Have you been hopping mad recently? Some people temperamentally seem to be more easily roused to anger than are others. Yet, to some extent we all get irritated at times. We feel cross when others attack what we love like our child or pet animal for instance.
It could be something we love in ourselves, that when attacked, causes us a sense of wounded pride. We may experience `road rage’ in our heart, reasoning defensively in our head about it being the other driver’s entire fault.
We might then use our hands to make rude gestures or write letters making unreasonable demands. Offensive putdowns thrown at us in a condescending tone of voice also can get to us. Then irritation easily spirals when we retaliate in kind and the heated things that are said – which on reflection we often do not even mean – hurt both parties. It is possible to harbour resentment for years especially if we continually avoid someone or allow ourselves to slip into the habit of not conversing with them when we do have an opportunity.
Spiritual healing may be a relevant way forward. However making up may be easier said than done. In addition, not every attempt at reconciliation works. After all, it takes two to tango. We need to eat a little humble pie even if the other person does not. The trouble is as …..
Turn on the television news and there is an almost overwhelming focus on financial mess, social problems or crime. So what actually is the meaning of life? When I look around me I can’t help longing for a better kind of world. Sometimes I feel we are so used to the unsatisfactory state of things that we have given up hoping for something better.
Is idealism completely out of fashion? Have we become too cynical to have a vision of utopia? Or are we too scared of being tarnished with the same brush as the fanatical extremists who have not been slow in broadcasting their own hate filled criticism of modern life. Perhaps I’m being hopelessly idealistic but surely society could be better. How can I find my perfect society? What follows are the prejudices of an idealist.
Spiritual healing can be needed for guilty feelings. Not all that is going on in our mind is the working of a true conscience. Some of us find ourselves at times on a guilt trip. Even if we have a sound mind, we may sometimes feel guilty over the smallest thing – without rhyme or reason painstakingly worried about something we have done that really is unimportant.
One example is children who, having been trained by their parents to follow certain rules, like never putting one’s elbows on the table at meal times – feel guilty when they have grown into adulthood feeling guilty if they ever break this rule. Other examples of illogical guilt are saying `sorry’ a lot of the time and unfairly criticising ourselves. Trying too hard to get friends to like us, feeling easily embarrassed when asking for favours or doing anything that might displease them.
Many hopelessly sick people feel constantly guilty. This may result from the suspicion that their sickness and fate are self-inflicted and their own fault. Alternatively, they may assume, more or less, the role of the utterly dependent child. Some consciously apologize for the trouble and fuss they are causing. (Our Western culture fosters a sense of guilt in most of us when illness places us in the dependent role). If we are dying, we may even feel as if we are forcing the living to face the necessity of their own deaths for which we suppose they will not be thankful.
Who doesn’t want to feel respected or liked by other people? Yet how many of us are very troubled in this area and fail to be our true selves as a result.
Appreciating one’s solitude – for example in the back of beyond – at times can be a source of refreshment and energy. Yet, sometimes being on your own does feel very lonely. Even when in a crowd or a group situation we can also feel lonely. Then our loneliness can come from feeling different from, and not belonging to the network of people with whom we associate at work, home and play. If we are not at ease with ourselves, we will be ill at ease with people we meet. We may build a wall around ourselves and not allow others to look inside it. We may doubt there is anything of value we can share with them like a sense of humour, sparkling conversation, interesting ideas, or some useful knowledge. This is a fear that others will discover what we imagine to be our limitations. So we may find ourselves thinking, “I’d rather do it myself,” “I prefer to be alone.” Because we do not mix with others, people do not get to know us and we will lack friends and close relationships. Then we will feel even lonelier.
Friendship flourishes with having something in common and thus having shared conversation and activity – experiences that give delight.
Is marriage an impossible dream? Is it unrealistic to expect two people to live together happily for the rest of their life and find spiritual healing together?
These days in England for example, couples, more often than not, live together for some time before even considering the possibility of marriage; a very different way of looking at things from say the middle of the twentieth century.
What lies behind this change? Some would point to the availability of contraceptives that allow us to have a full sexual relationship for the time being without the long-term commitment of parenthood. Others would point to a less hypocritical society. We all know that nearly half of marriages these days end in divorce. It is asked, “Why pretend everything is perfect by getting married when it clearly isn’t likely to stay that way in many cases?”
Another suggested reason for living together without getting married is to do with a fear of failure of the relationship in the full glare of public knowledge. At least in Britain this pessimism is perhaps not surprising given the high rate of marriage failure. People see cohabiting as having the advantage of being a private arrangement between two people not involving any socially recognised level of commitment and which can be finished as well as started relatively quietly.
