The dates and special occasions in your life story are splendid moments to commemorate important events. But what makes them special is not only the food, the friends or the gifts, but remembering how mystical this event entails. Our spiritual nature allows us to value these intangibles.
Our spiritual nature is as much a part of being human as our physical or emotional nature. The ability to transcend allows us to find meaning in our lives and value intangible things, so by cultivating this natural predisposition we can feel more fulfilled.
Our body requires a daily rest, that is why we sleep responsibly the unavoidable hours; we instruct ourselves by acquiring knowledge and skills, as this is a natural disposition of our mind; And, without a doubt, the relationship with others and the establishment of affective bonds with other people are part of our emotional instinct. Similarly, our empathic voice, our unfailing admiration for being and being, or our ineluctable amazement at the phenomenon of perishing present their own peculiar demands, regardless of whether or not we identify with a specific tradition.
ARE WE SPIRITUAL BEINGS?
Feel grateful to life for who we are, prepare to face death, understand the meaning of suffering and illness, identify meaning in our lives, love with empathy and without waiting for counterparts or learn from the adversities that, inevitably, we leave finding are skills that all people can develop from our earliest childhood to the end of our days.
The mystical nature, understood as the openness to experiences that, starting from the sensory, go beyond the body itself, is congenital to the human being, and not to a lesser extent than our physical reality, our intellectual capacity or our emotional faculties.
Today, science and research provide surprising conclusions about this dimension that does not lend itself to being placed on the list of our bodily features, nor does it belong to the rich and diverse world of emotions and feelings: the sphere of the spiritual.
- Energy. The studies of the American Jeff Lieberman -artist, mathematician, physicist and master”s degree in robotic engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (the prestigious MIT) – have concluded that all the cells and atoms of which we are formed refer, ultimately to pure energy. His studies lead him to conclude that our spiritual perceptions are nothing but the consciousness that we have of that state of energy. Likewise, it raises how the human scale of our experiences constitutes a systematic distraction with respect to a deeper level of experience: the suprasensory experience that we have during our daily acts.
- Mirror neurons. Another current scientist who has made great contributions related to the spiritual is the well-known sociologist and economist Jeremy Rifkin, who has discovered that economic history shows that human beings have a spiritual dimension that compensates for their animal, selfish and materialistic drives. The neuronal support of this dimension are the famous mirror neurons.
- Spiritual intelligence. Another of the most important lines of research in this regard is based on Howard Gardner”s theory of multiple intelligences, a research psychologist at Harvard University, who expands the field of human IQ beyond the exclusive limits of academic brilliance. Gardner has identified eight forms of intelligence that, together and in combination, make up human capacity: linguistic-verbal, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and naturalistic. However, a large number of scholars in the field of psychology, psychiatry, philosophy, neurology, theology, anthropology, coming from very different schools and of very varied ideological ancestry, are detecting in the human being a series of operations and potentialities that can hardly be explained according to the spectrum of multiple intelligences. They propose, without exception, to add one more dimension:
Gardner himself defines this type of intelligence (existential, spiritual and philosophical, which would be added to the other eight and which would still have to be analyzed) as the ability to place oneself in correspondence with the characteristics of the human condition. These are, on the one hand, radical questions regarding our existence: the meaning of life, the reason for death, the sense that there is something called the world; and, on the other, limit experiences exclusive to humans: love or attraction for expressions of the beautiful and sublime. Danah Zohar and Ian Marshal – researchers from the universities of Oxford and London, respectively – are the ones who coined the term spiritual intelligence. They discovered that there was a change in the oscillations of the electromagnetic waves of the brain and concluded, among other issues, that people who cultivate this type of intelligence are more open to diversity, they have a great tendency to wonder why and why of things and are more efficient at finding non-partial answers to questions.
SATISFY OUR PREDISPOSITION TO THE SPIRITUAL
In light of the scientific conclusions of the dawn of the third millennium, the existence of the spiritual in the human species cannot be ignored, understood as the propensity to go beyond the limits of the purely biological. Its cultivation produces in us a pleasant detachment from the momentary and the fleeting, and opens our attention to enduring values and ideals for the future. The challenge lies in how to satisfy that natural predisposition that we have to be able to achieve a joyful and healthy life.
Honoring the spiritual is instinctive and gives us inner pleasure, gives meaning to our daily moments, guides us in our behavior and forms the basis of our dreams and hopes. To do this, we can carefully cultivate a series of simple practices and routines that help us align ourselves with those inner demands.
