The results from the Psychological Adjustment scale are profoundly related to one’s spiritual life. The goal of the spiritual path is to transform consciousness from the little self-absorbed ego to the essential Self or soul. The Great Teachings all direct the spiritual aspirant to go within, quiet the restless mind, awaken the subtle energy in the spine, and experience the peace, love, joy, and wisdom that is our true nature.
The inner realization of the soul is awakened as one learns to internalize consciousness. The process requires an individual to be receptive to subtle forces, open one’s heart, develop a devotional attitude, and trust that God will emerge from the depth and quiet within.
One’s inner life is like a clear still lake. When the waters are calm, you can see to the bottom. However, if you cast stones into the lake, create turmoil, fill the water with garbage and debris, then everything gets very cloudy and dark.
Our spiritual development is expedited or impeded by our psychological condition. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to quiet the mind and become receptive to loving, spiritual forces when we are filled with fear, anxiety, anger, and discontent. Just as it is difficult to meditate when the body is in distress, it is difficult to meditate when one’s inner world is filled with emotional distress and mental conflicts.
The Psychological Adjustment scale is very good at identifying levels of psychological distress. This scale explores levels of fear. The Primitive Self scale also looks at one’s comfort with one’s inner life. If an individual is afraid to be receptive, and look within, then it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to discover the hidden treasures that lie within.
I have spoken to many individuals who believe it is dangerous to meditate because it will create a blank mind wherein demonic forces will emerge. Meditation does not teach, nor have as a goal, to create a blank mind. However, the intense fear of going within precludes the Bible’s suggestion, “Be still and know that I am God.” It is true that if you are suppressing a lot of emotional hurt and upset, looking inside will stir that open. It is part of the healing process. We need to be strong to deal with unresolved issues to find more peaceful ground.
One of the items on this scale really strikes to the heart of this issue, “I am afraid to express my real self.” The real self is the soul. At a psychological level the item is referring to authenticity. Being real will certainly help you find a better partner. Authenticity will help you in every aspect of your life.
Having a clear and direct connection with your soul will also reap great rewards. You will feel more peace, love and joy in your life. Your relationships can experience a great depth of love and intimacy as well.
However, if you are afraid to be real, you will choose to live on the surface and probably always feel some sense of emptiness. We have many ways in which we try to fill this sense of emptiness: sex, food, drugs, alcohol, excessive speech, etc. Those who have been touched and filled by Spirit know the truth that this is the relationship they have been so longing for.
A low score on the Psychological Adjustment scale does suggest that close relationships may be a problem. It is very difficult to sustain a loving heart when one’s inner life is filled with anxiety, fear, anger, jealously, and judgment. It is also very difficult to sustain an open loving, peaceful relationship with one’s Self when the inner world is in turmoil.
A high score on this scale is a positive sign. You do not appear to have a lot of emotional issues or unresolved deep psychological issues that are stirring up your inner life. Your meditation practice should proceed well as you develop the discipline, concentration, and devotion to go deep within.
If you are not making the spiritual progress you desire, please check your Psychological Adjustment scale score. If it is on the low side, this might be one of the causes. Do what you can to resolve early childhood wounds and learn to forgive those who have harmed you. In addition, work on developing a more trusting state of mind.
There are some good suggestions in the Further Growth and Development section. You might also want to seek out the support of a coach or therapist.
There is also another pattern that may emerge, if your Spirituality score is high, and your Psychological Adjustment score is low. I have an extensive discussion on this issue in my book, Sacred Healing: Integrating Spirituality with Psychotherapy, in the section on Spiritual Advancement and Pathological Narcissism.
The following is a brief quote from that chapter. If you would like to learn more about this possible predicament, please refer to the entire chapter in the book.
The personality holds a similar relationship to the soul, in that the personality, like the physical body, is subject to change, growth, and disorder, while the soul is eternal and belongs to the realm of the changeless, omnipresent Truth.
Intensive spiritual practice awakens the kundalini energy, a subtle dormant force in the base of the spine, which, upon activation, sends a current of energy up the astral spine and thereby activates the various spiritual centers in the spine (chakras). Great spiritual power typically results. Through dedicated practice, individuals can touch profound states of bliss and develop powers (siddhis) for healing, intuition, and manifestation. The presence of these spiritually advanced souls is quite tangible, as one can feel the intensity of their higher vibratory states. Also, profound states of love and peace are common around such individuals. Such highly spiritually advanced individuals have learned to focus upon their soul consciousness and express the rewards that come from intensive and prolonged spiritual practice.
However, attaining realization of higher spiritual awareness does not negate one’s personality any more than it negates a physical body. In fact, a real danger appears when the yogi ignores the perfection and refinement of the personality as an aspect of his overall spiritual progress. Psychotherapy, as a Western method, has not been recognized as a part of the larger yoga system, and many yogis believe that it is not necessary to attend to personality issues while developing spiritual power. They mistakenly believe that yogic practice will solve all problems and purify all aspects of the personality.
However, it is my experience and observation that this is simply not true. A complicated and socially dangerous situation can and does result when an individual with an underlying personality disorder continues to achieve spiritual power, with the nature of their self-delusion continuing unchecked, and individuals under these people’s influence get hurt in the process. (p. 201-202)
I hope this information has helped you understand the importance of psychological health as it relates to your spiritual development and expression. In my experience, psychotherapy and spiritual practice go hand-in-hand. When you are psychologically balanced and connected to the deeper aspects of your spiritual nature, then you become the best partner for yourself and others!