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How Our Spiritual Essence Can Heal Us

What the experience of spirituality can teach us about ourselves and love.

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Source: pixabay image

This is the third post of a three-part series on managing stress through the ongoing pandemic. The core three components of self-care include the mind (see brain resiliency post here), body (see treating our body in stress here) & spirit, so these three posts will address each topic. Some of it you know, some you may not. While I desperately wish I could make the world a better place that is free of disease, strife, fear, disasters, and all of the other things that exacerbate stress, trauma, illness, grief, conflict, loneliness, despair, and the unhealthy coping habits used to endure them, I can provide a few healthier strategies for improving your health and state of mind.

Spirit

And now we come to the Spirit—that Essence that animates the mind and body. Spirit derives from the Latin word spiritus, which means breath. Take a deep breath and ponder that for a moment.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said, “If people would get in touch with their spirits, they would be able to heal, emotionally and physically.”

Empathy and compassion are the balms of the Spirit. Our spirits and hearts grow when we receive the loving-kindness from another’s empathy and compassion. We can also grow our hearts even more by giving empathy and compassion to others. The transfer and receipt of such energy is an anomaly to the material workings of the world. Giving and receiving love seems to be the antithesis of a transactional world steeped in superficial acquisitions that cannot quench the thirst for air.

Dionne Warwick articulated the sentiment in a song from the 1960s song (later re-recorded by Luther Vandross in 1981):

A chair is still a chair, even when there's no one sittin' there
But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home
When there's no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight

The last two posts about mind and body could not be written without reference to the spirit that animates our lives and motivates our actions. The spirit is our unique heartprint. Carl Jung might have captured it best when he said, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

While it is tantalizing to grasp at understanding all things spiritual, it might be interesting to note that Zhang & Li (2014) did fMRIs to locate spirituality in the brain and found decreased neural activity in the right hemisphere in the parietal lobe. This space and silencing of the proverbial chattering monkeys may help reveal a key to genuine connection with others. If loving energy and empathy are the balms of the spirit, genuine listening without thinking or reacting may indicate the spiritual essence of love. In addition, experiencing each moment with concentrated awareness may also be greater forms of spiritual living.

If Kubler-Ross and so many others who espouse the virtues of consciousness and spiritual presence are correct, it can’t hurt to practice. It might also help to practice meditation described in the first post of this series (as the mind, body, and spirit are so intricately interwoven).

References

Zhang, S., & Li, C. S. (2014). Functional clustering of the human inferior parietal lobule by whole-brain connectivity mapping of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging signals. Brain connectivity, 4(1), 53–69. https://doi.org/10.1089/brain.2013.0191

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