Why Psychological Health Requires a Spiritual Connection


I asked this question recently on my personal Facebook page - can one be psychologically healthy without an authentic spiritual connection?

The answers were as controversial as the question; but it's a passionate topic for obvious reasons.

First, we have to define what "psychological healthy" and "spiritual connection" mean.

If one's psyche is strong and stable, it means there's at least a partial ability to adapt to life's stresses and curveballs. It doesn't mean one is always happy, without anger, or sans depression. It simply means one is able to navigate those challenging spaces without a massive crisis. HuffPo writer Douglas LaBier has a fantastic blog about the true definition of psychological health that is very much worth the read.

Next, let's tackle the meaning of a spiritual connection. Simple is best here. This simply indicates that one has a connection with something outside of their own ego or mind. That could mean a truly intimate connection to another human being. To nature. To a certain constellation or even an ideal. It can even mean having a profound connection to one's own breath or body. Spirituality is literally everywhere; the key is the awareness of this connection, and a feeling that it is sacred. It is not crucial that one believe in God to be spiritual. 

Religion and spirituality are also not the same thing. One can be both religious and spiritual, but one does not necessitate the other. We all know (or are) spiritual folks who are very non-religious. But there are many millions of religious folks that simply follow a doctrine with zero emotional connection. That is not spiritual in the least.

True Breakdowns of the Psyche are Always Spiritual Issues

The connection between spirituality and psychological health is a truly profound relationship. Carl Jung is perhaps the most learned and eloquent teacher of this bond.  He stated that a psychological problem is always a matter of religion (which can be used interchangeably with spirituality here.)

The reason is deceptively simple: A connection to something beyond our egos is the tether that creates a space of ok-ness. If all we identify with is the perception of self, and the mind's dialogue, when that space turns dark, we ARE the chaos. There is no separation. And this can ultimately lead to delusion and madness. A spiritually aware being - to whatever degree - has the capacity to take a more detached and big picture perspective. It doesn't mean we DO, it just means we CAN.

In other words, a spiritually aware individual can (and does) still have breakdowns and all manner of "negative" emotions. The more deeply they are connected to their spiritual awareness, however, the more graceful they are riding these waves. It's not about making these very human rites of passage disappear, it's about being OK with the fact that they exist at all.

The Fragility of the Disconnected Soul

Someone without any sort of spiritual connection is at the mercy of their own minds. They are still fully identified with "I", and as such, everything is personal. Without any awareness of other perspectives, there can be no authentic psychological stability.

The spiritual connection I'm speaking of here can be incredibly subtle, without an ounce of religious dogma - but something outside of ego is necessary in order for us to truly be sane. Without a connection, we are rocks in a tumbler. With a connection, we are the rocks, and the tumbler, and the energy creating the movement, and the strong, sturdy ground that holds the whole beautifully chaotic mess in a warm embrace.