Michael Domitrovich, Part 2: A Spiritual Perspective On Pain, Pleasure, and Mental Illness

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Michael Domitrovich (ediblespirit.com) has dedicated his life to the illumination and empowerment of all beings everywhere. His highest ideal is peace, not as an abstraction, but as an attainable state for all beings here and now. Trained as a psychic, medium, healer, and conscious channel, he is also a director, playwright, and artist.

In 2007, Domitrovich co-authored “Tastes Like Cuba: An Exile’s Hunger for Home.” He has also been a guest lecturer at the Culinary Institute of America. Michael holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinema Studies from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

(To read part one of Michael’s interview, click here.)

You talk about that feeling of ordering the same pizza again and again and feeling dissatisfied. We often ask, “Why am I stuck? Why is this happening?” Why do people go through that?

What’s germane to this conversation is the idea of alignment and empowered purpose. The majority of what I do is about [asking], are you aligned with yourself or are you working against yourself? When people come see me, a lot of them don’t even have the ability to say, “This is who I am and this is what I want.” So initial work with people is about empowering that sense of awareness, or showing them where that muscle is, like, that’s the part of you that’s happy right now. Chances are, you want to make decisions in your life based on what’s going to give you more of that happiness.

That’s what our desires are for. We’re supposed to want a lot of things to get a taste of what it’s like to get those things. But where people fall short is we don’t always keep an honest or realistic perspective of what brings us pleasure and what brings us pain. Too many people go chasing things that cause them pain because intellectually, they tell themselves this is what pleasure feels like. Or, there was a trauma earlier in life that said, associate this feeling of humiliation with love. So every time you go chasing love, you’re really just looking for humiliation. People often even know this, but it’s just too hard (for many reasons) to be able to say no, this doesn’t bring me pleasure, this is what pain feels like.

When I work with someone, it’s always about standing together in the present moment and objectively assessing where they are at. You can do this on your own, but it’s challenging. Much easier with a coach or counselor or trainer, who all have their areas of expertise. I just happen to be trained in consulting the extra-dimensional frequencies and entities that are around and within myself and my clients to assess this state of presence.

Now, you can’t just go exploring your pleasures and pains, willy-nilly, forever because you’d just become a junkie. You’d just keep practicing and exploring those pleasures and pains. However, once you cultivate a certain authority over your pleasures and pains, this sense of self emerges that feels authentic, and it gradually leads to a sense of truth, certainty, and self-acceptance. It leads you to this integrated state that makes it safe and exciting to really ask, who am I and what am I doing? A lot of times, if people have done a lot of work before they see me, like with therapists or healers or even programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, they knows themselves. They know what’s going to make them feel like they’re supporting themselves versus betraying themselves.

To me, that’s the most important muscle to develop spiritually. No one is going to tell you what’s right in terms of maintaining that standard of truth and self.

The second thing is when you find that space of alignment, authority, and empowered truth, stuff starts to go well. That’s the only way I can describe it. Things start to fall into place and things start to gravitate towards you. I think part of it is just because you’re being clear with yourself, other people, and the universe. You know what’s true for you. You know what matters to you.

There’s been a lot more discussions about mental illness and medication as of late. From a spiritual perspective, how does that fit in your sphere of understanding of individuals?

It’s a good question.

[Pause] I really get upset when people make it seem like it has to be an either/or proposition. Either these are chemical imbalances or spiritual wackos will say these are vibrational maladies. I’m not medically trained, but I’ve worked with people with mental illnesses and people on medication, and it’s a very specific frequency. It feels dense and really heavy when I encounter someone with—let’s say—depression. But how does it connect?

I think it’s both things. I think it’s both chemical and dense, and it’s energetic and vibrational. I think you can lessen the load of that density through vibrational healing, and I think some people can alleviate chemical issues. But any spiritual healer who says “go off your meds or it isn’t real,” to me, should be locked away. It’s not respectful and it’s just not realistic.

I think it comes from a place of metaphysicians believing that energy, vibration, and spirit supersede matter, and that matter comes as a manifestation of them and not the other way around. I think that’s true, but that perspective is incomplete. I would say vibrational and spiritual reality might be more real and powerful, but it doesn’t discount the validity and reality of physical, terrestrial existence. “I feel like I can’t get out of bed.” So an asshole witch doctor might say, “That’s all in your mind. Get up.” But you’re like, “Actually, I know it’s in my mind and that’s the problem.” My mind is manifesting reality and I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around it. Back off.

To me, I see the spirit manifesting the mind, the emotions, and the body. I work with a four-body model. I’ve seen it possible to heal the lower bodies by working on the higher bodies, so I work with the spirit mostly. When you align or heal something on the spirit, you see a manifestation of the healing that moves down through the bodies. This allows for change or transformation on all levels. When you align something in the body—you get a massage—it doesn’t necessarily affect your spirit.

Does that make sense?

You’re saying it’s not black and white.

Totally. They’re on a continuum and they overlap. They affect each other in different ways. When the body acts up, it’s calling your attention to a specific place on the body that theoretically infers an issue in your spirit, mind, and emotions that wasn’t dealt with in those three stages, so now it’s acting up in the body.

The spirit operates in love, balance, wholeness, and ultimately perfection. So there was a certain moment prior to this physical pain in my shoulder that I have right now where my spirit said, “Hey, you’re a little left-of-center right now. Probably should look at that and deal with it.”

