- Mar 12, 2009
SPIRITUALITY AND HEALTH
Spirituality is being of the spirit and is a devotion to the metaphysical matters and activities, which renew, uplift, comfort, heal, and inspire in others and us with whom we interact. It is the development of True Divine being to the point that one’s spirit is developed to the Holy Spirit of God through Sabad;
ਸੋ ਬੂਝੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਆਪਿਬੁਝਾਏ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਸੁ ਮੁਕਤੁ ਭਇਆ॥ਨਾਨਕ ਤਾਰੇ ਤਾਰਣਹਾਰਾ ਹਉਮੈ ਦੂਜਾ ਪਰਹਰਿਆ॥
So Boojhai Jis Aap Bujha-ay Gur Kai Sabad So Mukat Bhayia, Nānak ṯārė ṯāraṇhārā ha¬umai ḏūjā parhari¬ā.
He alone understands whom the Akal Purkh inspires to understand. Through the Word of the Guru's Sabd, one is liberated.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Ram kali, AGGS, Page 941-1
True spirituality is achieved by logically applying teachings incorporated in Sabd Guru that allow ego to vanish in the fire of Divine love and fear. A true Guru, who has achieved oneness with God, can only give such true spiritual teachings. The purpose of developing our spirituality is to be free of spiritual ignorance, free of selfish or destructive behavioral patterns and free to return to our eternal home in God. One’s mind becomes enlightened by attaching to the word and spirit of the Gurbani as expressed by Guru Nanak in Raag Sorath;
ਅੰਤਰਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਨਿਰੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਾਚੇ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਸਿਉ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ॥ਅਸੰਖ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ਕਹਹਿ ਬੈਰਾਗ ਸੋ ਬੈਰਾਗੀ ਜਿ ਖਸਮੈ ਭਾਵੈ ॥
Antar Joat Niranter Baani Saachay Sahib Seo Liv Layee, AsaNkh Bairaagee Kaheh Bairaag So Bairaagee Je Khasmai Bhaavai.
God's Light shines continually within the nucleus of deepest self; I am lovingly attached to the Bani, the Word of the True Master. Countless detached renunciates talk of detachment and renunciation, but he alone is a true renunciate, who is pleasing to the Husband God.------Guru Nanak, Raag Sorath, AGGS, Page 634-10
We are not saints but should be willing to grow along spiritual lines to claim spiritual progress rather spiritual perfection. Spirituality is the way you find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace in your life. Many people find spirituality through religion, some find it through music, art or a connection with nature, and others find it in their values and principles. However, it seems the body, mind and spirit are connected. The health of any one of these elements seems to affect the health.
There is no absolute scientific proof of the presence of The Absolute Principle or the Infinite God; henceforth the God’s subtle essence cannot be obtained by any one. Religion and science will always clash due to perceived insults to the research and rationality by fundamentalists and non progressive individuals. Spirituality was the domain of the faith but lately science has developed with close alignment. Science ends, when reason fails but spirituality is there all the time. God cannot be completely contained with in nature and therefore God’s existence is out side the science’s ability to weigh in. Scientists are not blind believers but make a critical analysis of the evidence, quite opposite to the religious approach based on blind faith and belief. On the other hand because something is vastly improbable, we need a God to explain it. Since we are profoundly ignorant about certain things we need to work on them like understanding the physiology of conscience to reduce human suffering of pain and depression.
Can the religion stand up to the progress of science is the main question?
Religion and science can co-exist with a little tolerance and rationality and mutual respect, humans should enjoy the strides of science, while enjoying the comforts provided by being humble towards that unfathomable, incomprehensible Higher Power. One can be spiritual by subjugating the lower instincts of Lust, Anger, Greed, Attachment, and Ego with further development of the virtues of Truth, Compassion, Contentment, and Faith in the existence of Higher Power, and Fortitude.
The highest spiritual achievement ever made is by spiritual awakening of the mind with spiritual wisdom. Spiritual awakening causes a change in personality, which manifests itself in many different forms of the "educational variety". It develops slowly over a period of time and often it is the others, who become aware of the difference in personality long before the individual recognizes himself.
ਗਿਆਨ ਰਤਨੁ ਮਨਿ ਪਰਗਟੁ ਭਇਆ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਸਹਜੇ ਲਇਆ ॥
Gian Rattan Man Paragatt Bheiaa, Naam Padaarath Sehjay La-i-aa.
The jewel of spiritual wisdom is revealed with in the mind. The wealth of the Naam is easily, intuitively received.-----Guru Ramdas, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 1069-15
The individual finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life that such a change could hardly have been brought about by him alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. The individual has tapped an unsuspected inner resource, which he identifies with his own conception of a Power greater than himself. He is the same but he is not the same. Accepting cosmic wholeness, in turn, entails trust and confidence in a source of goodness and beauty, a hub of ultimate coherence that holds together the diverging spokes of individual existence, a center of love and justice that validates our intuited claims to the dignity of the human person.
ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰੇ ਤਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਪਾਏ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਲਗਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਲਗਾ ਸੋ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ ॥
Aap Gavaa-ey Sayva Karay Ta Kich Paa-ay Maan, Nanak Jis No Lagaa Tis Milai Lagaa So Parwaan.
If one eliminates his self-conceit and then performs service, he shall be honored. O Nanak, if he merges with the one with whom he is attached, his attachment becomes acceptable.------Guru Angad, Raag Asa, AGGS, Page 474-10
Any spiritual advantage by doing good deeds is lost by becoming proud of the deeds performed or requesting a reward in return;
ਅਹੰਬੁਧਿ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਨੇ ॥ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਬਾਲੂ ਨੀਰਿ ਬਹਾਵਨੇ ॥
AhaN-buDh Karam Kamaavanay, Garih Baaloo Neer Bahaavanay.
Good deeds done in the pride of ego are swept away, like the house of sand by water.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, PAGE, 211-3
God cannot be intellectualized. God’s presence can only be felt by an individual through a spiritual experience in a belief system that allows for the possibility that there may be an Unconditionally Loving Higher Power - a God-Force, Unfathomable metaphysical Energy, Great Spirit, whatever it is called - which is powerful enough to insure that everything is unfolding perfectly from a Cosmic perspective in the mind of the individual.
ਅਵਿਗਤਿ ਗਤਿ ਅਗਾਧ ਬੋਧਿ ਅਕਥ ਕਥਾ ਅਸਗਾਹ ਅਪਾਰੀ।
Avagati Gati Agaadhi Bodhi Akath Katha Asgaah Apaari.
To have knowledge of the dynamism of that unmanifest Akal Purkh is a very deep experience, and to say something of that ineffable God is a Herculean task.-----Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 11, Pauri 2
Spiritual experience may be called “transcendence,” “bliss” or “ecstasy”. This makes one healthier, happier, and can even lengthen the lifespan. This all happens for a reason - there are no accidents, no coincidences, and no mistakes and logic is necessary to understand all of this.
ਸਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਜਿਨਿ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਕਰਨ ਕਰਾਵਨ ਤਿਨਿ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਨਿਆ ॥
Sat Saroop Ridai Jin Maaniaa, Karan Karaavan Tin Mool Pachaaniaa,Ja Kai Ridai Bisvaas Prabh Aaeiaa, Tutt Giaan Tis Man Pargattaaeiaa.
One who believes in the Embodiment of Truth with all his heart recognizes the Cause of causes as the Root of all. One whose heart is filled with faith in God, the essence of spiritual wisdom is revealed to his mind. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Gauri, AGGS, Page, 285
On the other side some of us may not believe that there is a God, but could consider it as Good Orderly Direction. "Can you see the difference between putting a little bit of Good Orderly Direction into your life, instead of trying to live life in the totally chaotic, disorganized fashion you are attempting now?
It is important to understand that there is a Higher Power than us, which is the voice of Divine in man, or it is the teaching of men who have progressed in spiritually and their mind has become one with the higher consciousness within. It is a waste of time in arguing with people who do not want to be convinced about the presence of that Higher Power and spirituality, which is new to their limited outlook. One can be spiritual with out belonging to a religion by development of morality. Bhai Gurdas writes a dialogue of Guru Nanak with the hajji in his Vaar 1;
ਪੁਛਨਿ ਫੋਲਿ ਕਿਤਾਬ ਨੋ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਵਡਾ ਕਿ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨੋਈ? ਬਾਬਾ ਆਖੇ ਹਾਜੀਆ ਸੁਭਿ ਅਮਲਾ ਬਾਝਹੁ ਦੋਨੋ ਰੋਈ ।
Puchan Foal Kitam No Hindu Vadda Kay Musalmano-ee? Baba Aakhay Haajia Sunbh Amlan Bajoh Dono Ro-ee.
Guru Nanak was questioned to open and search in his book whether Hindu is great or the Muslim?
Baba replied to the pilgrim hajji’s that with out good deeds and morality both will have to weep and wail.-----Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 1, Pauri, 33- 3 & 4
Spiritual progress needs individual action;
• Faith with out action is dead.
• Evolvement of character is the first thing.
• Aim is to become better human.
By subjugating the Lower Instincts;
By development of Virtues/Higher Instincts;
4. Faith in Existence of God.
With out faith there is no meditation. With out Truth there is no credit and with out capital no balance. The best act is Philanthropy (desire to help mankind), with out which human birth is accursed. Alms, gifts, penance and sacrifices are not equal to Philanthropy.
Truth is a comprehensive term that in all of its nuances (meaning) implies accuracy and honesty. It is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence. The study of Truth is part of philosophical and epistemology (study of nature). Falsehood is an offensive weapon, while truth is a defensive armor. Truth is above all and above Truth is Truthful conduct. Truth and rigorous honesty are the only tonics to invigorate the mind towards right thought. Truth is discovered, recognized and then lived and realized by mind.
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਚੁ ਧਿਆਈਐ ॥ ਸੁਚਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾ ਸਚੁ ਪਾਈਐ ॥
Kaho Nānak sacẖ ḏẖi¬ā¬ī¬ai, Sucẖ hovai ṯā sacẖ pā¬ī¬ai.
Says Nanak, meditate on the True Akal Purkh, and if you are pure (inner cleanliness), you will obtain the Truth (God).-----Guru Nanak Raag Asa, AGGS, Page, 472-3 & 4
Truth is the only source of all Cosmic and mundane riches. Truth is its own reward. It builds him, who builds on it. A well-trained mind, trained to Truth concentrated on living and realizing is the need of every individual. God is a spirit in Truth. To know truth, really one has to become with it. To tread that path one has to become the path himself. For the truly faithful, no miracle is necessary, but for those who doubt, no miracle is sufficient. Truthful living is not easy. One day I asked my wife that let us try living truthfully. In next few minutes telephone rings and the number on the caller I.D. identified the caller. I did not want to talk to the caller so I blurted to my wife to tell him, I am not home and that was the end of truthful living.
ਮਨਹਠ ਬੁਧੀ ਕੇਤੀਆ ਕੇਤੇ ਬੇਦ ਬੀਚਾਰ ॥ ਕੇਤੇ ਬੰਧਨ ਜੀਅ ਕੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੋਖ ਦੁਆਰ ॥ ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥
Manhaṯẖ buḏẖī keṯī▫ā keṯe beḏ bīcẖār. Keṯe banḏẖan jī▫a ke gurmukẖ mokẖ ḏu▫ār. Sacẖahu orai sabẖ ko upar sacẖ ācẖār.
There are so many stubborn-minded intelligent people, and so many who contemplate the Vedas. There are so many entanglements for the soul. Only as Guru willed do we find the Gate of Liberation. Truth is higher than everything; but higher still is truthful living.-----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 62-11
Spiritual emergence is the process of personal awakening into a level of perceiving and functioning, beyond normal ego function. The process may at first include acceptance of a personal prayer with an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one's life and in the universal scheme of things. This leads to among the positive effects of this process with increased creativity, feelings of peace by relieving stress, an expanded sense of compassion, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature, and the cosmos.
The purpose of developing spirituality is to be free of spiritual ignorance, free of selfish or destructive behavioral patterns and help individuals to wake up and heal in their body, mind, and soul.
Spiritual progress with belief in prayer and meditation help an individual’s health through giving, receiving, sharing, peace, and focusing the attention to one’s Higher Power, or the God with in self. It leads to elevating the self at a higher plane of existence, which is spiritual living in action.
In order to heal and restore balance, one should heal emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
The whole purpose of spirituality is to facilitate love, compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness. These affirmations can change for the better at a very deep level of one’s being given the right to experience peace, joy, happiness, and a gift to serve others by living at one’s highest potential, which in fact is the realization of one’s Divine spiritual nature by being able to see God in all.
Spirituality Works Through;
1. Giving through compassion, love, with positive attitude, and tolerance.
2. Receiving through prayer and meditation.
a) With acceptance
d) Selfless service
e) With Fortitude
Compassion is when a person is moved by the suffering or distress of another, and by the desire to relieve it. Compassion is empathy, not sympathy – identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives through love. Guru Arjan writes in Sloke Sahskriti’
ਸਬਦੰ ਰਤੰ ਹਿਤੰ ਮਇਆ ਕੀਰਤੰ ਕਲੀ ਕਰਮ ਕ੍ਰਿਤੁਆ ॥ ਮਿਟੰਤਿ ਤਤ੍ਰਾਗਤ ਭਰਮ ਮੋਹੰ ॥
Sabdann Ratann Hitann Miaya Keertann Kalee Karam Kritu-aa, mitant tatraagat bharam mohaN.
To be imbued and attuned to the Word of the Sabd; to be kind and compassionate; to sing the Praises of Akal Purkh - these are the most worthwhile actions in this Dark Age. In this way, one's inner doubts and emotional attachments are dispelled.-----Guru Arjan, Sloke Sahskirtee, AGGS, Page, 1354-11
The healing process consists of letting go, which in turn requires forgiveness and compassion. Compassion is the highest vibration of the elastic relative Law of Tolerance, under the Principle of Equilibrium. There is karma of the brain, where the body physically rewards acts of kindness and forgiveness.
“The remarkable bottom line of the science of love is that giving protects overall health twice as much as Aspirin protects against heart disease.”
Spirituality is a force, which pulls the soul upwards to unite it with God, and the force of lower instincts drags it down in to the meshes of mind and matter. The Law of compassion deals with the blessings of mercy bestowed on them to be passed on to others. Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things. Compassion is not sentiment but is making justice and doing works of mercy. Compassion is not a moral commandment but a flow and overflow of the fullest human and divine energies. The omnipotent Akal Purkh is all love and compassion as expressed by Guru Arjan in Siri Raag;
ਦ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਧਾਰਿ ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਵਸੈ ਦਇਆਲ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਮਿਹਰਵਾਨੁ ॥
Dirsatt Dhaar Man Tan Vasai Daiaal Purakh Meharvaan.
Blessing us with Its Glance of Grace, the Kind and Compassionate, All-powerful Akal Purkh comes to dwell within the mind and body.-----Guru Arjan, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 49-3
You want to make others happy, practice compassion and if you want to make your–self happy practice compassion.-----Dalai Lama
Compassion is the basis of morality. A good heart is better than all the heads in the world. With out a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.
Albert Einstein: A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as some thing separated from the rest, a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. We should free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures.
One must make an honest effort to raise the lower nature and thus lower self has to die to its desires and passions and rise in to the higher life of spirit and love. Love is the motivating force to experience our higher conscience or God in our self. God is full of love and compassion. Many benefits of health, greater happiness, and enhanced peace of mind ensue by its activation. Helping other people can aid in personal relaxation and stress as well.
In providing health services, the health personal should consider compassion as the ultimate and most meaningful embodiment of emotional maturity. It is through compassion that a person achieves the highest peak and deepest reach in his or her search for self-fulfillment in helping others. When you begin to touch a heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it is bottomless, and you begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space to provide comfort, which may be called bed side manners in medical lingo. Caring for patients is more than just the administration of treatment and medication. Anyone choosing a career in the health sector has a basic desire to make a difference and to help those who are unwell.
Compassion has always been an instinctive component of healthcare professionals’ approach to looking after their patients. However, in more recent times the ability to stop and take a few minutes to chat with a patient has become increasingly difficult with high work loads being experienced by all staff. In addition, the current medical climate does not encourage staff to get to know their patients beyond their immediate medical needs. In many cases, staffs are discouraged from getting emotionally involved with patients and their families. As a consequence compassion in healthcare has become devalued as the health services become more impersonal.
On the flip side, there are also many, many stories from healthcare professionals of the positive impact on their own lives of bringing open-hearted compassion to the care of patients and families. The practice of compassion benefits the giver as much as the receiver. A holistic approach to healthcare provision enhances the quality of care and the patients’ wellbeing. A case comes to mind; who was first seen by me about 25 years ago with stage D cancer of the prostate meaning cancer was well spread all over the body. He questioned me about the prognosis of his disease and how long he is going to live. I answered that statistically in cases like him he has about six months to live. He replied that he has faith in the Lord and he is going to defeat the statistical prognosis. He did live more than two years and thus proving the effect of spirituality in prolonging the life span with a positive attitude. However, Compassion as a word does not appear in the Patient Code of Rights or anywhere within the Hospital’s Health code of practice.
What is compassion?
“The humane quality of understanding suffering in others and wanting to do something about it”
In my practice I had one to one relationship with my patients, which provided me and the patient mental satisfaction of their care and health being satisfactorily attended to. One should practice the law of Giving, before one can receive. The more you give, the more you will receive because you will keep the abundance of Universal energy circulating in your life. The gifts of caring, attention, affection, appreciation, and love are some of the most precious gifts you can give, and they do not cost you anything.
Attitude is a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways and affects the choice that one makes. I will be the first to admit that when I've failed in life, I've caused my own failures. My attitude hasn't always been a positive one- whenever-I've spent time in my life focusing on the negative rather than the positive, the limitations rather than the potential, what I was missing rather than what I had. I can't tell you when the change occurred, or where, or how. It's been a long process, and one that I've had to keep working at in order to keep it going. I've learned through reading, deliberating, reflecting in action, watching people, and asking questions that my world is what I make it--I've been blessed with many gifts, but it's up to me whether I use them or not. If I don't, I'm pretty much wasting my time on this planet. I always saw this as something that was so easy to say, because people who had their acts together always said it. Guru Arjan refers to it in Raag Gauri;
ਖਿਮਾ ਗਹੀ ਸਚੁ ਸੰਚਿਓ ਖਾਇਓ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਨਾਮ ॥ ਖਰੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਭਈ ਅਨਦ ਸੂਖ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮ ॥
Khima Gahee Such Sancheo Khaaeyo Amrit Naam, Khari Kirpa Thakur Bhayee Anand Sookh Bisraam.
Adopting an attitude of tolerance, and gathering truth, partakes of the Ambrosial Nectar of the Name. I have been blessed with the Guru’s Grace, resulting in complete peace and tranquility of mind.----Guru Arjan, Gauri Bawan Akhree, AGGS, Page 261-8
It took me a while to realize that by focusing on the negative things in my life, I was perpetuating them trough fear, and as I slowly began to shift my focus to the positive, I found that life became more and more positive by detaching myself from it. Eventually, I became one of the people who say that it's your attitude more than anything else that determine how your life goes.
Our attitude tells the world what we expect in return. If it's a cheerful, expectant attitude, it says to everyone with whom we come in contact that we expect the best in our dealings with the world. You see, we tend to live up to our expectations. And others give to us, as far as their attitudes are concerned, what we expect. Our attitude is something we can control. We can establish our attitude each morning when we start our day--in fact, we do just that, whether or not we realize it. And the people in our family--all the people in our world--will reflect back to us the attitude we present to them. It is, then, our attitude toward life that determines life's attitude toward us. Everything we say or do will cause a corresponding effect. If we're cheerful, glad to be experiencing this miracle of life, others will reflect that good cheer back to us. In some ways our attitude determines every thing, because they are the glasses through which we see the world. Our attitudes have the ability to enable or disable us as stated by Guru Arjan in Raag Maru;
ਭੈ ਤੇ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਹਰਿ ਖੋਜਤ ਫਿਰਣਾ ॥ ਖੋਜਤ ਖੋਜਤ ਸਹਜੁ ਉਪਜਿਆ ਫਿਰਿ ਜਨਮਿ ਨ ਮਰਣਾ ॥
Bhai Tay Bairaag Oupjai Har Khojat Firna, Khojat Khojat Sehaj Opje-aa Fir Janam Na Marna.
Through the Fear of God, the attitude of detachment wells up, and one sets out in search of the Akal Purkh. The persons who have imbibed the wonder-awe of the God in the company of the Guru have caste away all the fears of death.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page 1102-8
Because we become the kind of people others enjoy being around by living the life with positive attitude. Attitude concludes the destiny in life. People that pray and meditate feel a sense of belonging. They are not alone to face the perils of this world. All major religions believe in a God and through prayer and meditation they can communicate with their Higher Power. They can ask for forgiveness and ask for help. It has long been shown by psychologists and psychiatrists that it is essential to have a sense of belonging for proper mental health. People that are loners by nature tend to die early, not look and feel as healthy, and do not handle adversity and stress well. They tend to hold it in and then blow up on those that are actually trying to help them. People who want to prolong their lives should work on their attitude, the same way they would change their diet or exercise routines.
