidelity, unfaithfulness.
We live in a culture of here and now- instant gratification of desires, how does this impact on your life? How has it affected your personal relationships?
- 3 Avarice/greed– overindulging with a continual lust for more, financial miserliness and hoarding. Excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness.
Why is it that no matter how much we have we always want more? We live in a materialistic world and the consumer industry is constantly bombarding us with adverts showing us what we don’t have and what we could own… for a price. How does this affect your life? Are you a slave to your whims?
- 4 Pride, hubris– quality or state of being proud — inordinate self esteem.
This is not the pride that one takes in themselves for achievements made through great personal sacrifice but a pride that is boastful, arrogant and makes one feel superior to others. Can you relate to this in any way? Have you been around such a person, if so how did it make you feel? Have you presented this way towards others- if so how did others react to you?
- 5 Sloth-disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous.
Are you active, or do you suffer with low mood and low energy? What is causing this? health issues/personal circumstances/ habits/ lifestyle choices? How can it be improved?
- 6 Wrath- strong vengeful anger or indignation.
It takes so much more energy to hate than to love. The power of hate can eat into a soul and destroy it like a fire through crackling wood. Granted nobody likes everybody. However it is when we are wronged that we become angry/hurt and may lash out and hate back. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it does prevent their behavior from destroying your heart.
- 7 Envy — painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.
Have you ever wanted something that belongs to somebody else? Wished it away from them or harbored ill feelings towards them because of it? How has this impacted on your life? Have you been the victim of another persons envy? How did that feel?
Looking at the list above many can identify at least one ‘sin’ they have engaged in and as humans we are not perfect, we have all ‘sinned’ at one point or another. Interestingly if you were to take each of the above points and reverse them with the opposite meaning. For example Gluttony would be replaced with eating and living healthily, this would appear to have more beneficial effects on the human condition. Each has its place in the world just as there is darkness there is light, it’s how we manage them that counts.
Everybody has the capacity to do great good and great evil, its the free will with which we decide to act that makes the difference between good and bad. Ultimately we are all responsible and accountable for our own actions. In keeping with this we can also have a great influence over one another to promote or de-value things in life. It’s all a matter of perspective and how we choose to interpret matters.
So who’s version of ‘normal’ is acceptable and where do we draw the line when it comes to morals and values? Is it as simple as saying one thing is right and the other wrong just to create a level of order in society? Or is the prism of life so vast in color that there is no real way to classify things? Culture, faith and upbringing all play a part and are factors in determining how we view ourselves and others. However it is the relationship we have with ourselves that matters the most.
Having read all of the above I invite you now to consider the following questions:
- How do you view yourself?
- What are your morals and values?
- What do you stand for?
- Are you happy with who you are?
It’s not everyday that we reflect on such deep themes as this, but it’s important to create time within our busy lives to explore them further- for the good of our overall health and well being.
If you get stumped or can’t figure it out alone ,then therapy can support you to explore these questions and help you to uncover your authentic self, so just open your mind to the possibility of change and seek the support you need.