More on Harmful Faith
Updated: Dec 4, 2022
When One is Struggling
Recently someone I know had gone to a weeklong intensive residential class directed at healing and counseling. Before they went, they explained to the director that they had some physical challenges that had to be considered. A form was sent to them which they filled out, and they were then assured their needs would be met. The facility was a long way from home on the West Coast, so once the commitment was made there was no turning back. As well there were no refunds. When the person got to facility it became clear that there was no special consideration for them there at all. In fact, the person had to hire someone at the facility to help them, and then go out on their own to get the things they needed.
What ended up transpiring is that basically the person was ostracized from the rest of the group. It was apparent this person was struggling, and it became clear that the others in the group were turned off by the struggles. In several conversations it was implied that perhaps there was something this person had “done” and that these struggles were “lessons” to teach this person or “correct” them in some way. This added a layer of stress to an already stressful situation. While the person got through the class, it was difficult and lonely emotionally for them.
My reaction to this is sadness and disappointment at the people involved with this. Here is a group of people who are in a class to learn how to heal and counsel, and right under their noses is someone they could both help heal and counsel! Instead of seeing this as an opportunity not only to learn, but also to practice what they are learning, and in effect practice what they preach, they ended up ostracizing the person, and as well blaming them for their struggles instead.
I have spoken about this before, but I will reiterate that pop psychology should not be excused or tolerated to shame, blame, or in any other way suggest that someone is responsible for their struggles. There is no excuse to ostracize, invalidate, or in any other way diminish someone simply because they are having challenges. In fact, personally I applaud this person for their courage and persistence. They not only took a long airplane trip, but they withstood all that was thrown at them and stayed through until the end. They did not let their struggles stop them, nor did they give up. This is the mark of true courage. I do not believe that they did anything wrong. Furthermore, I do not believe there was any reason or justification for the behavior of others in that group. If there was a “lesson” at all, it was not for that person but for that group of people. This group failed the lesson in my opinion. The lesson would have been to reach out to this person, to be a support, and to be humbled by the opportunity presented to be the healers they ostensibly were learning to be. We must practice not only healing and compassion but common sense. Instead of pseudo psychology, blame, and shame, we must practice unconditional love and acceptance. Common sense would dictate that if someone is having challenges, we should not add to those challenges but instead attempt to ease them with understanding and compassion.
There seems to be this assumption that if one works with healing, then one must be healed themselves and have little to no challenges. This is an absurd notion and a harmful one. If we live in human form, we will have challenges. Let us then remember to practice compassion and leave pseudo psychology and the ideas of shame and blame at the door where they belong.
Author’s note: Here again we have another example of harmful faith. When we are healing, or teaching healing we need to put our constructs, our expectations, and certainly our ego at the door. We are not psychologists, and to try to use pop psychology is a shame/blame or fear mentality against someone who is suffering is very destructive not to mention plain wrong. Our egos need to be left at the door along with any sort of judgments about the person. As I said this would have been a perfect opportunity for these students of healing to practice their skills and help this person instead of leaving them alone and ostracized. When faith becomes a bludgeon rather than a positive affirmation of wellness, wholeness, acceptance, and love, it is no longer faith but something else entirely. Faith never wavers. It stands in the gap between that which seen and the unseen. Faith always expects the best, it always hopes, it always edifies and lifts. Faith does not invest in negative outcomes, but rather manifests the positive ones, and the highest ones for that soul.
From my book Dreams and Visions the Fire in my Soul