Spirituality in Buddhism is synonymous with the human qualities of loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity which are all expansive states of mind that connect us to something larger than ourselves. By contrast, what blocks this natural expression of our true self is the constriction of separateness that is symptomatic of existential narcissism. Buddhism is not exactly a religion in the Western sense of the term as it makes no reference to a God. It is more like a form of spiritual psychology that outlines the causes of our existential narcissism and how we can transform it. One of the central aspects of Buddhist practice is mindful meditation and its benefits have now become widely researched and applied to the psychotherapeutic setting. The practice of mindfulness is at the core of cultivating loving kindness, compassion joy and equanimity, not only for the patient/client but for the therapist as well. Therapists who have undergone extensive mindfulness practice are able to hold the therapeutic space more effectively through increasing their distress tolerance and maintaining an equilibrium of compassionate neutrality. This enables the client to enter into the present moment of their own suffering and stay with it in a sustained way that is healing for themselves. As they progress along the path of emotional regulation it also assists them to experience more of these positive emotional states as well.
Complexity theory is recognised as the New Science that conceptualises the universe as a system of communicating systems. As such, everything in the universe is better understood by exploring the dynamic, nonlinear relationships between the parts that make up the whole. Psychoanalytic Complexity Theory provides a new, but familiar contribution to contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice.
“Reliance on God” is one of the spiritual virtues and a major stage in the ascension toward God’s proximity. Its practice is highly recommended for believers (Kor.26:217). Prophet Mohammad is told: “Put your trust in God, He suffices as a guardian” (33:3). Allah also mentions that true believers put their trust in their Lord (Kor. 8:2). God calls Himself dependable, trustworthy, and manifests Himself throughout the Koran accordingly.
The area of spirituality and health is developing as an academic field of enquiry, and this new perspective is beginning to be incorporated into training programs for medical doctors and health practitioners. A cloud of suspicion hovers over the issue of ‘spirituality’ in the health and therapy professions. Part of the problem arises from the fact that a lot of activities go on under the umbrella term spirituality, and some of these warrant a critical eye. However, as an offspring of the Intellectual Enlightenment, medicine itself has had a materialist bias toward human nature, and until recently has merely bracketed out the spiritual aspects of health and healing.