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Books about positive values, spirituality, and counseling

The Spiritual Connection Newsletter
August 2001

Published by Anthos Publishing for Benjamin B. Conley.
"Accepting life as it is, nurturing the positive, and limiting the negative." http://www.anthospublishing.com

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Table of contents:

  1. Message from the Editor
  2. The Reader's Digest Telephone Marriage Poll and the Fifth, Spiritual, Dimension of Life
  3. About THE SPIRITUAL CONNECTION: Values, Faith, and Psychotherapy
  4. Subscribe and unsubscribe information

Message from the Editor

Dear Readers,

Thanks for inviting me to your e-mail box - I hope you will enjoy this issue of "THE SPIRITUAL CONNECTION". Please contact me with any questions or comments -- I am here to help. Hope to be of service to you!

Cordially yours,
Benjamin B. Conley, M.Div., LMFT
Anthos Publishing

"The Reader's Digest Telephone Marriage Poll
the Fifth, Spiritual, Dimension of Life"

by Benjamin B. Conley, M.Div., LMFT

Reader's Digest recently found that 30% of the men polled in its telephone survey of 1,000 married people wish they could talk to their wives more openly about spiritual matters. At the same time, 38% of the men polled hide their desire for affection.

These two bits of information are part of the landscape of current marriages, painted with a 42% divorce rate, according to managing editor Katherine Walker.

A hidden desire for affection, unwillingness to talk about spiritual matters, and a 42% divorce rate. Could these items be the three faces of the same reality?

I start with the un-provable assumption that we are all connected with the world around us from birth, and that the infant's innocent openness illustrates that. Recently in the supermarket, I encountered a round, open-eyed face examining me over the shoulder of his mother. At several months of age, he had not yet learned to be afraid of connecting with me, not realizing that I was a "stranger."

This is in contrast to the 4 year old "stranger" I encountered later, who upon making eye contact with me created the protection of a finger-screen through which he continued to communicate with me. He had a bit more need for protection, even though I was no more dangerous the second instance than the first.

So, having experienced some hurt, we become acquainted with fear of repeated hurt, and the need to protect ourselves, a most helpful survival process.

By the time we are adults and marry, we have learned to hide our desire for connection with others (affection and spirituality) and protect ourselves by limiting our connection with others (denial of spirituality). When we are frightened enough, we engage in "defensive" behavior that serves, often painfully, to sever our connection with others (divorce and contamination of spirituality). Then we can be "safe," look for affection from others, until, when sufficiently frightened, we limit or sever our connection with the new person. Over and over again, until we change the pattern.

The spiritual dimension, our connection with others and with the universe is, in my opinion, so fundamental and powerful that it deserves to be called the "fifth dimension" of reality. I think of it as the "life force" that makes life possible, that gives plants growth, that nourishes organisms' evolution, and that provides the "spark of life" for human beings. Candace Pert, (the molecular biologist who discovered the opiate receptor on body cells) spoke of a "spark" that seems to leave the body upon death, something more than the cessation of cellular activity. Insofar as we are in harmony with the spiritual dimension, we participate in the way things are meant to be, and find our own inner peace, as a result.

But what might all this have to do with a 42% divorce rate? It  might be that instead of cooperating in concrete ways with the structure of our human nature and the most intimate connection with our loved ones, we may be contaminating our relationships with behavior that is domineering, critical, demeaning, and intrusive. To the degree we go against the way we are created to be and become, we will experience pain and suffering, the pain of divorce (and other failed relationships) being one result.

On the other hand, when we are in harmony with the spiritual dimension, we connect with others in a loving way, accepting others and the entire world as it is, not as we wish it to be. Even when the way we wish others to be would be a relatively objective "improvement," acceptance means our giving others our "permission" to be the way they are, though we are deeply committed to being a different way.

The most practical emotional and cognitive problem this position raises is: "But what shall I do about things not being the way they should be? Do I just sit passively by and let things deteriorate while I am being loving and accepting of the negative behavior around me? How do I know I am not a wimp, not whipped? How do I tolerate the evil around me?" Another version of the same question is "Why does God let evil exist?"

Were we live, one application of these philosophical questions could be: "How do I get along with my spouse, when he/she doesn't agree with me?"

These very fundamental and important questions will be addressed in the next newsletter, sometime in September, 2001.

(c) 2001 Benjamin B. Conley, All Rights Reserved.
Benjamin B. Conley is a pastoral psychotherapist, author and speaker. To sign up for this FREE "Spiritual Connection newsletter,"  visit http://www.anthospublishing.com.


Benjamin B. Conley, M.Div., LMFT has written a new book to Be released Oct. 15, 2001, "THE SPIRITUAL CONNECTION: Values, Faith, and Psychotherapy." This book is about identifying our most fundamental values, and how our value assumptions show up in our ways of treating others, what we say and do, illustrated in psychotherapeutic theories and techniques. The thesis is that the communication of our positive values provides the healing power in the therapeutic process. The further thesis of the book is that the functional application of positive values affirms a spiritual, as well as emotional connection with others, with the world in which we live, and with a life-force in the universe which is the ultimate source of healing power.

The book begins with an overview of the limitations of our knowledge and goes on to identify the three fundamental values common to all therapeutic approaches. The author then outlines additional, less basic values, using case material to make his thesis come to life. The central section deals with values and spirituality and then moves into how values are implemented in clinical practice, again using a variety of sources to illustrate different technical applications.

Conley shows how we tap into and cooperate with the natural life-affirming universal power wired into every human being. He has carefully studied and identified the basic spiritual values of human connectedness that allow for people to blossom into their fullness. His book becomes a trusted guide on the journey of how we heal and grow only in connection with another person.

The author, a seasoned psychotherapist and marriage and family therapist, is also trained theologically (Vanderbilt Divinity School) and is able to bring to the discussion a deeply human understanding of the meaning of values in everyday living. He finished his initial clinical training as a psychotherapist in 1965 in a three-year residency at the Blanton-Peale Graduate Institute, a psychiatric clinic in New York City. He has had additional extensive training in Transactional Analysis, Gestalt Therapy, Hypnosis, Sex Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. The author now lives in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, with his wife and son, and serves as a pastoral Psychotherapist on the staff of The Samaritan Centers of South Florida, Inc.

Conley has written five other books: Creating Emotional Health, Affirming Feelings, The Meaning of Love, Success in Marriage, and Making Relationships Work. He is a professional member of The American Association of Pastoral Counselors, The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, The Institute for Imago Relationship Therapy, and is licensed in Florida as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

The retail price is $29.95, with a pre-release promotional price of $19.95 until September 3, 2001, with FREE shipping. Send orders to Anthos Publishing, PO Box 4304P, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33338-4304, or order on the internet by clicking on  http://www.anthospublishing.com.

THE SPIRITUAL CONNECTION: Values, Faith, and Psychotherapy is 256 pages - softcover-- and has an Index and References. The ISBN number: 0-9708221-4-6. The Library of Congress Card Number: 2001086672.

This Month's Special Offer from Anthos Publishing

Purchase THE SPIRITUAL CONNECTION: Values, Faith, and Psychotherapy during August, until September 3, for $19.95 (1/3 off the retail price of $29.95) with FREE shipping (a $4.50 value) at Anthos Publishing, PO Box 4304P, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33338-4304, or order on the internet by clicking on http://www.anthospublishing.com.

And that's all for this time. Thanks for reading. Please feel free to forward this letter to a friend or colleague

Wishing you inner contentment,

Benjamin B. Conley
Accepting life as it is, nurturing the positive, and limiting the negative.
Anthos Publishing

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