How to Remain Spiritual in Unspiritual times

Joan Marques - Ed.D., MBA.
Burbank, California

Regardless of the simplicity of your life, you will still encounter times when everything seems complicated and insurmountable. That's the toll of modern society: unless you manage to pull out entirely, find yourself a dwelling on a deserted island, and live from the fruits of the trees that are hopefully plenteous, you will get confronted with hardships that you would rather not face: tax issues, renewal of licenses, fines for this or that, monthly bills, you name it.

For let's face it: being human also means that you will sometimes make mistakes and forget to meet society's requirements in a timely manner. And once you have made that error, the severity of modern civilization will definitely present itself to you in its grimmest version.

To make a long story short: we have all been confronted with troubles at times. In every mature life there have been crises that pushed the affected individual to the edge of his or her sanity and bearing. And whether these molestations of dispiritedness are the result of your own fault or not; whether they manifest themselves at home, in the workplace, or elsewhere; whether they are huge or minor; and whether they pertain to you directly or someone you dearly care for: you can try to keep your spirituality alive by executing the sequence of points below:

    1. Let it out. Cry, cuss or scream if you really have to, but make sure you vent, and don't implode, as that may cause severe damage to both your body and your spirit. In the worst case, swallowing your setbacks may lead to a heart attack or a stroke, and you don't want that. However, when you cry out loud, do that toward one who cares and will not hold your vulnerable moment against you later on. In these times of increasing calls for spirituality in the workplace you may very well manage to find an honest, trustworthy colleague, but you might still want to practice some carefulness since many of us are, unfortunately, still performing in a very aggressive, politically loaded corporate environment.

    2. Reflect and rationalize. Evaluate the effects this event has on your living or work circumstances, but even more, on yourself. Some of the things you can contemplate on are: What is the sense of this? How logical was it that it would happen? Could I have avoided it, and if so, how? Are the effects this event sorted so far rational? Depending on the questions you ask, you will soon find yourself formulating your possible next steps.

    3. Take action. This is where the implementation of the "next steps" formulated in point 2 takes place. Actions may vary from phone calls to make and letters to write to things to sell and new environments to move to. Especially the latter should never be overlooked as a valid option: there are too many people who automatically discard this possibility as a course of action, and thus stay in an unpleasant situation for mere fear of change. Many workplaces and homes consist of people who dream of alternatives yet lack the creativeness and courage to really achieve these options.

    4. Evaluate the lessons learned. Although part of this process already surfaced in point 2, it was not yet in evaluative stage at that time. But once the actions have been formulated and executed, you will usually find yourself having a more rational and less heated perspective of the event. So, this is the right moment to analyze how this event can benefit your self toward achieving a higher level of maturity and spiritual awareness. It is therefore important not to limit your evaluations to a narrow perspective, which is a strict formulation of what to do and what not to do in the future regarding this case, but to also review the broad perspective, in which you formulate your past, current, and future place in society, at home, at work, or whichever areas the problem affected.

    5. Release bad feelings. Now, this may sound easier than it is to be applied, especially if your problem was caused by someone who sold you out or acted on basis of a senseless bias, or by an act that someone could have avoided if only he or she paid more attention or demonstrated a more humane attitude toward you. But releasing bad feelings is not impossible. Although it is not recommendable to forget what happened and why, it only affects you negatively if you remain stuck in a pessimistic mindset that usually accompanies the event at first.

    6. Move on: wiser, and without grudge. So, why is grudge mentioned again here if the bad feelings toward the situation and the ones involved are already discussed in point 5? Well, because you may have neglected releasing the grudge you may hold toward your self! Many times we blame ourselves for things that happen to us, and perhaps we are not always wrong when we do that. But it is absolutely of no use to remain angry with yourself, no matter how stupid you consider the trouble you got caught in. As has been stated by many authors before, there is a lesson to learn from everything we experience. If you remain angry with yourself, you will fall into the mindset of not liking yourself. And if you don't like yourself, you will make it very hard for others to do so!