I recently saw the film “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” which is a documentary about the amazing cave paintings that are found in Chauvet Cave in the south of France. The paintings were done starting 32,000 years ago and the cave was used for at least 5,000 years. The cave appears to have been a sacred site—there is no evidence that anyone ever lived in it. Watching the film, I was moved by the amazing art work and the interesting archeologists. One of the scientists interviewed said something that really caught my attention. He said that we call ourselves homo sapiens (man that thinks) but he believes that a more accurate name for us is homo spiritualis (man that is spiritual).
He made the case that archeology has shown that the real difference between mankind and the rest of the animals on the planet is not language, use of tools, or even our opposable thumbs but our spirituality. He sees that spirituality expressed through the artwork created by our very distant ancestors. The use of the arts- music, paintings, and sculpture is what started dividing us from the other animals on the plant 30,000+ years ago. It appears that even then, there was a spiritual role in those endeavors.
As I result, I started thinking about the drive we have to connect to something bigger than we are. Whether that is nature, other humans, animals, the universe or whatever you call God. I was also thinking about what a wonderful tool our inherent spirituality can be in therapy. Historically, there has been psychological relief in spirituality—through prayer, meditation, confession, letting go or turning over our pain. Our beliefs can foster or create pain, but they can also help us relieve or transform pain. I think this is why I am so drawn to using meditative and other mindfulness techniques in my practice. When we utilize the wonderful tools at our disposal—our mind and our spirituality, I believe we can transform our lives in ways that thinking alone cannot. If you or someone you know are interested in transforming your life, I hope you will contact me.