BY BOB FRISBY, M.S.
Within the "Human Inventory" there are two sections that are closely related: religion and soul. I want to expand on another realm that is closely tied to these two: spirituality.
Again, what follows are my opinions; take what you want and leave the rest:
People can have an established religion they participate in on a regular basis and not have much spirituality. People can attend and participate in church but they don't always carry the spiritual message out into the world. Some people are participating because they were told it's the right thing to do. Many of these folks aren't attentive, they're just there. I hope those folks become attentive and wear their spirituality on their sleeves when they leave church and go out into the world to live and work.
Looking into Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition, 1962, spirituality is defined as "spiritual character, quality, or nature: opposed to sensuality, worldliness....the fact or state of being incorporeal." And to clarify, the dictionary defined incorporeal as "not consisting of matter; without material body or substance....of spirits or angels."
So, if you spend too much of your time on sensual pleasures and worldly objects, you do so at a cost to your spiritual character. Put another way, your journey toward life after life, may be ill preparing you for what may be coming. How often do we really think about subjects such as spirituality? I think this realm is very important and worthy of serious thought.
Perhaps your spirituality is the manifestation of your soul? Maybe this is the way your soul speaks to the world? Maybe we're really looking at soul communication? Maybe when I sense someone has the "wow factor (i.e., is alert, is in the moment, is positive, is communicative, makes eye contact & appears healthy)", I'm really tuning in on someone who is comfortable showing their soul and therefore carrying around energy that is "tap able" by others? Maybe these are the "saints" among us? In the movie Les Miserables, there is a phrase spoken: "To love another person is to see the face of God". Maybe this wow factor is really us seeing the face of God? Whatever, it's always a pleasure to experience that "wow factor", kind-of helps to make the day a better day.
I have a priest at our Catholic church (Father Peter Schuster) who has been writing essays about various spiritual concepts and facts. He does a good job each week educating us about the really critical things in life. One week it was about prayer. I think prayer is critical to good spirituality. The most important prayer to say, for Protestants and Catholics, is the Our Father:
"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power,
And the glory, forever and ever.
Father Schuster quoted from Matthew Kelly's work Resisting Happiness:
Page 132: "We can all be lazy from time to time, both physically and spiritually." Page 133: "God wants us to have a strong mind, a strong heart, and a spirit that soars with so much strength that nothing in this world can weigh it down. These things can only be accomplished with prayer and fasting."
Father Schuster's "Question of the Week" was, "Both stories deal with one of the seven capital sins - the sin of sloth. What is Sloth? It involves a lack of effort in meeting duties and responsibilities to God, to others, and to oneself. Sloth always desires the easy path....so let us remember to challenge ourselves for while the path of Christ is often difficult, it is indeed the way."
Now, back to my opinions....I believe in angels; I believe in asking for help from my ancestors, as well as the Holy Ones listed in the Bible. I remember a spiritual song called by some "He Walks with Me" and others by "In the Garden." It is very comforting to remember at least these lyrics, "And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other, has ever known." I have always told my clients that they are not alone, there is a higher power aware of them and their needs. And I have told clients to not lose hope during treatment; for over time, side-effects to medication will be reduced and hopefully better medications with less side-effects will be discovered. It was not easy for them to be patient, or to believe; and at least I could encourage them and give them some energy to fight the illness.
I believe it's important to maintain a strong relationship to the Higher Power as our family and friends won't always be there in our deepest and darkest moments of struggle. The Higher Power will always be there, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
I believe that your behavior says whether you have good spirituality or not. Do you donate to charities? Do you make efforts to help others less fortunate than yourself to rise up from poverty and illnesses, like mental illness and chemical dependency? Do you encourage prayer when your family is at the dinner table? Do you encourage others to think and behave like Jesus Christ and the other great religious leaders of the other great religions? Are you kind and respectful to others?
I bet if I asked a random sample of children in school who their top five heroes would be, I would be lucky to find more than one in a hundred mentioning a religious leader like Muhammad or Jesus Christ. When you're teaching others how to behave in certain situations, just consider what your spiritual leader would say or do. I've always found it easier for myself to answer my own questions; when I asked myself, "What would Jesus Christ do?"
People from all over the world and from all the various religions have their own beliefs about spirituality and what it means to their religion. I have just given you my opinions and I was influenced by Protestant and Catholic beliefs. Hopefully some of what I have jotted down will be of value to you, as you try to maintain good mental, physical and spiritual health.
For further reading:
Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly. Copyright 2016. Beacon Publishing. To get a copy of the book visit their web-site at DynamicCatholic.com