There are many attributes with which one can compare people. This is a murky business because things are rarely just black and white. It is more a question of which human attributes are more prominent than others in an individual. When it comes to exhibiting spirituality, it seems there are those who primarily talk and think about it, and others who mainly do things to help others.
Both are important and contribute to our understanding of what it means to be a spiritual person. However, I believe that one’s actions are far more important in defining one’s spirituality than simply talking about it. Spirituality is a way of living rather than a way of thinking or talking.
It may seem odd to say that actions such as going to one’s place of worship regularly, or reading the scriptures may or may not be indicators of a truly spiritual person. Some of you may know people who do these things, but whose behavior otherwise militates against their being spiritual.
I believe that love and compassion for others are the foundation for living a spiritual life, or as I prefer to say, living the life of spirit. But not as a concept; rather, as an expression or outlet for our spirituality. I believe these two attributes to be at the core of our divinity. If someone is unable, for whatever reason, to express these two attributes, then the path to expression of their spirit-self probably has not yet begun.
More likely is that we do not consistently exhibit love and compassion. We may have biases or prejudices through which we filter who is “deserving” of our love and compassion. This is wherein lies the challenge in trying to fully express our spirit. As hard as it may be, we should strive to have love and compassion for everyone.
It might help to remind ourselves that we do not know what demons others face in life. We do not know what experiences have shaped their current state of existence. We do not know the nature of the karma that brought them to where they are.
But whatever these unknowns may be, we need to try our best to give them the benefit of the doubt and extend a helping hand whenever we can, even though sometimes they might slap it away.
- Spirituality as a State of Being (livingthelifeofspirit.com)
This is the BEST part: “It might help to remind ourselves that we do not know what demons others face in life. We do not know what experiences have shaped their current state of existence. We do not know the nature of the karma that brought them to where they are.”
I CANNOT AGREE WITH THIS MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I work as a patients’ rights advocate for the mentally ill. Some of them are children, some of them very old, some of them in rehab, some of them with very serious criminal charges (multiple murders, rapes, etc). I have seen and heard a lot from them – learned a lot from them. This position has helped me not only to serve others, which is paramount in my existence, but also to seriously develop my already inherent empathy, love, and compassion.
It does not matter what my clients have done – 50 years ago or 5 minutes ago. It does not matter how nasty they may be. I cannot be so deluded to think I’m smart or important enough to judge them as humans, their behavior, or any other part of things. They’ve been through the gamut, currently live in an existence which I cannot comprehend, and may be living out larger karmic balances. This does not “condone” some behavior I receive, but first and foremost, it conversely does not give ME the RIGHT to judge said behavior to “justify” responding in any way other than love and compassion. Respect, love, and compassion is a reflection of my character, not a reflection of what is “deserved.”
All souls are precious. I strive to control myself accordingly, as well as become an example to others.
(((This post isn’t meant to further stigmatize the mentally ill. The LARGE majority of mentally ill individuals are neither violent nor poorly behaved. I just happen to work with the most severe cases. I have had FAR more positive experiences than nasty experiences. I sincerely love the mentally ill.)))
Related video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl2_knlv_xw
It is called, “If we could see inside others’ hearts.” It’s a powerful PSA.
Alma, thank you so much for sharing this video with us. It is very moving and a perfect pairing with this blog.