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As noted elsewhere, if you are emotionally sick the affects will manifest physically. Similarly, if you are mentally sick, both your emotional and physical well-being will be affected. Likewise, if you are spiritually sick there will be detrimental impact to your physical, emotional and mental well-being. This is the most serious type of sickness because its affects are so widespread.
We have shown that our spiritual qualities come from us using our higher mental faculties of the prefrontal cortex to their full extent. Most people don’t, and most people are suffering spiritually and this is affecting all aspects of our lives. Here are some examples:
- Apathy and listlessness – a lack of feeling, emotion or concern for our social, spiritual or physical life. Apathetic people lack a sense of purpose or meaning in their life, and they may have no motivation, concern, passion or excitement. It is different to being “thick-skinned” and being able to deal with situations “like water off a duck’s back“. Apathy is a symptom of not being able to cope with stress (see discussion on stress later on this page), ie the problem-solving, strategising and planning functions of the Executive Brain are unable to handle the situations in life.
- Depression , despair, melancholy, lack of joy – this could be viewed as an emotional or mental issue, and that is how it may manifest as negative thoughts and low motivation, but the roots are deeper and a result of spiritual sickness. The affect on the person can manifest as insomnia (lack of sleep) or excessive sleeping, fatigue, aches, pains, digestive problems and reduced energy (physical, emotional and mental bodies). Treatment often involves re-uptake inhibitors especially for serotonin (such as Prozac). Meditation is also an effective method of re-balancing serotonin and the other brain chemicals, but its effectiveness builds up slowly over time; it isn’t a quick fix. The ultimate cure lies in addressing the underlying spiritual cause.
- Procrastination – Nearly everyone regularly avoids doing certain things for various reasons – not doing the cleaning one week, or putting off going to the dentist for a few months when finances are tight. But here we are describing a deeper problem – regularly and deliberately avoiding dealing with tasks which should be done. The problem-solving abilities of the Executive Brain are not being properly invoked. The person is overload and under stress. Procrastination is the coping mechanism. Spiritually healthy people do not procrastinate. Spiritually healthy people are never late for meetings.
- Discrimination and decision-making – related to procrastination, sometimes the issues is not knowing what to do. We are faced with a situation and we cannot decide what the right course of action is. This relates to the discriminatory faculties, the Buddhi or wisdom aspect. This is a higher brain function, and if it isn’t working properly then we’ll make the wrong decision, or not make any decision at all. The lead characters in a number of Shakespearean plays deal with this – Hamlet’s inability to take action (“to be or not to be“, and King Lear making the wrong decision).
Religious institutions sometimes define things like pride, greed, envy, etc as spiritual sickness, but these are really the vices or deadly sins (behaviours or habits) and often do not necessarily have a spiritual root. They are usually related to the appetites of the physical body. If we are spiritually healthy (and few of us are) then the benefits will radiate throughout our lower mental, emotional and physical bodies. We want to be physically, emotionally and mentally healthy but above all we need to be spiritually healthy. Being spiritually healthy means using our higher mental faculties properly.