“Is Your Spirituality Making You Go ‘Crazy?’”
Book Review by Mary Mikawoz
This book is a book undertaken and written bravely by someone in the mental health field. The author, Chris Mackey, is a psychologist in Australia. Despite his work environment, he has been hospitalized twice for depression. As well, he has had psychotic tendencies that have gone untreated. He was experimenting with hypomanic wellness instead of hypomanic illness. He was able to do more on less sleep. Some of his closest associates warned him that he was taking his experiment too far and required medication but he was able to pull himself out of his manic state without medication or intervention. To this day, he has a well-established psychological practice.
He looks towards neuroplasticity which forms new neural pathways with new synapses and neurons in the brain. This is one way of looking at psychological problems from a positive psychology point of view and also positive psychiatry. Many drug companies spend much more money on marketing than on actual research. Placebos in anti-depressants show that they are as affective as the drugs that are administered. Ernest Ross of “The Psychobiology of Gene Expression” talks of PET scans picking up activity in the dopamine receptors of patient’s with Parkinson Disease given a placebo.
Similarly, Mario Beauregard speaks of serotonin levels increasing in method actors when they are playing happy parts and dropping when they are playing sad parts in “Brain Wars.” Likewise, the drug companies do not have much encouragement for coming up with placebo or alternative methods to non-medical ways to influencing mental health. Their profits are based on people believing in the need for their medication. The disease or illness is seen as genetic and so not able to change it. It is negative in that once you have this condition, you have this condition for life. You are stuck taking the medication that may or may not be helping you.
The studies are completely devoid of transpersonal or spiritual experiences. Clients may be having a satori type of experience but it would be neglected or forgotten or taken towards being in a manic state. One such person that the author encountered was considered psychiatrically inclined and yet he would be among the most enlightened of the Buddhist religion. Many other examples of clients that have intuition and synchronicity as part of their life are spiritually aware but are also considered as having some psychosis.
Chris Mackey writes how important synchronicity is to his life and how it keeps popping up in his life. He believes one is on their path when the sychronicities are happening more.
An interesting example in the book outlines what happened in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. A grandfather clocked stopped working when a 72 year old man died with no apparent heir. Several years later it started to work again and a within moments the widow received a call to hear that a grandson had been born 15 minutes earlier. As a Winnipegger, I find this story interesting.
Chris Mackey uses the work of Carl Jung quite extensively. Carl Jung saw synchronicity when two events of a meaningful and uncanny coincidence which connects our inner and outer worlds. “Synchronicity” is a good book for people questioning the spirituality and psychology of their lives. Chris speaks of events being numinous (sacred or spiritual) and are particularly valuable when kairos (action) is combined with synchronicity.
Tags: mental health, psychology, hospitalization, depression, psychosis, psychiatric, hypomanic wellness, hypomanic illness, neuroplasticity, Ernest Ross, Marie Beauregard, Brain Wars, Genetic Expression, placebo, transpersonal, spiritual, satori, Buddhist, grandfather clock, Winnipeg, Carl Jung, numinous, kariros.