Spiritual Health

Spiritual Health

We may not think much about spiritual wellness but it has a huge impact on our wellbeing. It is our spirituality that gives us our sense of what is meaningful and what our purpose is in our lives. It also gives us our sense of worth, hope, commitment, peace and positive or negative outlook on life. If there is feeling of emptiness , anxiety, hopelessness, apathy or conflict then these maybe signs of spiritual poverty; resulting in unhappiness or dissatisfaction.

Spirituality means different things to different people. To many it is to do with religious traditions such as Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism  or Sikhism etc but those that have no association with a particular faith, spirituality may be to do with growing in their personal relationships with others or to some it maybe being in harmony with nature. It is not the same for everyone, it is uniquely different for everyone of us,  it gives our ordinary lives the depth and value. It helps to cultivates a richly expressive and meaningful lives at home and in our society. It provides  us with a sense of who we are , why we are here  and what our purpose of living is. It also allows us to gain strength and hope.

Our basic intention when caring for physical and emotional health was to relieve suffering by treating. With spiritual health the approach is quite different. We don’t treat, instead we listen. By treating we may deny the soul something in the suffering which may ultimately be invaluable for giving full meaning to our lives. So we have to listen carefully to the symptoms and notice what is revealed in the suffering.  It is only by listening we are able to coax the soul to reveal itself further. Only then the we are ready to make changes in our souls.

Let me give some examples of the consequences of ignoring the soul or the spirit. I notice most physicians by very nature of there training are concerned only with evidence based medicine which means looking at the facts only, we like the intellectually predictable world, it is protected from the mysteries and the surprises. So when patient relates his or her story with rich details we only pay attentions to the cold facts, all the rich details are lost. By ignoring the details we , the physicians, lose the opportunities to lead a soulful life. Further more with working long hours, always rushing, our profession has only small percentage of the day to be soulful, and on  some days maybe no time at all because we are exhausted by the end of the day and want to sleep. The tragedy of this is we interact and treat with our loved ones the same way, we forget how to be soulful. This may explain why in physicians there are higher suicide rates, higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse and high divorce rates then in the general population. These maybe are the signs that doctors are suffering from spiritual poverty and resulting in unhappiness or dissatisfaction.

Another example of how the spirituality is related to real health and happiness. I know a friend who had been married thirty years and was fiercely independent. She paid her own way through school and refused any financial help from her husband. She said she scarified her own happiness so that her husband could further his career. The marriage eventually ended. She was proud to be independent, it give her self worth ; she had bought into the prevailing notion that independence was healthy and dependence was bad, that didn’t make her feel so great. I wondered to myself if she would still be married had she listened to her soul about the need to be independent.  Her heroic championing of independence might be a way of avoiding and repressing the  need of something in her to be dependent. Being dependent means trusting , to find intimacy with someone you can’t live without, to be able to rely on friends. But as with anything, the shadow side of dependence is the neediness, inferiority, submission and loss of control. I wonder if she could have balanced the the two side and lived more happily  and  with less dissatisfaction. This would have been the soul work she would have needed to do; by listening to her soul and spirit. If  we don’t listen to the soul and grow in our spirituality , it may sometimes leads to physical illness or fanaticism.

So when we pay attention to the soul and observe how it is manifesting itself in us, we will be rewarded with richness of our personhood. We will receive back what is ours, the very thing we assumed to be horrible may turn out to be helpful. The spiritually poor person will need to attend to this need with some urgency; for the real health and happiness to begin. I know I need to do some work myself.

I already mentioned briefly in my previous article on emotional healthy how we can cultivate our spirituality , so I will not repeat it here.

Have a wonderful week, the next article will be on happiness….hopefully within a week.

1.Care of the Soul
             By Thomas Moore

2. http://www.tru.ca/wellness/spiritual.html

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