The consequences of chronic stress that is not addressed leads to disease by increasing the stress hormones of adrenaline and Cortisol. The later can be as bad as too little or too much. Once a person’s Cortisol level becomes blunted, it stays that way for years. Chronic stress is a causative factor of diseases of the cardiovascular system, including hypertension, stroke and heart disease; a compromised immune system which can lead to infections, allergies or even cancer; and gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome by increasing the number of inflammatory proteins in the body. Post traumatic stress disorder, burnout, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are related to stress in some ways. Subjects with low self esteem are more vulnerable to stress, and when stress overwhelms the system a psychological reaction of learned helplessness sets in.
Tolerance accepts that each of us is doing what we need to for this moment. It arises from a state of mental relaxation that allows us to remain calm, when we see others acting in a way we think should be different.
By adopting an attitude of tolerance and gathering truth will result in complete peace and tranquility of mind. Tolerance is showing respect for the rights or opinions or practices of others and is another word for indifference. To understand every thing makes one tolerant with a broader outlook, wider vision, and an open mind resulting in happiness. Tolerance furnishes, as a by-product, a greater freedom from the tendency to cling to preconceived ideas and stubbornly adhered-to opinions. In other words, it often promotes an open-mindedness that is vastly important - is, in fact, a prerequisite to the successful conclusion of any line of search, whether it is scientific or spiritual.
Tolerance expresses itself in a variety of ways: in kindness and consideration:
1. Toward the man or woman who is just beginning the march along the Spiritual path.
2. In understanding the difficulties of those who perhaps have not learned to read on spirituality.
3. And in sympathy toward those whose religious ideas may seem to be at great variance.
4. The only hope of preserving what is best, lays in the practice of immense charity, a wider tolerance, and a sincere respect for others opinions with humility.
It is the duty of every cultured man or woman to read sympathetically the scriptures of the world. If we are to respect others' religions as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world's religions is a sacred duty.-----Mahatma Gandhi
Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.-----Thomas Jefferson
Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue. "The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity. Tolerance is needed very badly in the world today affected by intolerance.
Patience, tolerance, understanding and love are the watchwords. Show others these things in yourself and they will be reflected back to you from them. Live and let live should be the rule. A spirit of intolerance might repel others, whose ignorance can be dispelled by Divine Knowledge. After all, doesn’t fear being the true basis of intolerance.
Caring love begets tolerance: When we care about others, we act for them as a support system, we are not there to make another person's decisions-- to do so, robs another of control and ownership of their moment. It allows us to tolerate differences from ourselves that we perceive in others like their feelings, opinions, attitudes, religious beliefs, political positions, appearances, habits, actions, and on and on.
Prayer and meditation do have beneficial effects on health. I have seen in my own medical practice and personal life that faith does change the negative attitude to a positive one, with marvelous improvement in the health and prolongs the life in many instances. Attitude is a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways and affects the choice that one makes.
Prayer is a conscious realization of a personal intimate relationship with Holy Omnipotent God, putting aside all selfish desires so one can experience communion with It with out hindrance from worldly egos. It is a supplication for benefits either for one’s self (petition) or for others (intercession).
It is accepted and is common to all religions. To pray is to know how to stand still and to dwell on the Word. It is the opportunity to remind one’s self of his priorities and what is most important and vital. Reciting prayer with belief and conviction literally is the service of the heart and reciting it with out belief is just lip service.
Through prayer one connects to a higher source of love and energy, whenever there is a need of comfort or direction. There is no other better way to open up to the universal, loving, and creating energy available to human species. It can be said at any time and at any place. Prayer is not a formal ritual. God is father, mother, sibling, relative, friend, lover etc. with whom you have the liberty of being informal. One does not need a middleman for a prayer according to Sikh thought as one can open up to his Higher Power more comfortably while alone. Prayer does not need any special place or location as God is in creation and creation is in God.
ਨਾਨਕ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਭੁ ਕਿਛੁ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਜਿਦੂ ਕਿਛੁ ਗੁਝਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥
Nanak Kartaa Sabh Kichh Jaandaa Jidoo Kichh Gujhaa Na Ho-ay.
O, Nanak, the Creator knows everything; nothing can be hidden from Him.-----Guru Ramdas, Gauri Ki Var, AGGS, Page, 302-5
Prayer describes a state of mind of complete surrender to God in which a person becomes humility incarnate. God is always merciful and kind. God’s nature is giving and not taking. God never bounces back prayer from humble servants. However all powers are with God, which implies that to answer a prayer is God’s prerogative. It is not a check that you can draw on the bank of God, whenever you are hard put to meet your needs. Prayer always springs out of a sense of need and belief, that God is a rewarder of them who seek it diligently whether literate or illiterate. True prayer coming out from the depths of the heart and bereft of selfish desires with complete unconditional surrender is always answered according to believers.
We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words, or even in silence it is the opening of mind and heart- our whole being- to GOD, the ultimate mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions. We open our awareness to the God whom we know by faith with in us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking and closer than consciousness it self, and God is perceptible in each one’s heart.
