WOMEN in RECOVERY – Serenity in Silence, Dr. Madhi Ali


Character and Spiritual Integrity  



The First Path: Spirituality Through Silence

Majid Ali, M.D.


The true answer to the problem of stress is spirituality—not psychology. Stress is an integral part of the essential injury-healing-injury cycle of life. Both injury and healing are spontaneous phenomena. Healing is not an intellectual function, because the mind cannot order healing in injured tissues. The thinking mind—the cortical monkey in autoregulation language—endlessly recycles past misery. And when that is not enough, the mind precycles the fear of future misery. The cortical monkey thrives on doubt. It embellishes fear. Relentless recycling of past pain or feared, future suffering can drive body tissues into rebellions, but it cannot coax rebellious tissues to function in healthy ways.

Psychology is no substitute for spirituality. The ancient notion of the mind-body-spirit trio is this: Whatever can be experienced with the physical senses or perceived by the mind cannot be spiritual. For the spiritual to be discrete from the body and the mind, it must be beyond the reach of either. One cannot reach the spiritual by seeing, smelling or hearing—or by superior thinking. Indeed, if that were true, there would be no need for the trio. The popular press is infatuated with the mind-body connection! Has it lost sight, then, of the third element?


 How does one go about searching for the spiritual? One doesn’t.

The spiritual involves surrendering in silence to the larger presence that surrounds and permeates each of us. Why is silence essential? Because sights, smells and other sensory perceptions are aspects of the physical body—and language is the mind’s turf. Clever thinking, alas, is just that: thinking. And thinking, as I write above, is not spiritual. Consequently, a thinking mind cannot be banished with clever words.

In my book, What Do Lions Know About Stress?, I suggest some simple ways to escape the tyranny of the thinking mind—the relentless clutter of the cortical monkey. What that monkey cannot cope with is the silent energy of the spiritual. Specifically, I make two suggestions that I have found to be clinically useful: meditation with the silence of a candle flame in winter and with the silence of a stone during summer. For further details about these two methods. In essence, with these simple approaches to meditative silence, one lets either the flame of a candle or the mellow color of a stone to lead him to perceive one’s essential link with the larger presence. These simple approaches are usually far more rewarding—and revealing—than an elaborate ritual. The Holy Quran puts it thusly: Paradise is nearer to you than the thongs of your sandal.

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Thanks to Dr. Madhi Ali, New York, New York



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