What is within you is greater than your history. Your history does not need to decide your destiny unless you decide it must. – Mary Morrissey
I saw a recent Facebook post titled If You Experienced Emotional Abuse As A Child, You Probably Do These Things As An Adult”. The article was posted from a medical site by a retired CSL minister and it had a lot of useful information on how those experiences shaped current behaviors. Most of the comments posted about the article were positive and came from students of New Thought including practioners and ministers.
Someone noted that “Many use this information as a reason to be a victim all their life and blame their family the rest of their lives. It is frustrating to see them tell themselves that is their story for the rest of their life.”
As I read that comment I was reminded of a common myth promoted by many people who call themselves coaches. Many are taught to say that the difference between a coach and a therapist is that a therapist looks at the past while a coach is only interested in the future. This of course is not true. As both a therapist and a practitioner, in either role I am interested in assisting people to live full, prosperous and satisfying lives in the present and the future.
Each person is not a problem to be fixed or a hole to be filled. Each of us is a light to be shined, not covered over. However, there is a clear purpose for and benefit to exploring a person’s personal history before treating.
Naturally I approach my work differently as a practitioner/minister than as a therapist, because I am being asked to supply a different service in each case. As a therapist I am asked to use my knowledge, training and skills to deal with and help heal conditions from a physical human perspective. As practitioner I am asked to employ all of my knowledge, training and skills to help heal a condition from a different perspective.
As a practitioner and minister I am seeing beyond conditions into the Source of all conditions and know the client’s true perfection at the level of Source. Be that as it may, as a therapist trained as a Science of Mind Minister and practitioner I bring all of my abilities to every situation.
However just as when wearing my “therapist” hat, when I am acting as a practitioner I find it is useful to look into the person’s history. I don’t do it to help the person wallow in their past or to assign blame. I do it to understand where the error in belief occurred, how it happened and what sustains it. By understanding those things, I can target my treatments to the real blockage. To solve a problem it is important to identify the right problem.
Spirit, Source, Higher Power whatever you want to call It is constantly creating and each of us is a Divine idea in Mind. Spirit creates us as vehicles for doing what Life does, create channels to express more of its essence. Spirit extends itself through and as us into this realm of time and space, which it also created, for the richness of learning that is possible in physical form. Our primary drive is to express experiences of more Love, more success of all kinds (health, relationships, financial, joy, satisfaction, peace, beauty, appreciation, gratitude,) and every possible good. As stated earlier, each of is a light to be shined.
The catch is that in this human experience our operating system for Mind is largely in our human brain which is also designed to preserve our survival. To aid in this, our brains are always searching for patterns, specially patterns that warn us that danger is possibly near. Pattern recognition helped our early ancestors avoid danger by noticing everything that resembled a previous threat.
When we try to change patterns that are not working for us, our brain automatically activates ideas, beliefs and behaviors that were developed to defend against something that was once a threat. It may no longer be happening but the pull of the familiar is strong because it feels safe. Something familiar that worked is hard to release.
Exploring personal history is valuable because it helps us identify and understand how the erroneous and often unconscious beliefs that are driving those unhelpful behaviors were created. It can remove the mystery by bringing previously unexamined beliefs into conscious awareness.
As individualized self-conscious expressions of the Divine you and I are blessed with the capacity to generate new original thoughts which allow us to change our minds. The first step to getting out of a cage is to recognize that you are in one.
Discovering that you built the cage because it was the best defense you could come up with at the time against something that was but is no longer happening helps sidestep useless self-blame and also accept the possibility that the cage is not needed anymore. Finding out that you created the cage for understandable reasons (not just ’cause you are defective) is good news. Even better news is that you built it so you have the power to learn how to open the door and step out.
Posted by Rev. Bruce Fredenburg
Staff Minister; Science of Mind in Mental Health
In addition to being an Ordained Minister with Centers for Spiritual Living Reverend Bruce is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing in Laguna Hills, California since 1982. He is a Clinical Member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a Child Specialist and Divorce Coach with Collaborative Divorce Solutions Orange County a member of the International Association of Collaborative Professionals and is a trained Mediator. Reverend Bruce is also a professional speaker who brings wit and humor into everything he does He has served as a Staff Minister with a focus on Science of Mind in Mental Health at CSLCV since 2003