Spirituality is often misunderstood to be a component of Religion. People have this notion of spiritual people are the ones who are often seen visiting the churches or mosques. Then there are also the other kind of people who immediately picture an Indian mystic in a yogic position in their minds. Well, both these stereotypes are so erroneous that Buddha would be turning in his grave.
However, it can mean different to different people. To me, Spirituality means to be healthy spiritually. In other words, when we are hurt by harsh words, it hurts not just our heart but our spirit too. If the wound is very deep, then no matter how much you push it from outside, you won’t heal completely since the injury is internal. A change of external set-up is not going to help if it is not dealt with from the bottom. Haven’t you heard of wounds caused by viruses which go away temporarily when dealt from outside but when medicine is administered which kills the virus in the blood, it never surfaces again. We always have take fight at the grassroot level. Thus, to have a healthy mind devoid of bad and hurtful thoughts is of utmost importance.
You don’t NEED to meditate or go to the temple or say prayers to be spiritually healthy. They just help you reach towards the goal faster. It varies from person to person. Being mentally healthy is the first and major step and right now in this world but more than half of the population is plagued more by mental trauma/problems (relationships,work-related etc) than physical illness. Happiness is a scarcity!
In my opinion, I find following some very simple rules in life helps to live with a smile on the face!
1. Handling harsh words/sentiments – People hurt us with their words, knowingly or unknowingly. But as they say, it is upto us to finally accept the invitation or not. When you feel hurt by someone, try to feel empathetic towards them. They are telling hurtful things because they themselves are hurt and when you respond in a soft manner, they will be taken aback. Anger is not something people can control and 90% of what we say in anger are things we don’t mean. So, be the better man (or woman) and stay calm.
2. Fighting pessimism – How many of you have heard about the placebo effect? A man was administered with certain medicines which was supposed to fight cancer and after continual intake, his health revived and he was finally cured of it! Astonishing, isn’t it? When we convince our mind that something will get alright that you will do just fine, it really happens.
Physical health is greatly linked with mental health. So if you think pessimistically, it destroys the little chance that you have, you fail in your endeavor and end up blaming it on fate. This cycle repeats over and over gain. So, you’ve got to have confidence in yourself that you can do it, hell or high water.
4. Controlling anger – Most of us go red with temples on the verge to burst out when it comes to anger. However, even the smallest bit of irritation/anger can be controlled. Despite knowing that it unnecessarily harms our health by increasing our blood pressure which ups the risk of heart diseases, we don’t do anything to stay calm. I know it is not easy.
But there are various various ways to deal with this. For example, people with a high sense of pride can manipulate and train their minds into thinking that giving into anger would mean defeat to their body. They are controlled by their emotions; they are not their own masters. The person who is trying to make you angry wants to see a reaction. So, if you don’t give the expected reaction, it would frustrate them. Bingo!
Try thinking about something pleasant and remember to focus on it. That can calm you down. You can also try counting numbers (personally, never worked for me).
5. Jealousy – The green eyed monster is no new visitor. Starting from children to big adults, everyone is subjected to jealousy. Jealousy is hurtful since it inflicts a mixture of pain and hatred in the heart making you restless and vindictive. I can hear many ”Well, we can’t help it”s!
I have a simple strategy to deal with it. Whenever I get jealous, I remind myself that the competition should actually be with myself. Every new day, your goal should be to beat the person you were yesterday. It doesn’t hurt to compete with oneself where failure and success is taken with good sportsmanship. Burning with jealousy for your just-promoted colleague or that supermodel’ish girl is not going to get you anything but pain and hurt. Are they worth your pain? Instead compete with self.
6. Regret – Yes, it is true that regret is our mind’s permanent tenant. Some consider that life is all about one shots. You are wrong. You can always pick up the cudgels and fight for another chance. There is always another way; unless and until you are ready to believe that yourself, the way out won’t appear. You always have another chance to make it right and it is just a matter of standing up for yourself yet again.
Always remember, everything happens for a reason.
7. Letting go – I have included this on my list since relationship break-ups and losing someone to death make the worst kind of pain. I know that attachments are stronger than any chemical bond. When you have loved someone truly, you can never undo it. Never. And losing that special someone can hurt beyond imagination since love is another synonym for vulnerability. But the intensity and pain of the separation heals with time.
Even if they may not be in your life anymore, they will always be in your heart. Look after the memories tenderly even if the separation had been bitter because you loved them and nothing makes you more happy than their happiness. They would want you to be happy too. So, move on and harbor only good thoughts for them because life is too short for tears and grief.
8. Believing in something – This is the most important key to happiness. Have you ever wondered why a child feels secure in the arms of a mother who is physically incapable of protecting him? Because he believes in his mother.
When you believe in something/someone, you will have hope and when you have hope, nothing can destroy you. You know that they will always be there for you no matter what and you can draw strength from it. They will always be there to protect you. So you will be never be alone. This source can be divine or anything which is innocent and pure. Divine because definitely there is something behind the working of this universe starting from the microscopic quarks to the gigantic galaxies. On the other hand, you can believe in say, your dog because he loves you innocently. Anything which is innocent is divine. That’s why they say babies are divine and that they see god when they smile in their sleep.
Incorporate these ideas in your lives and see the magic!