Saturday, November 28, 2009
Morning meditation - Spiritual values and mental health
What is the relationship between spiritual values and emotional health? Shakespeare says in his play Hamlet, “Above all else to thine own self be true.” Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Philosophers have told us for ages that creating a life is a work of art in progress. Since I was a young boy I have constantly told myself as a way of encouragement, “It’s not a bad life if you know how to live it.” Perhaps that’s it, the big question, the biggest question of all, “How do I live my life?”
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the talk show advice dispenser, said that feeling good and doing good are two different things. Sometimes there are things that make us temporarily feel good that are bad for us, and there are times when doing good is difficult and doesn’t always make us immediately feel good because it takes sacrifice.
Spiritual values are a guide on how to live life. If our values work for us they should promote good mental health for us and the people we are in relationship with.
If you asked most people, “What are your spiritual values,” I doubt they could tell you. They might tell you what they believe like “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior” or “I don’t really believe in God” but they would have a harder time telling you what their spiritual values are. A mature soul can. A mature soul wouldn’t hesitate. A mature soul would tell you that he/she values kindness, forgiveness, compassion, gratitude, inclusiveness, a nonjudgmental attitude, justice, peace, respect for others even those different from oneself, the right of conscience of the individual, and good stewardship of our resources. The mature soul isn’t interested in creeds, and laws, and regulations. The mature soul knows that in the end love is enough. True love, though, is not egotistical, is not narcissistic, is not manipulative. True love appreciates the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Good spiritual values are a reward unto themselves and lead to good mental health and a good life. The reason that a life based on good spiritual values is rare is because our base human nature has proclivities for greed, power, lust, gluttony, sloth, pride, wrath, and envy. These proclivities must be understood and disciplined and that takes effort and guidance which often is lacking.
It is not a bad life if you know how to live it and it takes a lifetime to learn how.
Our Unitarian Universalist values/principles can stand you in good stead until you can sort out your own. As Groucho Marx said, "If you don't these principles, I have others."