"The Beginning of All Sanity is Spirituality."
Dr. Abel believes that without the spiritual experience as an intregal part of your life, it is virtually impossible to know what LIFE truely is. More than 2/3rd of the human population on earth believe in some form of spirituality. And though spirituality is not a popularity contest, its adherents are certainly witnesses to the reality that something exists within all human beings that begs for experession in some form which we universally call spirituality. What, then, is spirituality?
Spirituality is the personal awareness of an unspeakable Presence whose transcendental nature prohibits individual possession of its
inarticulate Being, yet whose omniscience encourages all who will to approach it, with reverence and awe, to
find, in one’s own unique way, Peace, Understanding, & Direction in a world filled with changes and surprises. Contiguously, spirituality is that existential, cosmic reality that bridges the chasm between the most sacred and the mere profane. It is at once, a struggle for soul-fullfilment attainment, while, concurrently with the events and circumstances of life, it is phenomenologically appearing as the thing itself. And juxtaposed to the transitions of life, spirituality beckons faith toward the possibilities of a vailed and gentile spirit reaching out in hope and anticipation of giving succor and sustenance from its inimitable womb of Present-Being, which mothers knowing-truth, to the yearning Soul longing to make its journey home..
The Spirituality-based counseling process, therefore, is a subjunctive experience between the client and his or her practitioner... the DEEP speaking to the DEEP, two Souls spiritually speaking, speaking in the midst of the Dark waters of coginitive dissonance and spiritual chaos. And these speaking spirits, now in relationship, ultimately find healing in Being There, a ministry of Presence, a "there-for-ME.ness" when I was most in need of help.
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Yahwist Veganism & the Vegan Body:
The Spiritual Health Psychology of the Biblical Yahwist
Dr. Steven Dwight Abel, B.A., M.Div., M.S., Ph.D.
The biblical Yahwist’s portrayal of the divine drama within the creation narrative, which consist of a triangulated relationship between Yahweh (God), humanity (Men & Women, i.e., Adam & Eve); and Satan, portents a demonstration of the human personality (psyche) now endowed with the knowledge of “good & evil” because of not attending to the mandates of Yahweh. Prior to the mendacious behavior of the metaphoric characters of Adam and Eve and the Serpent, the Yahwist portrays the human personality as ONE WITHOUT SHAME. This shameless personality was endowed as such because it was in an open and honest relationship with Yahweh, freely communicating with Him on a diurnal basis, face-to-face, while naked and subsisting on a vegan diet. In other words, the shameless personality was, and continues to be, the original personality, according to the biblical Yahwist. It would be logical to assume, therefore, that the original personality was shameless because it was connected with and grounded in spirituality. This spirituality subsisted on an unbroken ritual of daily communication with God, through verbal communication, on an open and honest relationship basis. According to the Yahwist’s narrative, the shameless personality was so endowed because it knew how to behave and what not to do, in accordance with the instructions of God Himself. The Yahwist appears to be telling us that the shameless personality, as we have been discussing it, is the sane personality. In short, the beginning of all sanity is spirituality based on reason and good judgment.
Reason and good judgment are the foundational principles upon which a sane, healthy mind subsists. The biblical Yahwist’s narrative portends a spirituality sanity, which is first and foremost rooted and grounded in a spiritual relationship with God. Two behaviors must be adhered to in order to maintain this spirituality sanity. The sane personality must talk to God everyday. And the sane personality must nourish his/her body with the food God prescribes for it. Therefore, to be mentally healthy, i.e. sane, one must converse with God daily, and one must take care to properly nourish the body with vegan food. If these two behaviors are adhered to, the shameless personality remains in tact. If not, the shameless personality is wounded and becomes shameful. Once the shameless personality becomes shameful, the relationship with God is estranged and the ensuing loss of the benefits of shamelessness (good mental, spiritual, and nutritional health) become evident in the following three consequential psychological behaviors: the tendency to Hide; the compulsion to Reveal; and the Stress that results from the tension between the former and later behaviors (the hiding/revealing struggle).
