As opposed to materiality, spirituality is always invisible, immeasurable, but present and lasting. It is like the wind—it is invisible and yet palpable. It provides guidance, direction, and understanding to the mind. Spirituality takes the form of love, joy, and peace, and it is often expressed in human actions and behaviors. Materiality, on the other hand, is always visible, measurable, and transient. Humans need both spirituality and materiality: the former to understand the self, and the latter to understand the world and the universe around the self. Spirituality not only inspires the mind but also energizes the body—it is a body-mind-spirit connection necessary for the total wellness of an individual.
The pivotal role of spirituality
Your whole being is composed of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. Your body—the physical—is controlled by your mind—the mental—which is supervised by your soul—the spiritual. Your spirituality oversees your whole being. Nothing transforms you as much as changing from a mundane to a spiritual attitude towards all your everyday problems.
Living in the physical world is challenging in itself. The challenges often turn themselves into toxins that infest the body as well as the mind. A mind is supposed to control the body, but an infested mind loses much of its control over the body, and thus letting the body do whatever it wants to do, and thus poisoning both the body and the mind. The role of the soul is to provide the mind with instructions and inspirations on how to take care of the body. But the toxins of the mind can also poison the soul, and thus not only stunting the growth of spirituality but also disconnecting the mind from its spiritual source.
There are often times when the mind is at a loss, confused, and helpless, and that is when the soul can be its inspiration and its awakening agent, provided the mind is willing to seek the help of the soul.
Letting go to attain wellness of the soul
Material attachment is a toxic thought that connects material things to the ego of an individual in the physical world. It is the reluctance of that individual to let go of material things that define who that individual thinks he or she is. Attachment to the ego-self and its related material things is the source of human woes, which impact the body and the mind, and ultimately contaminate the soul.
Bottom line: Let go of your ego-self (the gravitational center of attachment). At some point in your life, you have to let go of all your material things because they do not last, and neither do they define who you are. Letting go is the pathway to spiritual wellness.
In addition, emotional attachment is also a toxic thought that is a stumbling block to attaining spiritual wellness. For example, bitterness is a common and rampant toxic thought that batters the mind and bruises the soul. Bitterness cherishes anger, which often turns itself into rage, seeking revenge. Bitterness ultimately devastates the soul.
The bottom line: Do not justify your bitterness. The hurt never justifies the bitterness. Any desire for justice (making it personal) stains and blemishes the soul. Just let go of any attachment to bitterness.
”Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:14-15)
Envy is another attachment that tarnishes the soul. Envy is tantamount to rejecting your own blessings because you are counting the blessings of others rather than yours. Envy is about comparing yourself with others. In life, it is important to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you believe in your Creator? One of the obstacles to believing in yourself is comparing yourself with others. You are who you are; don't try to be someone else that you are not. Envy leads to craving: "wanting more and more" (greed) or "wanting more for less" (taking unfair advantage of others).
The bottom line: Be grateful for what you have; rejoice with those who have more. Let go of attachment to envy.
Fear is a debilitating toxic thought for the toxic soul. This toxic thought is manifested in many forms, such as fear of an outcome (disappointment), fear of loss (refusal to let go), fear of the future (lack of self-belief, or faith in the Creator), and fear of rejection (non-acceptance by others).
Jesus said: "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6:27)
"Without faith it is impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11:6)
The bottom line: Let go of "what-ifs" from your mind; nobody knows the future anyway.
Spirituality is the wisdom to believe—believe in doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. Many people are spiritual, even though they may not have a religion; they still believe that there is a Higher Being who is in control of the universe and what is happening around, such as the sun always comes out in the east. They are spiritual when they have a heart that feels for themselves as well as for others.
But how does one become more spiritual?
Your soul is your spirituality. Use your consciousness to strengthen your inherent spirituality: be aware of your body-mind-soul connection. Always seek spiritual wisdom.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
Simplify your life. Clear away all the physical clutters in your life as the first step towards freeing yourself from your material and mundane attachments. Material things do not define who you are. Once you have let go of the physical clutters in your living environment, you may then get to know more about yourself, especially your needs and values, instead of your desires and wants. Remember, needs and wants are not the same; your wants often create toxic desires and their accompanying toxic emotions, resulting in your attachments.
Learn to look within yourself for answers to your life problems: you will become more self-reliant and self-sufficient. Find your inner voice: what you love to do, and what touches your heart and your soul. Your inner self knows the truth when you hear it. Nobody knows you better than yourself—just as there is no better physician than yourself, who know what is best for your body. This intuitive wisdom is self-healing, which gives you a healthier body and mind to nourish your soul. Consciously improve your everyday attitudes and feelings, not just about yourself, but also towards others around you. Each and every moment in your day-to-day interactions with people may provide an opportunity for you to become more spiritual, if you consciously avail yourself of that opportunity to see miracles in your life. Using Mother Teresa’s example, begin by conveying warmth to someone who least expects it, and this generous gesture of compassion is a strong testament to your innate spirituality. It is your spiritual thinking that causes your personality and daily interactions with others to become an expression of your soul: your daily actions speak you mind. A healthy mind is full of spirituality.
Feed your mind with positive thoughts to avoid any distorted thinking that may disenfranchise your soul. Consistently replenish your soul with spiritual feelings, such as unconditional love, generosity, gratitude, and forgiveness, among others. Love melts your resistance to change for the better; without love, you simply continue to perpetuate that you resist, such as resisting to letting go. Generosity is freely giving your time and effort to others, as well as to yourself; it is paying others forward without any selfish interest or expectation. Gratitude will not make you compare your current state of health or wealth with that of others; gratitude is a great attitude in overcoming toxic thoughts of envy and greed that you may still attach to at the back of your mind. Forgiveness is a necessary requirement for health and healing of the mind and the soul; forgive yourself as well as others for all the mistakes done by you, or by others to you—mistakes are necessary for the learning process in life and the empowerment of the soul. Never look back in anger. Just let go of the past.
Spirituality, at a deeper level, means a desire to have a personal relationship with your Creator. Learn to pray. Prayers work by altering your brain chemistry. Like anti-depressant drugs, prayers can help you build up the feeling-good brain chemicals, such as serotonin. Prayers restore your hope, strength, and even health.
With the desire to believe, comes the awareness of your inner longings, as wells as your consciousness of an inner voice speaking to you—the growth and development of spirituality. Then, you must persist and persevere in your search and pursuit of spirituality, such as daily prayers and acts of right mindedness. Finally, further down the road, life crises and daily problems along your life journey may, surprisingly, further awaken you to your own innate spirituality.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau