The Power of a Spiritual Life
April 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
Why does research show that people who have a spiritual life lead happier, more resilient lives; are there things that non-spiritual people can incorporate into their own lives to obtain a similar result?
I am not surprised by these findings. They are certainly consistent with my personal and clinical observations over the last thirty years and the information presented in my LA Times Bestselling book, Sacred Healing: Integrating Spirituality with Psychotherapy.
People who have a spiritual life have different core values and different internal states than individuals who profess no spiritual beliefs or experiences. One of the most important aspects of a real and authentic spiritual life is the realization that one’s true nature is eternal and a part of a larger consciousness. Individuals may vary in their belief about this force, be it God, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Krishna, Mohammed, or a particular enlightened Master. The actual belief concerning the nature and source of this spiritual reality is not the most important issue. It is the actual experience of this spiritual source that solidifies one’s personal beliefs and values. The actual states of love, joy, peace and bliss are not tied to or determined by outer reality or circumstances. This is one of the reasons that spiritually aware people are more resilient. They are not at the total mercy of outer circumstances for their happiness.
When I traveled to India many years ago I was surprised and moved to see so much joy and light emanating from those individuals in dire poverty and living on the streets in Bombay, now Mumbai. These individuals possessed nothing by our Western standards, yet they appeared happier than many more wealthy Americans. The nature of spiritual realization results in a direct awareness of the soul, which is by nature love, joy, peace and bliss. One discovers this inner truth not by the acquisition of outer gain, but by the redirection of one’s awareness to an inner reality that has great depth and wisdom.
Once the inner spiritual world is discovered, many fears disappear. Certainly the fear of death dissolves as the realization of the eternal nature of the soul emerges. Loss of any kind no longer has a devastating and catastrophic result because a deeper sense of identity, support, and security exists. Anyone with a real degree of self-realization knows that life is transitory and attachments ultimately lead to suffering. When consciousness is stabilized in the deeper Self, then outer forces have less emotional impact.
I have had three major losses in my life: my younger brother by six years and both parents. I was especially close to my father when he left his body several years ago. Grief is a natural state of the human condition. There are strong energetic cords from the subtle body that connect us when we have loving, bonded relationships. It is emotionally painful when these are severed. I felt the waves of grief roll through my heart and it was painful. After three months, I decided to take a week off and go on retreat in Hawaii. I spent four to seven hours a day in deep meditation and by the end of the week I was so immersed in Divine light that the grief process had shifted. Even at the moment of my father’s death, my experience was different from those with only a worldly context and experience. His room was filled with a sublime, golden light that was very loving. His presence was tangible! I sat with him for three hours in deep communion with his soul. He was no longer in his physical body, but yet still present.
In my most recent book, Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down, I discuss the importance and power of a spiritual life.
There is an additional boon to a spiritual life—wisdom. Direct spiritual knowledge is a function of the soul through an intuitive process. It is possible to experience the interconnection within all life. This direct knowledge removes the sense of isolation and separation that most people experience on a daily basis. This sense of unity creates a degree of comfort and support as you realize that God is in your heart, and we are all in this creation together. The eternity of the soul is revealed, and most fears fall away—especially the fear of death. More important than mere comfort, this Divine presence can have a tangible impact on your life and help you in the most amazing ways. ¬¬¬
Resilience become possible when we feel are not alone and experience a tangible spiritual force which helps us feel stronger and support our every need in this human condition. Isolation, helplessness, despair and fear undermine our ability to cope with the changes and challenges of earthly life. It is possible to live with hope and happiness and recover from loss and personal harm when we are consciously connected to a greater spiritual force. Even personal healing from disease and injury is facilitated by this subtle reality.
Another important reality to consider is that spiritually aware individuals feel a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. They feel connected to a larger community and are motivated to help others. The result is a sense of joy. We suffer most when we are totally consumed and preoccupied about our own happiness. Self-centeredness and selfishness does not bring joy!
The term “non-spiritual” is interesting because we are all made in the image and likeness of God. This does not change just because we have no realization of this reality. It is probably better to describe someone has “unaware” or a “non-believer” of these realities. If someone has no direct experience of these more subtle realities, not to worry. I believe that the desire to be physically healthy and emotionally strong provides enough motivation to a try a simple research proven method: meditation. The research shows that meditation will lower heart disease, increase job satisfaction, improve interpersonal relationships, and lower stress and anxiety. These are all positive outcomes for any life. In additional, as one learns to quiet the mind and internalize consciousness other more subtle realities may emerge. It does not take spiritual motivation or desire to incorporate a little meditation and proper breathing practice into one’s life. If one also spends a little time trying to help others, that will lead to a great sense of joy as well.
Ronald L Mann, Ph.D. is a best selling author, and a Peak Performance Coach for Golf and Business development. His doctorate is in clinical psychology and he has taught worldwide. His published books include, Sacred Healing: Integrating Spirituality with Psychotherapy, The Yoga of Golf, and Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down. He has helped individuals and business from the corporate world to the non-profit such as EBay, Self Realization Fellowship, Windstar, United Way, Dixon World Charities, Little Mendelson, UCLA Women’s Golf Team, and Ventura and Arizona Junior Golf Programs. Please visit his website at http://www.ronmann.com and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ronald.mann1.
© 2011 Copyright Ronald L. Mann, Ph.D.