Introduction


The diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis was bestowed upon me at the first of the year. I was told by well-meaning friends that it was not such a terrible pronouncement. Everyone knew someone  who was performing brilliantly with an MS label. However, having that stamp  applied to me was horrifying. It took me three months to accept the news. 

The medical personnel I encountered along the way were more than competent, highly efficient, and caring. They had seen MS patients deteriorate and knew what to expect. They told me to remove my throw rugs, to use a cane, and to rest. No one said, "And this will happen to you, also," but the expectation was clear. I felt defeated.

At the urging of two close friends I started journal writing. I have journaled extensively over my professional career as a psychologist and an author. All of my books originated with a journal entry. I've worked through feelings, cleared my thoughts, and anchored myself with journal writing. It has given me a way to cope with uncomfortable life events. This diagnosis presented the most intimidating challenge I've faced.

Journal writing invites the unconscious to come forth. I create a space by sitting at my computer, focusing my attention, and opening to receive words or images or feelings. I have learned to respect the wisdom of my unconscious. I received my doctorate in 1976 and have practiced individual psychotherapy since then. I watch as healing emerges from the confusion or anger or pain that clients bring. Certainly, I have witnessed this unconscious healing process in myself, also. When I wait for my unconscious to lead me, I observe my thoughts and feelings and record what I notice in my journal.  I don't introduce an intellectual component; I just pay attention. And then I write what I observe. Always I am surprised by the unfolding. And delighted. Our inner worlds hold such depth and intricacy and mystery. They lead us to a healing our minds can't predict.

So, over this background of trust for my inner world direction, I introduce the diagnosis of MS with my reactions of frustration, sadness, fear, confusion, surprise, and, eventually, determination. Finally, I welcomed this diagnosis as an opportunity. 

I wrote often, I meditated, and I used my background as a psychologist to structure my observations. I don't encourage dwelling in the past, but as the unconscious heals it resolves old wounds and mistaken beliefs. I noticed that, allowed it, and watched it pass. My appreciation for my psychodynamics made sense of my experience. 

I, also, used my knowledge of the Enneagram, a tool for psychological and spiritual healing and transformation. This test points out specifically and clearly the blocks, challenges, dynamics, and strengths for each of us. This is the done in the context of "types." We each fall into one of nine types with its own motivations and insights and blind spots. When we learn our type, we recognize the distortions in our thinking and perceptions and maintain a more objective stance in regards to our inner world. Each type experiences healing and transformation by meditating. 

Meditation invites a powerful healing intervention from an unknown Source. When we meditate we allow the unconscious to guide us in a slightly altered state. In journal writing the conscious mind cooperates with the unconscious by recording the words, images, feelings, and thoughts. When we meditate we ask the conscious mind to wait outside the door and we create a space for the unconscious to move. We observe, we allow, and, always, we stay present. Daily meditation brings healing shifts into our lives all through the week, not only while we sit. We invite the Universe to partner with us and the Universe always says, Yes.

Working with the unconscious on both a personal and a transpersonal level has led to an evolution of my thinking about spirituality. Reality is greater than we can understand. We participate in the whole from our individual perspective. The Abraham/Hicks material has lent an immensely helpful structure to my understanding. Thoughts create reality. This is good news since we can change our thoughts at will. But it is not always simple or easy. Unconscious psychodynamics intervene. Our commitment to meditation empowers our self-awareness by showing us those psychodynamics. We don't have to understand what happens in meditation; the Universe does its work without our input. We just need to get in the chair and meditate.

In Part One, I share my journal writing for seven months. I invite you to walk with me as I experience and learn. In Part Two I offer you support in your journey. The first section focuses on good mental health practices from a psychological viewpoint. The second section offers guidance about committing to your meditation practice. The third section presents some thoughts about self-affirming spiritual practices. I offer you these thoughts to apply to your own experience.

These pages recount the most powerful days of my life. I wish you power and wisdom and clarity in your journey. 

 

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