ਅਨਬੋਲੇ ਕਉ ਤੁਹੀ ਪਛਾਨਹਿ ਜੋ ਜੀਅਨ ਮਹਿ ਹੋਤਾ॥ਰੇ ਮਨ ਕਾਇ ਕਹਾ ਲਉ ਡਹਕਹਿ ਜਉ ਪੇਖਤ ਹੀਸੰਗਿ ਸੁਨਤਾ॥
Unbolay Kaou Tuhee Pachaaneh Jo Jee-an Meh Hota, Ray Man Kaa-ay Kahaa La-o Dehkahi Ja-o Paykhat Hee Sang Suntaa.
You know even what is not said, whatever is in the conscious. O mind, why do you deceive others? How long will you do this? The God is with you; It hears and sees everything.-----Guru Arjan, Raag Bilawal, AGGS, Page, 823-4
The wording of the prayer can be individualized by the petitioner him self. It is the sincerity of the prayer, which matters. It is the motive that makes difference between true and false prayer. Only the prayer performed with the full concentration of mind is accepted at the door of the Lord. Other prayers are self-deception and hypocrisy.
Prayer and meditation let one detoxify their body and mind of toxic thoughts. Just like toxins we are familiar with; toxic thoughts can bring on depression, dark thoughts, hatred, mental illness and even suicide. Toxic thoughts and being alone are very negative for good mental health. By praying and meditating we are learning to put ourselves and our minds in a relaxed state and being in company with our higher Power and thus rooting out the miserable loneliness. The best thing is that prayer and mediation are free. You can do it anywhere at anytime, in an elevator, in a quiet room, before going to sleep at night, the possibilities are endless. Prayer will help clean your mind of worry and stressful thoughts and replace them with thoughts of hope and serenity. Prayer before bedtime has been proven to reduce or entirely eliminate the need for sleep pills altogether in some cases.
Preliminary meditation processes work directly with this fundamental problem of our outer identification that blinds us to the truth of ourselves and to perceptions of higher realities. From the beginning of practice, the meditator learns to sit still and internalize attention, causing awareness to withdraw from sense organs and mental transformations and turn back on itself. It is only when internalized attention flows without disturbance to the chosen focus of concentration or transcendental possibilities that meditation actually occurs. Before this, our endeavors to meditate are preparatory and preliminary.
As meditation progresses, super conscious states become refined. With physical relaxation and internalization of attention, one experiences emotional peace and mental calmness: not as a result of suppression of feelings and thoughts, but as a result of their being quieted.
The meditator, while enjoying an interlude of calm, may wonder if it is a valid super conscious episode. After successive practice sessions, confidence improves and beneficial effects of super conscious experiences are noticed and validated.
Meditation has been proven to have a profound influence on people’s health and especially on hospital patients. Meditation can help to ease stress, worry, and live with greater joy, serenity, and empathy every day. It eases just about every anxiety symptom from muscle tension to stress. People who pray and meditate daily have shown marked decreases in stress hormone levels of Adrenaline and Cortisol leading to increased heart rate and blood pressure, and increase in feel good hormones like serotonin, nor-epinephrine, and dopamine. These are the same biopeptides, which are stimulated by antidepressants like Prozac. Depression is nothing but a loss of ability to elevate the self and meditation on the other hand helps to elevate the self. Those who pray and meditate age better, live longer, and handle adversity far better. Basically, people that believe in God and pray consistently are happier and have a better quality of health and life in general.
Why is this?
Meditation alters the areas of brain that determine day-to-day emotional range. It has been proved by cognitive neuro-scientific research by Davidson that in the left prefrontal cortex, an area just behind the left forehead, is the place where brain activity is intense during meditation on self.
The “Negative feelings” of anger or fear, brain activity localizes in this emotional center, and the right prefrontal cortex. Research suggests that meditation and mindfulness of spirituality and to know the “SELF” can tame the Amygdala, an area of the brain which is the hub of fear memory.
Positive feelings of happiness and well being on the other hand affect the left prefrontal cortex.
It is the ratio of right to left activity that determines your “Emotional set point.” If ratio leans to right one tends to be unhappy and to the left, he will be upbeat, happy, and positive.
Brain cells release Dopamine or Endorphins/opiates during meditation, compassion, gratitude or when a person is upbeat, which floods and bathe the neurons of right ventral tegmental area and prefrontal cortex involved in memory and emotion causing pleasurable feelings of joy, while Amygdala associated with fear is temporarily inhibited.
These changes have been repeatedly documented with functional MRI’s and CT scans of the brain by many psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists, and physio-psychiatrics. These regions of brain responsible for emotions, memory and learning are responsible to destabilize the cardiac muscle under stress in individuals having underlying heart disease and could cause cardiac arrest from irregular heart rhythm. Spiritual meditation in situations of stress does play a serene role in combating stress.
In few weeks of meditation one’s set point can be changed. It can extend the capacity beyond the perceived limits and hone insight, sharper creativity and enhance the ability to concentrate. It teaches one to stay focused and relaxed in the present moment; even when turbulent thoughts and emotions swirl through one’s head. One also chooses to ignore the most negative feelings and respond calmly and appropriately to situations, no matter how challenging. What is important is to choose one’s focus and stick with it during the period of meditation? When the mind wanders, which it inevitably will, gently bring one’s awareness to the set focus and it should not be manipulated in any way. The loving kindness meditation in action helps to reawaken our inherent capacity to give and receive the compassion practices and taking us one step further, in order to completely eliminate the source of suffering, which is the final solution to all human problems-and thus is the only source of real fulfillment with in us.
Try as we may to satisfy our need for personal freedom and soul contentment by external means alone, success will be ever elusive. At our innermost level of being, the real Self of us exists in wholesome purity. Here untouched by mundane conditions and transitory events, abides undisturbed peace, pure bliss, flawless knowledge, and limitless awareness of the absolute freedom.
