Combining Emotional Health & Contemplative Spirituality


Peter Scazzero in his book Emotional Healthy Spirituality suggests that emotional health and spirituality must be integrated. He says that it is impossible to be spiritually mature while being emotionally imature. I agree more than ever. I’m wondering why the two ever got a divorce…

It is possible to have been an active, intentional follower of Christ for many years and still be emotionally unhealthy. The Church has done an excellent job at discipling our minds – but not so good at discipling people’s emotions.

Scazzero suggests a type of discipleship that includes growth in emotional health and contemplative spirituality. I find his description of emotional health and contemplative spirituality to be an inspiring vision for my faith journey and my understanding of discipleship.

Emotional Health
Is concerned with such things as: naming, recognizing, and managing our own feelings; identifying with and having active compassion for others;
 initiating and maintaining close and meaningful relationships;
 breaking free from self-destructive patterns;
 being aware of how our past impacts our present;
 developing the capacity to express our thoughts and feelings clearly, both verbally and non-verbally;
 respecting and loving others without having to change them;
 asking for what we need, want, or prefer clearly, directly, and respectfully;
 accurately self-assessing our strengths, limits, and weaknesses and freely sharing them with others;
 learning the capacity to resolve conflict maturely and negotiate solutions that consider the perspectives of others;
 distinguishing and appropriately expressing our sexuality and sensuality; and
 grieving our losses well.

Contemplative spirituality
Focuses on classic practices and concerns such as;
 awakening and surrendering to God’s love in any and every situation;
 positioning ourselves to hear God and remember his presence in all do;
 communing with God, allowing him to fully indwell the depth of our being;
 practicing silence, solitude, and a life of moving toward unceasing interactive prayer;
 resting attentively in the presences of God;
 understanding our earthly life as a journey of transformation toward ever-increasing union with God;
 finding the true essence of who we are in God;
 loving others out of a life of love for God;
 developing a balanced, harmonious rhythm of life that enables us to be aware of the sacred in all of life;
 adapting historic practices of spirituality that are applicable today;
 allowing our Christian lives to be shaped by the rhythms of the Christian calendar more than the culture; and 
living in the context of a committed community that passionately loves Jesus above all else (EHS, p.45-46).

One thought on “Combining Emotional Health & Contemplative Spirituality

  1. It is good to be still, and to develop intimacy with God, but what about grieving over our sin, and repentance? What about thankfully dwelling on the fact that Jesus took the punishment I deserved and thus I am now right with God?

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