What’s The True Meaning of Spirituality?
Hi visitors and Feeling Good website members,
When I was on a bus back to Amherst College after a long weekend break in the early 1960s, I scribbled out a poem for a creative writing class, since an assignment was due the next morning. However, I had the flu and a fever while writing the poem, so it was a bit incoherent, and I wasn’t even clear on what the poem was about, or what it meant.
Surprisingly, the teacher distributed the poem to the class for discussion, and the other students suggested that the poem was about Emily Dickinson, who had lived in Amherst in the mid-1800s. I greatly admired her work and used to visit her grave with a couple other Amherst students. One time, I knocked on the front door of the house where she had lived so long ago, and the owners let me in to look around.
Surprisingly, my poem was later published under the title, “Emily,” in a book of poems about Emily Dickinson by American poets. The book was entitled: Emily Dickinson—Letters from the World.
The book was inspired by one of Emily Dickinson’s famous poems, which begins:
This is my letter to the World,
That never wrote to Me
Now we have a touching letter from the world for our beloved Marilyn Coffee, PhD, who inspired so many of you with her courageous live personal work on several Feeling Good Podcasts during 2017. I hope you enjoy this wonderful note!
Here’s the letter:
My name is Kent. I listened to the podcast the other week where you and Dr. Burns did TEAM therapy. First, I want to thank you so much for being willing to do the podcast.
At one point in the process, you said that you hoped that by doing the therapy in a public way, people who were struggling with depression / grief / anger etc. could be helped. You have helped me so much, and now I feel so blessed to have your session as a resource for anyone who is isolated, afraid, angry and feeling alone.
While listening to your session, I kept thinking about a friend of mine who committed suicide this last year. Now I know that he was completely clobbered by distortions. Also, he grew up in a very religious family and a great deal of his guilt came from theological distortions. He would have been so helped, I see that now.
I have struggled with faith all my life. In this last year, I have struggled with terrible insomnia and so much guilt and anger. I went to seminary for eight years; this only added to my feelings that I “should” be closer to God, more selfless, holy, etc. If I was a truly spiritual person, I wouldn’t be struggling with doubt, anger or fear.
It’s a long story, but so much in my life fell apart a year ago that my body just couldn’t take my attempts at keeping everything all together. I never fought the ideas in my head, why would you fight the truth?
Because of you, I am starting to see distortions for what they are, lies that look and feel so real. I looked up a picture of you and David Burns last night to get the correct spelling of your name. I just wanted you to know that you are etched in my mind now as a spiritual warrior.
Your willingness to openly share your dark night with us helps us see what true spirituality looks like. Your honesty and vulnerability help to demolish the commonly held belief that truly spiritual people do not suffer. But you guys also showed us that in the end, pain and suffering is not all there is and that it will not have the last word.
Maybe it’s not ironic that I’m writing this the Saturday morning after Good Friday. When I struggle now, I not only have your honesty and bravery in my memory, I can listen to the recording to be reminded how to fight distortions and not get sucked in the undertow!
You are in my heart, thoughts and prayers and I am forever grateful.
With much respect,
Catch the David and Jill Show on OCD, part 2, today, April 1, 2018 at 3 PM
On today’s live FB broadcast, I will be joined by Dr. Jill Levitt and Mike Christensen for our part two discussion on the treatment of OCD. You can catch it live at 3 PM, West Coast Time, or anytime later on. The recording will be available on the website indefinitely.
Next week, special guest Stephen Pfleiderer will join me at 3 PM to discuss new approaches to the treatment of addictions, especially drug and alcohol abuse. You can see Stephen below on one of my Sunday hikes.
How to Find My FB Broadcasts
Click on my Facebook tab on https://feelinggood.com/ if you’d like to watch me each week on my Live Facebook broadcast each Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. PST. Make sure to “like” my Public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnsMD/ so you can watch it on my page or yours.
Join me as I answer mental health questions from viewers — therapists and non-therapists alike — from all over the world. Type your question in the Facebook feed and I’ll do my best to answer it.
If you miss the broadcast you can watch the saved videos on my Facebook page! Also, viewers can watch these Live Facebook broadcasts as well as other interesting TEAM-CBT videos on the Feeling Good Institute’s YouTube channel!
The David and Fabrice Feeling Good Podcasts
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