If we’re honest, most of us recognize that we regularly tell ourselves negative things about ourselves. While we each have versions of this negative “self-talk,” in some way we each say things to ourselves like, “You’re not good enough. You don’t fit in. You’re not good looking. You just can’t do anything right.”
An important principle in cognitive therapies is that changing these negative ways of thinking is the foundation of mental health. That’s often done by the use of affirmations or deliberate positive self-talk. It’s good psychology.
Going beyond the realm of good psychology, Eva McIntyre, in her new book, A Quiet Mind: Uniting Body, Mind and Emotions in Christian Spirituality, approaches the challenges posed by negative self talk. The negative things we say to ourselves limit us from living out our true dignity and worth. Using a variety of resources from the Christian spiritual tradition, McIntyre addresses not only the negative messages we give ourselves but looks deeper at how fear and anxiety prevent us from being the people we were created to be. While the topics McIntyre addresses are not new, she masterfully utilizes resources in the Christian tradition to address topics of fear, anxiety, and worry. Practical exercises enable the reader to learn to incorporate this spiritually grounded approach to healthy living.
Recognizing the integration of the whole person, McIntyre is not content to limit her comments to abstract thoughts and spiritual practice. Later chapters of A Quiet Mind explore how negativity is stored in the body and needs to be addressed in the psychical dimension of self as well as in the mind. In this, McIntyre roots the process of quieting the mind in a uniquely Christian, incarnational manner.
While McIntyre draws on the spiritual wisdom of the Christian tradition, she also critiques the many ways Christianity has been used to instill guilt and shame in people. McIntyre is not shy in confronting the harm done to people who were taught to only believe in their own sinfulness and to view their bodies and minds as corrupt. Drawing particularly on Celtic Christianity, McIntyre offers a fresh understanding of the self-worth of the individual.
McIntryre’s brief 71-page book is accessible and easy to read. This simple text will be of great benefit for individuals interested in practical help in the integration of mind, body, and spirit. Her expertise as a storyteller, actor and Anglican priest come together to offer a fresh perspective on issues that are challenging for most people, no matter their religious perspective. While Buddhist psychology provides a forum to apply mindfulness meditation to bring wholeness of mind and spirit, McIntyre’s Christian perspective provides an avenue to whole person integration by nurturing a quiet mind.
Having read a preview copy of McIntyre’s book, The Quiet Mind, I am delighted to be able to recommend it to my friends as an excellent resource that integrates sound psychology and Christian spirituality to support healthy living.
© 2011, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.