- Connect with our spirit. Exercising silence, fostering contact with nature, enjoying beauty (in art and in any of its expressions) or delighting in the feelings generated by the company of a loved one are universal ways of connecting with our spirit.
- Practice personal introspection. Other habits such as meditation, prayer, writing diaries or poems for oneself, practicing waiting and recollection, paying reverence to existence or commemorating, with simple ceremonies, people or special moments of the past are some of the infinite forms of spiritual introspection.
- Live the moment. When I work with parents in the practice of my profession, I usually recommend that they be especially observant when it comes to identifying the everyday and still important moments in life, and that they celebrate them as a family with solemnity but simplicity. This is a great way to learn to connect with our inner selves, live in the present moment with full awareness and enjoyment, and feel grateful for it.
HABITS TO CONNECT WITH OUR BEING
The beginning and the end of a new year or a new school stage, the overcoming of an illness, the Christmas celebrations or the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the East are propitious occasions for this learning. My children are still excited when they see the photos of the day when we paid tribute, through tears, to our previous car and said goodbye to it at the junkyard. With this, they recall the places to which he had taken us and the unique and unrepeatable experiences that we had lived with him.
That day, the dealer”s salesman who was about to deliver our current vehicle was almost excited too! These types of everyday events have nothing special if we do not endow them with a meaning. We often celebrate a birthday with great paraphernalia, gifts and bustle, forgetting that the most special thing about the occasion is reverently commemorating the moment when we started the sacred path of life and marveling at the miracle that this implies.
How different it is to take a simple walk through the city than to do it in the countryside accompanied by a meditative silence that allows us to connect with our deepest being! Holidays are different when they involve the awareness that it is a situation that does not pursue any end, since it itself constitutes an end. Being on vacation is a state of mind in which all our attention is focused on what we are doing at every moment. For some it consists of sunbathing, others prefer to stay in a place reading and others, to climb mountains. But the common element to all is the ideal feeling of not preparing for the next moment or thinking about what recently happened.
- Celebrate with your heart. The dates and special occasions in your life story are splendid moments to commemorate important events. But what makes them special is not only the food, the friends or the gifts, but remembering how mystical that event entails. Celebrate your birthday as a sacred moment: that of the joy of starting your existence.
- Let yourself be transported by art. Listening to music or looking at a work of art is a great way to honor the spirit. Enjoy them, because they have the gift of transporting you in time and making you conjure up, magically, the fragrance of inner pleasure that you had in moments of the past.
- Isolate yourself from the environment. Meditation is the key that opens the doors of mysteries. In this state, your mind is abstracted, you isolate yourself from the objects that surround you and you immerse yourself in a sea of introspection. It is there where you can discover the secrets of things.
- Exercise in nature. The spiritual state that physical exercise provokes is another way to connect with yourself, and it has very positive effects on your mood. Take frequent walks in the countryside: it is a moderate exercise and it sharpens your senses.
- Encourage good encounters. Contact with people to whom you have emotional ties helps you tune into your essence. Seek the company of that friend or relative who gives you peace of mind.
TRAIN OURSELVES TO GRASP THE MESSAGES
The sine qua non condition to be able to connect with our inner being and capture the messages that it transmits to us is the training and acquisition of certain habits. Some time ago, Mario came to my office, a really brilliant young man in his thirties, who suffered from a depression that resulted in some somatizations.
After a few sessions in which he was beginning to feel somewhat more relieved and encouraged, he explained a magnificent discovery he had made the week before. To my surprise, he told me that, through a friend, he had learned about the practice of prayer for the first time. Never before had he been acquainted with her. That afternoon, with a shy smile on his lips, Mario told me that, despite “not having gotten the hang of it yet”, in his lowest moments, these spaces of silence, solitude, reverence and recollection relieved him so much that he deeply regretted not having had them before. The ability to distance ourselves from our experiences, learn to feel aesthetic joy, understand our biography as a great unitary project, find possible answers to why we are born and what we must do before we die, be able to hear our inner voice, know how to value immaterial things and intangibles, detect a perennial wisdom that lies hidden behind the sayings of respectable figures in history, learn to love difficulty, be able to open the floodgates of the past, know how to cultivate trusting and patient waiting, feel pleasure in our admiration for things amazing or living with great quality our human relationships are just some of the benefits of feeding the spirit.
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