Many of us are inclined to rebel when someone tells us what to do. We do not always take kindly to being told what is right and wrong behaviour. However, ethical living is part of spiritual healing according to the world’s spiritual traditions. That following a set of rules of conduct is conducive to spiritual growth. How does this apply to sexual relationships?
People may not be concerned about the rights and wrongs of sexual behaviour. They ask:
“Isn’t sex a basic drive that needs to be satisfied, just like hunger and thirst?”
“Isn’t sexual expression one of our inherent freedoms?”
“Isn’t sexuality a way of expressing our unique individuality?”
To answer “yes” to these questions may be correct for some but it is to miss a spiritual principle, for it ignores the idea of a growing union of mature love between two people. There are many reasons for coldness developing between a couple but one of the most damaging tends to be the sense of hurt and distrust in one partner caused by the other becoming sexually drawn to another person.
by Max Brooks Published by Duckworth 2009 ISBN 978 0 7156 5318 2
Are you alive and kicking? Not so sure? Perhaps you feel your own level of vitality, vim, and vigour are at a low ebb. If so The Zombie Survival Guide may be for you. It is a self-help book with a difference. It purports to protect the reader from entities called zombies. These fantasy creatures have became popular in modern horror fiction since the success of the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead. They are portrayed as lifeless, sterile and apathetic, supposedly roaming around with a shambling awkward limp, and experiencing little or no physical sensation or emotion. The popular myth is that they are either re-animated human corpses or human beings controlled by someone else by magic. In either case they are said to be devoid of life of their own, and so assumed to be wanting to suck the life-blood from those who get into their clutches. If they get hold of you the book suggests this would be a living death and it aims to give practical advice about how to avoid this peril.
Yes, it all sounds rather macabre but I do wonder if this is a potent symbol for our times.
Some people drift aimlessly through life reacting to events and never making things happen for themselves. However, whatever the personal problem, it is often necessary for us to take the initiative in doing something about it, rather than letting things drift. Otherwise, it is only when some crisis occurs that eventually the situation forces us to make decisions about say a job, home, or even a close relationship. Better to prevent difficulties getting out of hand than allow circumstances no longer under our control to push us into a corner.
Often and in various ways we may slide into letting life around us govern how we think and behave – in a way that enables us to blame ‘it’ if ever we feel criticised. So it tends to be “someone else’s fault – not mine!” But spiritual healing may be needed.
Perhaps we are willing to be of help to others even when it is an inconvenience. It is good to be selfless and charitable. However, do we sometimes allow others to exploit our better nature? One sign of this is if we were to feel fed up with the way others take advantage of us or feel quietly resentful when sidelined, or put on.
From our childhood onwards our lives are filled with questions of one sort or another – some more pressing or even agonising than others. But where are we to look for valid answers and find the meaning of life?
There are the really big questions and the smaller ones. Here are a few of the bigger ones. Does outer space beyond our solar system go on forever or does it have an edge – and if so what is on the other side? Where do we come from, why are we here, and what will become of us when we die? I can imagine some alien intelligence on a far distant planet asking exactly the same questions. These sort of universal questions have puzzled thinking people down the ages.
Children as well as adults ask questions. The play age stage of childhood is often characterised by developmental theorists as one of explorative activity and exuberant discovery. Consequently good educational practice encourages a child-centred approach to learning. This compares favourably with the old approach of rote learning. Modern teachers enhance children’s interest by providing knowledge building on what they already know. They relate their teaching to the child’s limited experiences stretching their understanding a bit further.
We hear of thousands of ordinary people who have lost their lives or been severely traumatised by civil war, terrorism, ethnic cleansing, invasion, slavery and so on. Where is the meaning of life in this innocent suffering? If humankind has a humane spirit of care, generosity and goodwill that respects the rights of others, where does social coercion and violent aggression come from? If there is an all-powerful divine force within the universe, why are tyrants and suicide bombers allowed to cause such misery?
Similar questions arise in connection with natural events. Some people in the world, through no fault of their own, have experienced devastating earthquake, like the one in Haiti, not to mention volcanic eruption, tsunami, hurricane, flood, or famine. These events can result in much suffering and many casualties. And then there is disease. Which of us, during the course of our lives, will have to endure serious injury, congenital disability, or progressive, mental or terminal illness?
The creator seems careless about creation. If there is a perfect force that made the natural world, why are there imperfections in nature?