This permanent reality of us can be consciously experienced by the simple, simultaneous acts of acknowledgment and acceptance. When we do this, we are self-realized: established in clear awareness of our real nature as Spiritual beings grounded in an unbounded field of pure consciousness - existence which is not other than us.
When practiced correctly on a regular schedule, Meditation removes awareness from limiting conditions of every kind and returns it to ourselves- to the innate state of pure being. We need to realize that regardless of our faith, God is infinitesimally smarter beyond any human comprehension and knows what is best for each and every one of us. God may not always seem to answer our prayers in the way we would like, but that does not mean he does not hear us. God gave us the gift of prayer so that not only could we talk to him, but so we could heal our bodies and better cope with the stresses of daily life. Through our prayer and meditation we can learn patience, forgiveness, hope, love and true happiness. In addition to regular meditation practice, it is helpful to adopt lifestyle behaviors that will be supportive of your highest ideals for personal fulfillment and Spiritual enlightenment. By doing this, your every thought, mood, action, and relationship will nurture radiant wellness and functional expression in every aspect of your life with a spiritual attitude.
ਏਹੁ ਅਹੇਰਾ ਕੀਨੋ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ਨਾਨਕ ਕੈ ਘਰਿ ਕੇਵਲ ਨਾਮੁ ॥
Ayhu Ahayraa Keeno Daan, Nanak Kai Ghar Kayval Naam.
God has given this boon of the game of Naam solely in to Nanak's home.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Bhairo, AGGS, Page, 1136-16
ਜਪਹੁ ਤ ਏਕੋ ਨਾਮਾ ॥ ਅਵਰਿ ਨਿਰਾਫਲ ਕਾਮਾ ॥
Japahu Ta Ayko Naamaa, Avar Niraafal Kaamaa.
Chant the Name of the One Lord. All other actions are fruitless.-----Guru Nanak, Raag Suhi, AGGS, Page, 728-5
A word about neuroplasticity that mind can change the brain as a result of the thoughts one thinks by altering the neuronal connections in a way that can treat mental illness or lead to a great capacity for empathy and compassion by moving the happiness set point. Cognitive behavior therapy can thus quiet activity in the circuit in the frontal cortex, the seat of reasoning, logic, and higher thought that underlies obsessive-compulsive disorder. CBT also raised the activity of hippocampus of the limbic system, the brain’s emotion center.
Acceptance with positive attitude leads to contentment in the present as is and one should be willing to have it so. If some facet of our life is unacceptable, and we have been up front in dealing with it to no avail, sometimes the only way through is to accept that this is so. All issues can be handled by understanding what the problem is and accepting it. When we are disturbed about something or someone, it is because we do not understand on a higher level but view it through our personality which is attached to our need to control things and we do not see ourselves in a positive light.
ਬਿਨੁ ਪ੍ਰੀਤੀ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਸਬਦੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀਐ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਜਾਇ ॥
Bin parīṯī bẖagaṯ na hova¬ī bin sabḏai thā¬ė na pā¬ė, Sabḏė ha¬umai mārī¬ai mā¬i¬ā kā bẖaram jā¬ė.
Without love, there is no devotional worship. Without the Sabd, no one finds acceptance. Through the Sabd, egotism is conquered and subdued, and the illusion of Maya is dispelled.-----Guru Amardas, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 67-5
Happiness is not a static state and is inherently subjective. Acceptance is the way to happiness. What keeps us constantly struggling with the life is the attitude of non-acceptance, of not trusting the basic process of life unfolding? It is important to work on social skills, close interpersonal ties and social support to be happy. We need to learn to trust in and surrender to this impersonal process we tend to think of as “my life.” Humans were designed to be happy, creative and in harmony with the Mother Nature at all times for a persistent state of joy. The overall happiness is not merely the sum of our happy moments minus the sum of our sad ones. The three components of happiness are pleasure, engagement, and meaning of a purpose of life. Engagement and meaning are much more important than sensual pleasure.
We cannot find serenity when we are at war with someone or with ourselves. Nothing happens on this great green earth by mistake. Unless we accept our situation and learn from it, we cannot be happy and free of stress. If we learn from it, then we need not beat ourselves up.
Gratitude is, to find a meaning for every suffering. The moment you have found some explanation that suffering becomes less and if the spiritual awareness is there, one is well-rounded, practical, efficient, man having a spiritual experience. The real spiritual experience is so profound that it wholly transforms the character of the individual, which is a personal ecstatic pleasure of the mind which cannot be shown or shared with others but does make an impact of God’s presence & Grace in the mind of the individual experiencing it. Gratitude creates happiness because it makes us feel full and, complete. It is the realization that we have every thing we need, at least in this moment. Gratitude births only positive feelings- love, compassion, joy and hope melting away fear, anger and, bitterness. Gratitude is the state of being appreciative of benefits received. As we experience the mental sunshine of gratitude; we begin to glow and our lives are full of people who want to be around us because we exude peacefulness, happiness and joy.
Positive emotions released through gratitude and love is beneficial to health through the release of endorphins in the blood stream. Conversely, negative emotions such as worry, anger and, hopelessness contribute to high levels of adrenaline leading to stroke and heart disease.
