I have spoken to a few clients about the concept of "soul loss." It's a concept that comes from when we have lost sight of our purpose and connection in life. We’ve been on “autopilot” and not paying attention and being mindful of what was happening. We make decisions based on what other people want us to do and not what we truly want.
Awareness about this can happen when something big happens and we realize we’ve been blind to our lives. Sometimes that’s a relationship problem, a loss of a job, a death, or even a near death experience.
Lissa Rankin is a medical doctor who puts Soul Loss into great perspective: Soul Loss
A lot of other doctors would define this as depression and give out medication. However, medication does not truly get to the deeper issues.
So then the question is, what can you do about it? There are no clear cut ways but here are some things to think about:
First it is important to acknowledge and become more aware of this. Don't judge! Just become more aware.
Realize what led you to this point. Again, don't judge, just make some realizations.
Recognize the feelings that come up from this realization.
Ask yourself, what kind of meaning/lessons can you learn from these past experiences? And not just "i shouldnt do that again" but really think about the meaning behind the experiences, positive and helpful meanings. And think of the positive and helpful lessons you can gain from the past.
Then you can focus on the changes. But remember in order to make changes you have to be READY, WILLING and feel like you're ABLE to make them!
I have recommended meditation as part of daily practice to most, if not all, of my clients. Meditation has been shown to help with alertness, awareness and attention span. It has been known to help with compassion and positive emotions. I believe that all children should use meditation in their daily lives, especially in the school environment. We, as a society, are so focused on the go-go-go mentality that we forget to sit and just be with ourselves. There are many of us who find it extremely difficult to sit and just breathe. So I ask: What are we avoiding? What are we scared of? What's really going on within ourselves? Let's take the risk and maybe we can truly find peace and happiness: How to Meditate without Judgment
The article below speaks about how much meditation can alter the brain for more happiness, compassion, positive emotions and less fear and anxiety. Monk study
Another great TED talk is Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability. I mention it a lot in therapy. "Brene Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share."
You may also want to check out her new book - The Gifts of Imperfection where she goes in detail about authenticity and being who you are instead of of "who you are supposed to be." Book Link
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
I have spoken a lot recently in my therapy on attachment and its involvement in unhappiness. Buddhism teaches that the end of suffering is through non-attachment. We attach ourselves to people, things, jobs, in order to gain something from them. It is our expectations of those attachments that bring us the most suffering. We cling to these things so strongly that we lose sight of ourselves.
For instance: We ask our husband to provide us with the happiness that we feel we cannot provide ourselves. We look to the job to give us meaning that we feel we do not have without it. We think our car will give us status, making us feel important and worthwhile. We need to ask ourselves “How much am I using these ideas/things/people to provide me with happiness when I am feeling a void of happiness for myself?”
We forget that we, ourselves, can be happy without craving and clinging to those things.
But we cannot live in a world without attachment. We all have relationships, things we own, jobs we go to, etc. Buddhism is not suggesting that you give up those things. It states that you cannot expect that those attachments will provide you with anything more than suffering. We have to be more mindful and aware. We can all look at our attachments in a different way: to look at these things are enriching our lives, not providing value to them.
I recently watched a TED talk about the Psychology of Evil by Philip Zimbardo. He was the leader of the Stanford Prison Experiment from 1971 that showed the ability for "good" people to turn "evil." I have discussed this in therapy to help clients gain understanding for how people behave. You may have chosen bad behaviors in you past or you have people in your life who have changed in a negative way. We all have the ability to do bad things if we are not aware and mindful of who we are individuals and the morals we stand for. People can get "caught up" in the action of the group, not realizing the feelings and actions of themselves, as individuals. Be mindful of who you are!
Philip Zimbardo promotes building heroes through the Heroic Imagination Project.
And it starts in childhood. Stand Up. Speak Out. Change the World. Click here
How does it feel to heal your inner wounds? What does it mean to be fully alive?