Theology. Anthropology & Spirituality
You have no doubt begun to appreciate the benefits that a heightened state of awareness has brought with it. Clinching jaws, squinted eyes, hurried breathing, quickened heart rate and restrictions in bodily functions have been reduced by simply monitoring the minds activities. With practice you will in time have mastered these technics. Imagine yourself breathing in cadence, a smile on a relaxed face, a body free of restrictions, a mind which manifests clearly defined thoughts, restoring integrity. Remember chatter is the antithesis of peace, untroubled ness is calming, this is the evolution of spiritual principles. At this time we are confident in your ability to remain silent, to recognize that exterior and interior resistance prevent calmness. We suggest you take a few transitional moments of silence before continuing.
Congratulations you have nearly completed the fifth and final lesson of this series. You have shown commitment to your recovery and a desire to grow following spiritual principles. Please continue with the lesson.
Spirituality: Theology vs. Anthropology
Can spirituality be found, co-existing on both a theological and anthropological plane? If so, how would you define it and what would it look like?
I recently reviewed an old case file, remembering a woman who reported being in a marriage filled with horrific incidents and turmoil. She told of how her husband would come home in a drunken stupor, abusing her by putting lit cigarettes out on her breast, while forcing her to have sex. When her son of six would witness this he would place himself between them diverting the beatings to himself. Feeling ashamed and embarrassed she kept the events from family and friends. Fearful and hesitant, she sought the guidance of a theologian; here she had been advised to disregard her husbands behaviors, that it would be unacceptable to seek a divorce, which was a contradiction of marriage vows. This created a moral dilemma, inner conflict between the choice of betraying the teachings and beliefs of theology or to continue to accept degradation. The spirit, will inherently revolt against such absurdities, in an honest effort to preserves its integrity, its animation and its freedom. This of course identifies instincts or an anthropological stance.
The son on approaching the age of reckoning, promised his mom that he would take his fathers life, should he again harm her. As the women was of meager means and had little resources to her avail she went on suffering. Feeling straddled with eight children, the husband eventually abandoned them and filed for a divorce, to which she most certainly did not contest. Years later the women reported that 'despite the severe dysfunction of our home, my children have been able to overcome their misfortune. And not only that, somehow they seem to have found a way of finding gratitude in their experience, which in turn, has strengthened them'. I reminded her of her perseverance and that she stood strong in her beliefs in spite of inner conflict. Although she did not respond, it was obvious that unresolved issues were creating interference to this day. Although the story may be extreme in detail it allows us an opportunity to engender personal ideals concerning spirituality, religion and anthropology. It is important that we identify the different roles they play in our lives so that we can integrate religion along with instincts and illuminate the inner conflict that can lead to turmoil. Where doubt and trust are concerned,“We can be at one in the same time, half sure and whole hearted” (Gordon W All port)
Hearing the silence
How often have you turned down the radio in your car on the way to work, attempting to relax and enjoy some quiet time, only to be distracted by your own thinking? We can get so involved in the minds activities that we can’t hear ourselves think. In the absence of observing the intervals between thoughts, clarity, definition and content can become distorted, creating conflict and confusion. This uncertainty can cause stress. For our purposes we refer to this as being mesmerized by unprovoked and unsolicited thoughts, those that seem to randomly enter the mind. A lack of consciously observing thoughts will adversely affect the integrity of their purpose and meaning. I n all that is said and done throughout the day’s activities, how much discretion has been taken in monitoring our thoughts? How has this indiscretion influenced the day’s wealth in terms of quality and quantity? Unconscious thinking ends in unresolved issues; it is the nemesis of competence, confidence, and manageability. Many have found a profound comfort in this state, basking in the racing of the minds preoccupation, while avoiding the silence that may reveal uncertainty and aspects beyond the customary beliefs, worries and self -dentity that most have aligned themselves with. Failure to realize the self deception and corrupt limitations surrounding unconscious thoughts invariably results in moral deformities, neurotic traits and disillusionment. As with all contamination, purification can only resume with proper filtration. Here you are invited to accept your thoughts without judgment, to feel their emotional attachments while remaining objective to various internal and external reactions. The dis- ease brought on by compulsive thinking cannot co-exist while attention is being placed on awareness. Subscribing to such practices implies acceptance beyond sensory illusions. Embedded within our essence is an inherent yearning to be silent, it is where God exists; this is what religions so meagerly and insufficiently have been unable to accomplish. Whether it is mans interpretation of the rules and regulations governing the beliefs of monotheism religions, the results seem to produce guilt and shame. Forgiveness can only be achieved after reconciliation is done and in a particular way, according to scripture. It is not our intention to ignite controversy; on the contrary we encourage insight that creates definitive answers to calming the mind, placing the soul at peace while inviting a God of your understanding into your life. The love that God has offered us can only be experienced in pure thought. My God has no interest in instilling fear in me or anyone. Sin, as we know it, was not created or intended as a threat, to be used to control actions or emotions. This would be cruel and end in neurosis at best. A clever quote to ponder “You will not be punished for your sins but by them”, (Neale Donald Walsch). I have been very fortunate in determining my conception of God, one who allows me the freedom to move and interact confidently without the fear of retribution or judgment. I am all of what I am as a result of his/her being and in turn I am exalted by this connection. By all means maintain your religious values but at the same time recognize that spirituality cannot co-exist in the presence of fear, confusion or discord. If your relationship with God is fear based we invite you to establish concepts that produce peace, love, joy and end in pure thought. “A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea, which is higher then himself: and a mean man, by one lower then himself, the one produces aspiration: the other ambition, which is the way a vulgar man aspires”. (Marcus Aurelius).
Time and Time Again
Have you ever taken a weekend, an afternoon, or a lunch break just to be alone, not in isolation, but to contemplate and to experience solitude. If so how did it work out for you? So often our intentions are to step asid,e putting away our daily routines to spend a few moments, hours or days alone, but for one reason or another the act becomes a task, important things need to be taken care of. Putting ourselves aside, we proceeded to committing to that which we have determined as important, only to later blame our uneasiness on others, society, the rat race, someone or something other then ourselves. Things need to be done and they need to be done right away and by me. We do not live in a society that creates circumstances that disallow us to take proper care of our selves, although many have found comfort in the business that produces self importance, without which they may cease to exist. Of course we need to provide for our families, food, education, fuel for our homes and yes things are expensive and time is limited. It has become so easy to get distracted when you spend your time running around collecting a quantity of things (titles, degrees, items, ex.) to lie at the feet of your children, parent’s, siblings, or neighbors. For some, the quality of life has been sacrificed to present others with quantity. It is the need for this superficial validation that sooner or later ends in frustration leaving us with a feeling of emptiness, embitterment or resentment. If this is the direction you have been traveling it is not futile. There is a solution, a simple one at that, prioritize through time management, putting aside personal time to be spent in silence. Those who are familiar with spending time alone report being more trusting of time and their management of it. An added benefit was enlightenment and with it an energized spirit which enhanced quality and quantity of productivity both at work and in more pleasurable endeavors. It is our responsibility to feed the soul with the silent nourishment it craves. “Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat then in his own soul” (Marcus Aurelius).
Spirituality, God, and Theology are and should be personal and deal with personalized issues concerning an individual’s beliefs, practices, rituals affecting their morals, judgment, character and what they feel identifies integrity. Our view is of the utmost neutral position, we celebrate any practice that places one in a state of peace, trust, acceptance, love and harmony. May God guide, you in finding your way.
Philosophy, Ontology, Psychology, Sociology , Spirituality and Theology – Man is dead smack in the center of it all.