The psychological tendency to hide (the defense mechanism of hiding, denial, blaming, repression of psychological material into the unconscious) is dramatized by the acts of Adam and Eve attempting to hide from God upon hearing Him coming to them in the cool of the evening, and they were too filled with shame to converse with Him. For, they had come to realize that they were naked. In short, shame had gripped their minds and they could no longer talk to God face-to-face, with upheld heads, looking God in the eyes. They came into the mind of shamefulness because they eat the food from the tree of the knowledge of Good & Bad, which was forbidden to them by God. One is easily tempted to wonder why the Yahwist would write that God told Adam and Eve they would surely be doomed to die if they eat that food from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. Perhaps it would not be a stretch of the imagination to note that it was the act of eating certain food that was at the center of this controversy. This food is cloaked under a shroud of metaphoric knowledge of good and bad. To eat this food is dooming oneself to die. Conversely, then, to abstain from this food is to secure for oneself a spirituality sane life. Of course, there is the enigmatic dilemma of explaining what type of food was the tree of the knowledge of Good & Bad providing that God wanted to prevent Adam and Eve from eating and thereby forfeiting eternal life?
As regarding the “Knowledge of good and bad food,” it could be that this food was a metaphor for animals as food. For, God gave Adam and Eve a plant-based diet and gave them the animals to name and care for. Perhaps they ate some animals, which was not prescribed for them to eat. And perhaps God used the skins of the animals they eat to make cloths to cover their “shameful” bodies before expelling them from the garden. The cloths were obviously coverings (loincloth) for their sex organs that were now perceived of as exposed, and for which, to this day, are a reminder of shame and the loss of innocence and Eternal life.
Perhaps we can now conjecture that the knowledge of GOOD was what God revealed to nascent humanity as eating the prescribed food to live and properly nourish the body that the Creator-God had given humans. And since there were no other commandments, except not to eat from the TREE OF LIFE (perhaps this Tree of Life was being reserved for a future MEAL that would indeed grant eternal life to all wounded shameless personalities who would be invited to eat of it as a restorative behavior to the nascent-original shameless personality), the only thing left to qualify as BAD is eating what is forbidden or NOT GOOD, that is, the ANIMALS. This is simple conjecture because there is no CODE OF CONDUCT for nascent humanity. ONLY the code of “TO EAT” or “NOT TO EAT” was given to nascent humanity. Conjecturally, then, haven eaten the “NOT TO EAT,” nascent humanity’s only psychological defense mechanism was TO HIDE . . . to hide from GOD and Sexuality. To hide from God is arguably understandable, if not self-evident, because it was with God that they (nascent humanity) had a mutual, trusting relationship based on the Creator-God’s code of “TO EAT” OR “NOT TO EAT.” But to become ashamed of their sexual organs, and presumably the sexual organs’ functioning, channeled through the agency of NAKEDNESS, requires one further step of conjecturing. It is indisputable, that sexuality, and its co-existing organs, is the primal source of continual anthropomorphic humanity. Without sex, there can be no new anthropomorphic life. Arguably, then, it could be conjectured that because nascent humanity began dying as a consequence of their iniquitous acquisition of the Knowledge of Good & Bad by eating “NOT TO EAT,” they became aware of the antithesis of LIFE, which is Dying & Death as promised by the Creator-God if they should ever eat “NOT TO EAT.” They tried to hide from their betrayal of Life (which came about by eating “NOT TO EAT”), and they subsequently tried to hide from LIFE itself by hiding from the source of anthropomorphic Life, that is, sexuality, in a psychological state of SHAMEFULNESS through an awareness of their NAKEDNESS. So, the first psychological behavior of humanity is the TENDENCY TO HIDE.
