It was year 2011-12 when I ran series of workshops for this Indian organization for their middle and senior executives at multiple locations. HR director used to pick up employees who are high potential but with some challenges. My job was to heal them and coach them so that they can be integrated in the company culture. She told me about an executive, who, they knew as very high performer but could not live with him. His anger and disobedience was much beyond their tolerance but his skills and knowledge was rare and unique to the company, hence they could not let him go.
When I met him, he was very forthcoming about his problems. He told me that he has been doing OSHO chakra meditation for few years and now he feels rage on the road even on smallest of instigation and he very seriously fear that he might kill someone someday. So much that he avoids driving out except for work. On further investigation, I discovered that he feels lifeless while defecating in the morning as if huge energy is going out of him. He feels very high pull at his crown chakra and it feels like a vacuum on the top of his head. A clear case of imbalance in polarity of crown and root chakra.
It was a case of a man who was ambitious about spirituality and driven by ego to attain powers and bliss, he imbalanced his energy. It is defined as spiritual corruption by Dr. Andoea Judith (Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System As a Path to the Self)
Such cases seem very rare to common people but in reality are very significant in numbers though often undiagnosed in smaller cities and villages. Such cases shall be classified as mental disorder cases; disorder being a part of behaviour which your mind is unable (of finds difficult) to control. In case of regular mental disorder cases, we do not visit Psychiatrist as first step but run through multiple of astrologers, local exorcist or spiritual guru , alternative medicine practitioners which we have heard about, through our friends and family members making us believe that such people have credible cure.
Take which ever way you like to take, There is clear link between religious/exorcists rituals/spirituality and mental disorder and yet within this ecosystem, there is rarely a credible and evidence based solution or case study. more often than not, such cases worsen over a period of time and it is when caregivers are no more able to manage the patient, they turn to psychiatrist. At least this is how traditionally we have looked at modern medicine and spirituality for mental health.
Such people are commonly known as religious and spiritual frauds in psychiatric parlance. Rightly so. Psychiatrist always met spirituality through patient and clearly that was far from actually knowing what spirituality really is. Patient suffered through the hands of such local businessmen selling promise of health and bliss in name of religion/god or spirituality.
What shall a Psychiatrist do in such case? They do what they are meant to. First control the symptoms through drugs, counsel family and allow cooling period to restore energy imbalance and hopefully get the patient off drug over a period of time. It is but natural that they have already formed an opinion about spirituality as they have massive task of educating people apart from managing the symptoms to heal them. Psychiatrist, having no background in energy field dynamics of human life , armed with ability to control the symptoms and bring back the patient in manageable situation have all the reasons to dub such practices as fraud and money spinning business by be-fooling people.
Clearly, seldom do we see a modern day psychiatrist doing any spiritual practices or having some background in understanding the basic principles of it. Even if they do, they do not see any cure in spirituality. At best they saw prevention. In reality, there has been no cure for mental illness among all prevailing practices in the name of spirituality. Spirituality was the prevention as it offered faith in life and unknown. Absence of it is mental illness. Since time immortal, some of the yogi, who had attain spiritual level knew how to balance the chakras to restore the energy and thus illness. However, over a period, such people are almost extinct while mental illness is on rapid rise.
On the other side, It is by now becoming a common need of the patient to go off-medicine after trying out for long duration. Patient just feels caged in his mind with medicine and wants to have free will and choice to experience his existence.Hence mental disorder which is just energy imbalance is in way, a spiritual disorder- an absence of faith in life. By that token, spiritual gurus, local saints were the right people to offer relief to the patient and counselling to family members and patient did not make a mistake of first taking route of spirituality than Psychiatry. caregivers are way too scared to let patient go off-medicine. this is where again, search for credible solution begins and patient lands up once again in hands of some yoga teacher or healer or other alternate therapists. Now it is turn of a healers and exorcists to form an opinion.
If not for the patient, spirituality and psychiatry never met. They only heard about each other through suffering patients and job was to undo the efforts of one another. Patient continues to do back and forth in search of a credible solution between spirituality and Psychiatry.
It is rather obvious and modern medicine makes no false claim that they work on controlling the symptoms. it is also evident that such, so called spiritual practitioners of the past, did not have any credible solution which could be scaled from one patient to another one.
However, this is where ray of hope is finally emerging. Psychiatrists and modern medicine practitioners of today, have embraced finer middle path which is alternate healing, breathing, Yoga and Pranayam as a supporting system to patients.
Such alternate practices, which are harmless and subtle and are often received through a trained practitioners are legitimate child of experimentation done by people in the name of spirituality, however yet to deliver mainline natural cure to patient.
My recent conversations with leading Psychiatrists has been very was very insightful in terms of how they view spirituality and why these 2 step brothers suspect each other while they have common interest in curing patient. They have shown keen interest in accepting any new credible and scalable solution for mental health. However, somewhere inside, they carry this skepticism towards any new solution which is more a reflection of their hopelessness within them having witnessed larger than life complex mental disorder cases. Imagine the pain of a doctor who each day gives out medicines and therapy or surgery , knowing well it is not a cure. Imagine the burden a doctor feels when family of the patient is looking up at them with a hope.
If spirituality and Psychiatry need to converge, which of course is the right time for integrated medicine, they need to leave obsession to their own incomplete self and look at each other with curiosity and compassion. They must work together for good of humanity.