Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Putting Things into Spiritual Perspective

The advantage of different vantage points regarding life and death.

Key points

  • Spirituality often entails a relationship with something existing outside the five senses.
  • A spiritual perspective helps people navigate challenges more effectively because it can give them a sense of purpose in their lives.
  • Many patients’ subconscious endorse the idea that they existed in a previous life and will exist following their physical death.
  • An expectation of survival after death can help deal more calmly with bad events that occur during life.
Benjamin Suter/Pexels
Source: Benjamin Suter/Pexels

Spirituality can be thought of as encompassing a feeling of being part of something larger than the self. In the context of organized religions, it’s the feeling of being part of a world created and loved by a higher power.

In nature, it may be feeling part of a great and beautiful universe. In the arts, it might come in the form of a transcendent moment, experiencing a creation that seems to prove the existence of perfect inspiration in an imperfect world.

Spirituality often entails a relationship with something existing outside the five senses. It can encompass faith in God, perceived connection with another guiding entity, or even a line of communication through hypnosis with one’s subconscious.

Dealing With Life

A spiritual perspective helps people navigate challenges more effectively because it can give them a sense of purpose in their lives. Without a spiritual sense, when times are hard, an individual can easily think, I have bad luck, or I got dealt the wrong cards. With a spiritual understanding, the same person can say, I have this challenge, and there is a reason for it, or this event may not be random; it can strengthen me.

This shift of mindset is empowering. It can help people weather difficulties and actively engage in overcoming them. It can endow them with the will and strength to build new or better relationships, do better in work, school, or sports, and engage in service to others. Having a sense of purpose is a harbinger for both physical and mental health, and I see this every day in my patients' outcomes.

For example, I worked with a 16-year-old struggling with anxiety and depression. He said that he found no meaning in life and did not enjoy his daily activities or interactions with his friends. At his second visit, I taught him about his subconscious and asked (through signaling with his fingers) if it was willing to help him.

The subconscious replied affirmatively. Therefore, I suggested that the subconscious tell him some advice in his mind. The patient reported that his subconscious told him he should stop worrying about what others think of him and that he should take a trip. I asked if those were new ideas for him, and he said they were.

Barcelos Fotos/Pexels
Source: Barcelos Fotos/Pexels

A week later, that patient reported that he felt he had been “activated.” I asked him what he meant. He responded,

Everything is better now. I feel happy. I can hardly wait to get up in the morning and school. I love interacting with my friends. I went to the gym for the first time in ages, and my muscles ached. But that is good. Colors seem more vibrant. Life is good.

I asked why he thought he had improved so rapidly. He said he did not know. I suggested that perhaps he began his recovery once he recognized that he had access to the knowledge and wisdom found in his inner self.

Dealing With Death

During my work over three decades as a pediatric pulmonologist, I have had the opportunity to work with and support many patients through their end-of-life process. I gained new spiritual perspectives from this work that helped me better support, my patients.

I remember a girl with cystic fibrosis who was very ill and terribly frightened of her imminent prospect of dying. On the day before her death, she experienced a vision and reported that she had visited heaven and saw all of her previously deceased relatives waiting for her. Thereafter, she told us rather impatiently, “Why am I still here? I’m ready to go to the next world.” She no longer was afraid.

When asked, most of my patients’ subconscious has endorsed the idea that they existed in a previous life, and virtually all of them stated that they would exist following my patients’ physical death. A skeptic may wonder if this belief represents wishful thinking or an inability of the mind to process the idea that after a certain time, it will no longer exist.

Nonetheless, because continued existence after death has been my patients’ usual expectation, I developed a perspective that when bad things occur in life, they may not be as tragic as they appear, since such occurrences may comprise only a small fraction of a very long (or perhaps even limitless) existence.

This perspective has helped me deal better with some personal losses, and I have also shared it with some of my patients, for whom it has been helpful. To explain this viewpoint, I have used the example of a 3-year-old who breaks his leg and thinks the world is over. However, from the perspective of an adult, we realize that the leg will heal and thus not a reason to lose faith in life.


In almost any form, spirituality helps people gain perspective on their difficulties and encourages resilience.

Copyright Ran D. Anbar

More from Ran D. Anbar M.D.
More from Psychology Today