My favorite book from graduate school is by James Fowler called, “Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning.” I think of his important work often, since he addresses how we get stuck emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually if we don’t work on past issues and traumas.
If you were mentally, emotionally, physically, or sexually abused at a certain age, and then ignore or block out the hurt and pain, you can become developmentally stuck at that age and unable to move forward fully in your life. Your spiritual beliefs can be stuck too, where you may not see the Divine with a full mature viewpoint.
Fowler gives six stages of faith which are important in self-understanding but, with more recent research, we should really be looking at seven stages – including ages 0-2. In the months ahead, I’ll be going over each phase separately, since each stage can help us in understanding where we’re at with our personal and spiritual growth.
The first stage is the preverbal age where trust is developed. If you do not bond with a parent or caregiver, you may have difficulty trusting that the world is a safe place to live in. This may affect your relationships going forward. Because you were preverbal, you couldn’t create a narrative for your challenging experiences which makes it hard to work it through today.
If you have moderate to severe difficulties with trust, you may have 0-2 age issues to work through. Because you didn’t have the ability to put words to your experiences, you have to work mostly with your emotions to heal yourself.
The emotions will be stored in your body so you want to pay close attention to where your body is holding onto your emotions. Below is an example on how to work with your emotions.
- If you feel grief, be with the grief and pay attention to where you feel the grief in your body.
- Once you identify where the grief is held in your body, stay with that part your body and the feelings of grief. For example, if you feel the grief in your heart, keep your focus on your heart. As you stay focused on the grief in your heart, you may get a picture of something that made you sad. As you stay with the picture of what made you sad, you may feel a sense of loneliness and distrust. As you stay with these emotions, you may feel it leave from your body.
- After you finish focusing on your heart and the emotion of grief, loneliness, and distrust, pay attention to your body again. Does your heart feel the same or different than before? You may feel a lower level of grief or it may feel clear now. If you still feel grief, go back to the grief in your heart and stay with it until it feels more neutral.
- After your heart seems more in balance, pay attention to your body as a whole. Do any other areas of your body stand out as needing more attention? You may notice that your solar plexus/waist feels more tense. If it does, stay with the tension. As you stay with the tension, it may turn into anger or irritation. As you stay with the anger or irritation, you may feel resistant to feeling it. Stay with the resistance until it clears; it may clear quickly or take a number of days.
- Keeping a focus on what’s going on with your body lets your body know that you’re okay with whatever is there which gives permission to release it.
After you’re done releasing your emotions, ask to replace them with your own Spirit. This is called a soul retrieval. A soul retrieval creates a positive, permanent change within you.
How does being stuck in Phase 1 affect your spiritual life and beliefs?
It may be more difficult to believe there is a higher power there for you. You may feel totally abandoned and wonder if there’s anything that can help you feel better. Anyone can feel this way at times, but this may be a persistent feeling of hopelessness and mistrust that never lets up and makes you feel like nobody or anything can help you feel good about yourself and your life.
If this is true for you, make sure you find a competent professional to help you so you can begin recognizing you have some support in your life.
Remember that anything that has happened to you, at any age throughout your lifespan, is only an experience. You are not your experiences so you can let them go.
You are a Divine Being having a human experience. Because you are a Divine Being, this human existence is but a short journey to experience new, interesting relationships and new, interesting experiences. Make sure you enjoy this very short journey.
Maureen Higgins owns Wings of Freedom, an alternative counseling and coaching business. She helps people be their best selves and recognize they are part of the Divine. Maureen also founded the School for Higher Consciousness. Maureen has developed numerous energetic healing systems you can learn through the school’s workshops and also experience through her energetically healing audios. Some of the protocols are turned into audios that clear your energy field like a one-on-one session. Sample the Daily Energetic Healing audio for free.
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