If I sat in meditation for 20 minutes I might’ve figured out where I had gone left-of-center, but I didn’t listen. So then it went into my mind. With my right shoulder, what it’s telling me right now is that I’ve been going a little hard. I’ve been throwing fast balls, not really articulating my actions. So mentally, it’s telling me, “Slow down.”

Emotionally, what it’s telling me is that I tend to victimize myself a little bit. The weight of the world is on my shoulders! Which is one of the symbols of shoulder pain. You’re taking on too much. The responsibility I’ve taken on in the last two weeks, I’ve chosen to take on. I would seriously wound my shoulder if I kept taking it on and simultaneously bitching about it. “I don’t want to take this on!” Well, don’t take it on.

Once it gets into that shoulder space, then I’ve got to actually get a massage because it’s in my muscle. So that’s the difference. I was taught by certain teachers that if you heal the spirit, you don’t need to worry about the shoulder. What I’ve come to find is that we can create the opportunity to release all shoulder pain through healing the spirit, but chances are, I’m still going to need a massage.

I’ve seen people with chronic pain where we trace that physical symptom back to an emotional, mental, or spiritual trauma. Do I even deserve to exist? Am I even here? What am I doing here? And when you can retrace it and empower someone to know that it’s not a mistake they’re here, I’ve seen physical pain just leave. Whatever message that physical was trying to get across, has succeeded. The physical body gives you messages about what’s going on. Why? In order to bring you back to your current, optimized, present state of alignment. That’s the spiritual part of it.

Getting back to your question about the mind and mental illness. To me, the physical and chemical components of a mental illness are in the physical plane—serotonin, dopamine, the receptors or lack thereof. The manifestation of mental illness is in the emotional plane. “I’m depressed. I’m upset. I’m suicidal.” The structure and the idea of mental illness are on the mental plane. So you’ve got two levels below the mental illness—the manifestation of the mental plane and the other, the physical reality of that manifestation.

I believe you can go into that mental plane, talk with the person, and try to balance it. But if those physical realities are too dense or too heavy, no amount of talking will work. Those physical realities are manifesting fully in their consciousness and making it hard to detach themselves from the emotional and chemical truths of those realities. So the question is, does the mental illness create the emotional realities which correspond to the chemical components, or do the chemical components induce the manifestation which we understand through a mental diagnosis?

Why does it have to be an either/or?

I do think that it’s easier to trace the spiritual source of a mental illness because finally we can stop talking about the mental illness. What are the core issues of separation or anger? Spiritual healing could trace the physical, mental and emotional trauma back to the initial separation from wholeness, that state of alignment, and standard of truth. This is why spiritual healers say all healing is the same healing. It’s all just treating that initial trauma, that initial separation from wholeness. Theoretically separation from wholeness is not possible… Because it’s wholeness. So that state of separation is really just a perceived  state. But if the physical reality of their just as valid physical, chemical state is too much for someone to see that clearly, I have to respect that.

What would you say to writers and artists who are really struggling right now? You’ve already spoken on this a lot but I always ask this, in no certain terms, as a message from you to someone who’s reading this.

There are so many people in the world who are dying inside because they have no empowered means of self-expression. So as a writer or artist, you are very lucky to feel pain around being stuck because plenty of people just feel pain. I never want to guilt-trip someone, but there is also that element of, “Shut up and keep writing.” If you need to sit there and think about it for a minute, go ahead and do that. Just keep writing.

What I would say technically is, change your form. Don’t write a play if that’s what you’re struggling with. Write something else that reminds you of what you are doing. One of the best parts of being a writer is that you are a creator. So you’re either having problems initiating something, sustaining something, or finishing something. Or after it’s done, you don’t know what to do with it—nobody wants it.

There’s a cycle that I call the shampoo cycle “lather, rinse, repeat.” If you keep doing it and it still doesn’t make you happy, then you should do something else. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t kill yourself just because you want to be an artist. Either it brings you joy and makes you feel good, or it doesn’t, or—and I think this is closer to what you’re focusing on—something’s up. Something’s not aligned and not authentic. Either you’re writing about something that’s bullshit or you feel like you’re bullshit, and that has nothing to do with writing. It has to do with self-love.

Anyone who’s really struggling with owning and adoring their modes of creative self-expression, you have to find new ways to worship, honor, and love yourself. Even if it’s totally random or seemingly inconsequential, pick it and ride it. When I first experienced writer’s block, it was because I wanted to write these perfectly formed, high-minded things. And I had to take my head out of the clouds. I looked for a new way to love myself.

If you think you’ve reached your pinnacle of self-love, you’re being lazy. There’s always more to love, more to adore. That is the other answer to your question. If it’s not just about the writing, then chances are it’s just about you not loving some part of yourself. Sometimes you have to specify. “What do I think is wrong with me? What hurts in my body?” So this way, you can get back to a more centered and empowered place. If it can’t be a fluid process, you either have to look at the writing itself, or you have to look at yourself and trace those sources of deviation from that centered, empowered state of alignment.

To me, this is the ideal state to write from. I used to think it was more about swinging in both directions of the pendulum, but it’s not that. You don’t have to be miserable in order to write about pain. You don’t have to be manic in order to write about joy. To me, a writer or artist is taking the infinite and focusing on one facet of it. Look at all, through this one little lens.

That’s what I do when I’m lost or blocked or fucked up. I think about how unlikely it is that my little mind should have the force to distill something so big into something that is digestible and engaging and identifiable. And it’s not because I made it digestible or engaging or identifiable, but because I maintained fidelity to my truth. I think writers always struggle with this. You can’t expand your sphere by becoming more of a panderer. You can only expand your sphere by becoming more specific to yourself.

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