Face looking through chains

In our Psychological & Spiritual Therapy column, therapist Jack Surguy is offering professional advice to The Mindful Word readers for all those questions and problems you have wanted to discuss with someone qualified and caring.

If you would like Jack to assist you in any areas of your life and relationships, fill out this form. He will respond to your questions through this column, normally published every Tuesday.

QUESTION


Dear Sir,

Often, I feel something entering into my body. At this time, someone will come into my mind and I feel that it’s his energy. Sometimes it feels very hard and sometimes it feels pleasant. I think I’m feeling someone’s aura. But the thing is, I want to be in my own aura.

I’m really frustrated with this. What I don’t get is whether it’s all in my mind, or the real thing. Often, I feel I’m reading others’ minds. When I look at any girls or boys, they laugh.

Really, I’m having a rough time. Nothing’s going right. If I’m alone, I feel comfortable. In crowds, I feel differently at different times. Please guide me as to what to do.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Sid, 28, India

ANSWER


Dear Sid,

Thank you for your question. The issue that you’re struggling with is a somewhat difficult one to address.

Experiences typical of culture or community?


One of the factors that psychologists often consider when presented with possible spiritual issues or extrasensory experiences, such as auras, is whether the experiences are typical of the culture or community to which a certain person belongs.

For example, many groups in the United States report seeing or hearing spiritual beings during their religious meetings or ceremonies. These experiences are often considered positive and, most of the time, are welcomed and even sought after by the practitioners.

While some may question the validity of the experiences themselves, it would be inappropriate to label someone with a psychiatric diagnosis because they experienced things accepted as valid within their community. Of course, there are limits to this, as with everything.

However, if a person started hearing or seeing spiritual beings, and the experience fell outside of their community-accepted experiences while also causing them distress, then possible psychiatric causes should be explored.

Is the experience normal for us?


Another factor to consider in such situations is whether the experience would be considered ego-syntonic or ego-dystonic.

An ego-syntonic experience occurs when our thoughts, behaviours, emotions and feelings are in harmony with our self-image. We believe they’re the types of thoughts, behaviours, emotions and feelings we typically have, and aren’t out of the ordinary.

On the other hand, an ego-dystonic experience occurs when our thoughts, behaviours, emotions and feelings aren’t what we would consider “normal” for us. Ego-dystonic experiences cause us distress and we typically seek ways to prevent ourselves from having these experiences as often or as intensely.

Does it cause positive or negative change?


Having had the fortune to study under a psychologist who was very open to spiritual and extrasensory experiences, one other factor I was taught to explore is whether the experiences are causing positive or negative changes within a person’s life.

In other words, if a person claims they’re hearing the voice of God but continues to lie, cheat and steal from others, then it’s doubtful that the experiences are “real.” However, there’s also the case of a person with whom I’m acquainted, who was shot seven times and left for dead after a drug deal went bad. He changed his entire life and entered the ministry because he claimed Jesus spoke with him as he was dying. This experience has more credibility.

In reading your question, it’s not possible for me to know whether your experiences are a part of your culture or community. Any statements I’d make about them would be based solely on conjecture and wouldn’t be beneficial.

Community and connection with others


missing puzzle pieceHowever, I believe from your statements that it’s reasonable to conclude that the experiences you’re having are causing you significant distress and are resulting in more negative than positive consequences in your life. Perhaps, most importantly, it appears that the experiences are separating you from other people and making you suspicious of them.

It’s when people feel separate from and alienated from others that the possibility of violent acts greatly increases.

I personally believe that whenever a person is being separated from their community due to negative experiences, it’s rarely a good thing. Indeed, it’s when people feel separate from and alienated from others that the possibility of violent acts greatly increases.

Community and connection with others are components of almost all the great religious and spiritual traditions. Whenever a push for separation or disengagement from others due to negative reasons has been urged, negative or even tragic events have soon followed.

Seek professional help


From what you’ve stated, Sid, my suggestion is that you should seek professional help from trained individuals with experience in treating such matters. Your statement that whenever you look at any girls or boys, they laugh at you, sounds too much like the paranoia often experienced by those suffering from a mental illness.

I want to emphatically state that I’m in no way saying that you’re mentally ill or suggesting you have any psychiatric or psychological diagnosis. However, I’m strongly suggesting that you speak with a mental health professional in your area.

Connect with others


You’re suffering, Sid, and you’re suffering in a way that’s disrupting your ability to effectively relate to others—neither one of these are good things.

Instead of withdrawing from society and your community, I recommend that you find ways to connect with others who may be experiencing similar things. The connections that you make with others, even through negative experiences, can be extremely positive and life-changing.

Life and happiness are found in connection with our communities, both locally and worldwide. I strongly urge you to seek help in regard to addressing your issues and cultivating your ability to connect with others—after all, that’s what life’s all about!

image 1. Pixabay 2. Pixabay