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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

Basically, I want to know if you could render a basic opinion of what qualities you think constitute good mental health? I have training in a mental health profession, and my life experience has led me to believe that being balanced, having and maintaining good boundaries, being and staying present, having good relationships, and attempting to do God's will in your life are all part of it. I am concerned that there is so much materialism in the world, and many people I have known seem more concerned with money and self promotion than with the above mentioned qualities. On the other hand, I have known of celebrities who truly do seem to be tying to live out morally upright and holy lives. Well, long story short I was wondering if you could send a basic opinion about some qualities that you believe make up good mental health.
     Also, I have found it quite easy to connect with people throughout my life, and I would like to continue to develop that quality in myself. So do you know of a book that would help me to be a better communicator? I found your writing about the unconscious and the use of language to be fascinating.
     Those are the questions I asked through your website, after I made a donation. Thanks for contacting me about the donation and your not receiving a question; I may have made some sort of technical error, or not correctly understood or followed your directions about asking a question. I also want you to know I consider myself a very honest person.

Outline of the Answer
• Introduction
• The Simplest Level of Following Directions
• The Social Level of Following Directions
• The Spiritual Level of Following Directions
• A Book About Communication

 
Wt often occurs that answers to questions eventually result from our own personal experiences. In your case, you asked what constitutes good mental health, and, in the process, you stumbled on the answer through what you failed to do: the answer is “following directions,” and you failed in that regard. That is, your e-mail was deleted because you failed to use the proper subject heading for the e-mail as I specify, with strong warnings, on my webpage about asking psychotherapy questions.

So now that you have the answer, let’s develop it.

 
The Simplest Level of Following Directions

The concept of following directions has a spectrum of meaning. At its simplest level, it can relate to something such as reading a map and following the route from one place to another. An inability to read a map actually constitutes a lack of mental health because the root cause of the inability is a person’s unconscious anger at a father for his failures in providing guidance during childhood. Similarly, as another example, procrastination results from unconscious anger: you know what needs to be done, and you know the steps to take, but you can’t follow those directions because you fear going into the unknown (and might even want to punish yourself because you believe that you don’t deserve success), all because of anger at how you were stifled as a child.

 
The Social Level of Following Directions

Following directions also has social context in regard to the necessity of following directions of authority and rules of civil behavior. Civil disobedience and civil unrest are direct oppositions to the rules of authority. So also are rudeness, bullying, harassment, political hate, defamation of character, slander, defilement of God-given gender reality, and on and on today. They all point to a lack of mental health in an increasingly insane mob-rule society. It’s all the insanity of hell, where anything goes because all direction—along with all hope and respect for authority—has been ignored.

 
The Spiritual Level of Following Directions

Finally, there is a spiritual realm of following directions. Consider the Ten Commandments as supreme directions, and consider the sin—and insanity—that occurs when those directions are not followed. Consider when Ezekiel was told to “be not rebellious like this house of rebellion, but open your mouth and eat what I shall give you.” That’s about following directions. Consider Christ’s command to love one another as He loved us, and then consider the insanity that results when we reject divine love and let pride and anger rule our lives. Consider the insanity of rejecting a warning about the consequences of committing a sin and then committing the sin anyway. Consider what Saint Paul said about the necessity of modesty and chastity in personal conduct, and then look around you—in society in general and even among so-called Catholics—and see how almost everyone is wallowing in lust today. And most celebrities today are at the head of the insane march into hell. It’s all about a refusal to follow directions, and it leads to a hellish insanity.

 
A Book About Communication

So maybe now you can understand that “having and maintaining good boundaries, being and staying present, having good relationships, and attempting to do God's will in your life” are good values, but without the ability to follow directions from the lowest level right up to the highest level you will be vulnerable to being led astray by unconscious resentments. Yes, you can say, “Oh, I was just too busy” or “I just got distracted” or “That really doesn’t apply to me” and so “that’s why I didn’t notice the directions,” but those are excuses and, ultimately, self-deceptions. Consequently, the best book you can read about communication is the “book” of your own unconscious. Look inside yourself to the deepest psychoanalytic depths to discover your own unconscious resentments from childhood that lurk behind your own failure to follow directions.

 


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Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.