The second psychological behavior of humanity, according the biblical Yahwist, is the COMPULSION to REVEAL. That is, to feel pushed, pressured, or compelled to tell what one tends to Hide. The Yahwist tells us that the metaphoric MAN & WOMAN hid from God, having come into the knowledge of GOOD & BAD by eating what was forbidden to them by God to eat. Again, the spiritual and physical (dietary) insalubrious behavior that threw the MAN & the WOMAN into a psychological crisis was the act of eating: GOOD & BAD. But when God comes for His diurnal visit, He perceives that His People are hiding from Him. Of note, this could only be for ONE reason since there was only ONE RULE OF CONDUCT: “DO NOT EAT…” They are compelled to tell God what they have done wrong or, even more accurately, what they have eaten wrong. Blame, the only defense that the man and woman have for EATING what was forbidden to eat. But the BLAMING was only the cover for what they were compelled to REAVELD: “The woman you gave me . . . ;” “The serpent tricked me …”. At issue here is the need (compulsion) for this nascent couple to get the matter out into the open, but without accepting responsibility for the choices that they had made of their own free will. Hence, the compulsion to reveal.
And yet, if there is a compulsion to reveal in the face of the tendency to hide, then there is the arising of a concomitant state of STRESS, in that Tending to go in one psychological direction and at the same time being Compelled to push against that former psychological direction produces a state of stress, which can only be resolved by the compulsion to reveal overcoming the tendency to hide using the only logical and present agency: talking it through. Therefore, talking openly about what someone is willing to admit that s/he is hiding from is the only pathway for relief from the pressure caused by the psychologically conflicting behaviors of simultaneously HIDING & REVEALING!
So, how do we reconcile the Yahwist’s narrative, which portends a spiritual health psychology? A rigorous examination of the YAHWIST'S modus operandi will throw healing light on this question. The Yahwist expresses his intensions in pictures, unified holds that express the whole thing and, at the same time, the THING ITSELF. In other words, the Yahwist paints pictures that contain the knowledge of the whole thing, but only for those who can or will say what is shown in the picture. For example, the Yahwist paints a picture of basic human relationships: Men & Women belong together. Animals are to be cared for by humans. Human food consists of a plant-base diet. Anything else beyond this triangulated world-view brings on the process of dying and death. The Yahwist’s portrait of nascent humanity is one of Relationship with God and man & woman, humans’ relationship with the animals, and the PEACE that exist in this paradisiacal world-view.
The Third psychological behavior of Humanity, according to the biblical Yahwist, is the Tension or Stress that inevitably arises resulting from the opposing forces of Hiding & Revealing struggling for dominance. Here in lies the pathology: The stress of this inner struggle to hide and reveal at the same time. Opposite and equal psychic forces cannot exist at the same time without causing psychic pain. The stress of life is not only the fight or flight behavior that all humans are daily confronted with, to one degree or another. Rather, it is the simultaneous occurrence of the tendency to HIDE and the COMPULSION to reveal what is hidden. We hide because of the psychological material in the SUPER EGO, that is, the Mores and Folkways that make us feel ashamed of ourselves and we want to hide from this shame. The biblical Yahwist informs us that the original act or tendency to HIDE was effectuated by the shame brought on as a consequence of breaking the code of eating the forbidden food, which produced the knowledge of GOOD & BAD. Now knowing not only what was GOOD (eating vegan food as God commanded), but also what was BAD (eating forbidden food, presumably the animals), caused an inner conflict that the effected participants did not want GOD to see existing in them.
Subsequently, they HID THEMSELVS. But as soon as God began talking to them about what they done to make them hide themselves from His diurnal visit, they were compelled to REVEAL, with impunity, the cause of their shame: “The woman you (YAHWE) gave me told me to eat [this kind of food];” “The serpent tricked me.” Of note, neither the Man nor the Woman took personal responsibility for disobeying the dietary command Yahweh-God had given them. Blaming the other, as well as blaming Yahweh-God Himself, was their psychological defense mechanism at the moment of their stress. Thus, arises the psychological behavior of Hiding & Revealing, and the subsequent ensuing stress springing from the struggle to peacefully resolve this inner struggle with these co-existing behaviors. Verbally confessing what they had done, albeit with impunity, began the human drama of needing to work through their inner conflict through TALK THERAPY, which ultimately leads to the acceptance of personal responsibility for ones free-will behavior of choosing to obey or disobey what exist in the Super Ego and the realm of ones spirituality. Herein is the introduction to The Spiritual Health Psychology of the Biblical Yahwist.