Inspiration can come from people who have endured catastrophic life experiences and emerged the victor or the wiser victim. Helen Keller, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and Elie Weisel are some of the more familiar names, but many of us have personally known individuals who have come through the other side of a wrenching experience with love, grace and humility.
If we could ask each one–the familiar and the famous–”What got you through your crisis?” in all likelihood the responses would be similar. One by one, they would think back, look within and describe inner resources that enabled them to survive. Brian Luke Seaward, author of Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, calls those qualities “the muscles of the soul.” Courage, faith, humor, patience, compassion, imagination, humility, forgiveness, intuition, creativity, optimism, honesty, and love.
It is in exercising those muscles that the health of the human spirit is maintained. And the fitness of the spirit is vital to our total well-being.
“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.”
~John F. Kennedy
Keeper Of Our Spirit
With the understanding that there is a definitive link between stress and disease, and a greater appreciation for the healing power of the Divine Spirit, practitioners in all areas of health are beginning to acknowledge that to be healthy, one must honor and nurture our own human spirits, which are made in the image of the Divine.
Brian Luke Seaward offers 7 suggestions to enhance the health of the human spirit.
1. The Art of Self-renewal
Self-renewal is a continual process. To be present and attentive to those around us and strong for others in times of need, we must first attend to our own capacity for strength and endurance. Typically this begins with some aspect of the meditative process, going within to calm and refresh.
2. The Practice of Sacred Rituals
We attribute some habits and customs as more special than others, then gravitate toward those activities and make them habitual so that we are reminded of life’s sacredness. Special readings or meditations in the morning witnessing the sunset every night, regular meeting of certain groups to which we belong–all manner of activities can serve as an enrichment that connects us more closely with the Divine.
3. Sweet Forgiveness
Every act of unconditional forgiveness is an act of unconditional love. For forgiveness to be unconditional you must be willing to let go of all feelings of anger and resentment. We must forgive others and ourselves.
4. Embracing the Shadow
Embracing the shadow means to acknowledge negative, judgmental thoughts, and send a message of acceptance and compassion, and separation, to that part of ourselves where those thoughts and perceptions originate.
5. Keep the Faith
The power of faith requires balance. It is good to remember that “We are given no task too great to bear,” Faith is there to guide us through moments of turbulence.
6. Live Your Joy
Living your joy is seeking and appreciating our personal beautiful side. It reminds us to live in the present moment rather than become immobilized by that which is past or that which is yet to come.
7. Compassion in Action
Compassion in action can be explained in one word–service, and service offers a dividend of love to everyone involved.
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks within, awakens”