A Higher Purpose

Writing this article in the midst of the corona virus pandemic, it seems appropriate to address one particular issue. People are sick and many have died, including doctors, other medical staff and first responders. We might wonder at times like this, what does this all mean? 

Throughout my many years as a therapist, it has become clear that emotional struggles like anxiety and depression, feelings of failure, confusion and helplessness are not merely mental or emotional struggles. They are also spiritual struggles.

All too often, the suffering that accompanies tragedy and grief forces our attention inwards, so that we are only aware of our present pain, and we become self-focused. We lose the big picture, and it’s easy to succumb to negativity. Thus, we forget about all the things we have and for which we can still be thankful.

Dr. Viktor Frankl, the famous Austrian Jewish psychiatrist, was arrested by the Nazis during World War II, and, starting in 1942, spent three years in a concentration camp. Because he was a doctor, he was able to survive until he and the others were liberated.

Afterwards, he devoted his life’s work to understanding why some survived, while others perished. The question he asked was, “Why did some retain the will to live?”

In his classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl explains that people can survive unimaginable horrors when they are able to attach to their experiences a meaning that can help them stay hopeful and imagine a future with a renewed purpose. A higher purpose. If this applies to people who lived through what he did, it can apply to all of us.

Anyone who is grappling with stress, excessive worry and fears, sadness, anger and bitterness, must understand that all these problems really are spiritual problems. As such, they have no physical cure, and no material solution. Even anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications are only partially helpful. These problems must be addressed on a deeper level.

Some of you may have lost sight of the big picture, and have forgotten that there is a higher purpose for which you could live. If you would like to explore a path to that purpose, please call 219-309-3928. I would be honored to be part of that journey.

Thanks for reading!