Monday, September 25th 2017

The spiritual solution to codependence

The last of a 7-part Soul’s Code series about codependence


BY DAVID RICKEY — From a spiritual point of view, especially if you wanted to freak out a passing fundamentalist, you could say that the Jesus of traditional Christianity represents the Nth-degree of codependency: he owned the sins of the entire body of humanity, and sacrificed himself for them.

A more “enlightened view” of Jesus’ life would be that out of his own experience of marginalization as a child (see “Rabbi Jesus” by Bruce Chilton), he so intensely identified with other marginalized people that he dedicated his life to proclaiming the inclusion of ALL.

The difference is the level of anxiety we feel. That’s why Jesus continually proclaimed, “Do not be anxious.” Jesus didn’t live his life seeking a solution to anxiety; he spent it growing into awareness of the shared journey of enlightenment.

The reality is that we are all co- (now read, inter-) dependent. No human being is an island. Healthy interdependence is living life in full awareness of this fact, feeling the suffering of others as true compassion (suffering with), but not seeking to control others for our comfort, but to raise them up from whatever pain and suffering we experience with them and bring about liberation, theirs and ours.

As Paul Kaihla describes at the end of Confessions of a codependent, a panel in this series, our own abusive, or otherwise painful childhoods, can lead us into co-dependency — at the same time as they can also be the gift that propels us into true compassion, where we feel other’s pain as our own, and inspires us to reach out in love. Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul says that our childhood is simply the raw material out of which we build a life. The choice is ours.

The key is whether we feel focused narrowly on an individual, and feel bound to them, locked in patterns of shared suffering; or whether we respond to individuals while looking more broadly towards humanity with the intention of doing our part in the liberation from suffering of all sentient beings, perhaps responding most where we feel most empathy. Jesus, the Buddha, and all great spiritual teachers discovered their true SELF in connecting to others seeking to liberate all.

PREVIOUS: Psychology’s answer to CODEPENDENCY

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