Gratitude brings you back at the present moment now. When we see the glass half full rather than half empty, we notice what is there rather dwelling on what is not there. A growing number of researchers are supporting the claim with studies that show how the human body benefits from everything from gratitude and generosity.
Psychologist Russell Kolts found that gratitude was associated with lower symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Gratitude is an inner light we can use to illuminate our souls. When we feel the fullness of gratitude, we accept life as it is. You cannot experience gratitude with a closed heart. The more you feel grateful, the stronger is the impulse toward giving. And the more you give, the more you get-love, friendship, a sense of purpose and accomplishment, even some times material wealth. Thus gratitude also gives birth to a fiercely loving environmentalism. Some people find moments of transcendence trough meditation, others in nature, still others when making love. Gratitude makes us feel like we have enough and He who knows enough is enough will always have enough. Gratitude is the response of the receiver of the gift and you are worthy of all you receive.
Robert Emmons studied organ-transplant recipients and found that the more gratitude they felt, the faster they recovered.
Humility perceives one’s place in the world, not according to one’s own accomplishments but according to the intrinsic value of all individuals developed by progressing in spirituality. The word humility signifies lowliness or submissiveness and it is derived from the Latin humilitas or, from humus, i.e. the earth that is beneath us and lies under our feet. Water is further humble, which rests below the earth and low lands but rises under pressure in the fountains. So they who preserve a humble mind mount to God's highest pinnacle.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.
Humility is an essential attitude for success in spiritual life. Spirituality is the concern with one’s inner being and how one deal with Truth, Love and Courage. True humility is the low but deep and firm foundation of all virtues. Plenty of people wish to become devout but no one wishes to be humble. Fullness of knowledge always and necessarily means some understanding of our ignorance that is always conducive to both humility and reverence. Pride is concerned with who is right; humility is concerned with what is right. It is vain to gather virtues with out humility, for the spirit of God delighteth to dwell in the hearts of humble. Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith expressed that Sweetness and humility, are the essence of virtue and goodness.
Pride is the basic breeder of most human difficulties, the chief block to progress. The satisfaction of our lower instincts for sex, security and a place in society becomes the primary object of our lives, which leads to pride to justify our excesses. True ambition is the profound desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the God’s Will.
Selfless Service leads to spiritual growth and ultimately, we come to understand that serving humanity and serving God are one and the same. In other words selfless service is meditation in action. In order to serve the divinity in humanity effectively, we have to consciously feel God's presence in those we are serving. While we are speaking to someone, we have to feel that we are speaking to the divinity within that person. The most important characteristic of selfless service is the right motivation. One should not act for gain or reward in doing selfless service but should perform actions for the sake of helping other people, as acts of selfless giving. The more you give, the more you receive. The unselfish and compassionate acts will not only help others, but will also help to broaden our minds as well with spiritual wisdom and with the blessings of Lord’s Grace. Service of others and good deeds’ positive action makes one feel warm, caring, and can actually help people live longer, healthier lives. The Grace of the Lord thus received makes us to become selfless in spite of our selfishness at biological level and brings up the hidden spiritual dimension to our personality. It brings out necessary refinement in intellect to sharpen the reason and leads us to intuitive realization of virtue of selfless behavior and attitude. But this process is very slow and calls for conscious and deliberate efforts on the part of the individual as well. Guru Nanak’s philosophy of service is closely linked with moral and ethical social code. It is a two-way exchange; to become selfless one has to engage in service, and more a person becomes selfless the more he/she enjoys serving others. When we meditate in silence with utmost devotion, which is one form of contemplative meditation leading to personal mental tranquility but when we try to dedicate our work to God or to the world (humanity/God), which is another form of meditation, which we may call manifestation.
On the positive side, religious faith genuinely uplifts the spirit. The basic problems facing humanity are anxiety, depression, neurosis, obsession, paranoia, and delusions requiring to be dealt with. We need only to concentrate on our part of the situation; what needs to be changed in our way of thinking and having done so, happiness will follow. One should try to bring the self from negative ailing state to neutral normal.
Fortitude/Courage is a necessary component for healing, which is a long process of restoration to a state of wholeness and well-being. It is a moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even the fear of death. It is not the absence of fear but making actions despite fear. Fear is a huge obstacle in the path recovery. Fortitude strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in life. It is stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds. It is the marshal of thought, the armor of the will, and the fort of reason. Affliction is the wholesome soil of virtue, where patience, honor, sweet humility, and calm fortitude, take root and strongly flourish. Strength of character and inner fortitude, however, are decisive factors. It needs inner strength and bravery to confront the illness. It is an energy behind all great actions, which resides deep with in and leaps forward with faith banishing fears of all kind. One should learn the lesson of courage and create a healthy life one desires.
Empirical studies have identified significant links between spirituality and health. True healing takes place from inside out and just not at the surface. Healing isn’t just the scab that forms over a cut. Emotional healing requires the connection and integration of mind and the heart of thoughts and feelings. It brings resolution, relief, and peace. The burden is lifted and things are lighter. Its gifts are lessons, insights and personal growth. To consciously choose to heal and grow from the emotional or physical suffering requires a serious commitment as well as willingness to go through and heal the pain and suffering.
Pain patients' spiritual beliefs appear different than the general population and feel more abandoned by God, and are inversely related to physical health outcomes. But others finally try to find a Higher Power, and are more likely to engage in private religious activities, perhaps as a way to cope with their poor health. Forgiveness, daily spiritual experiences, with spiritual growth significantly predicted improvement leads to positive mental health status. There are relationships between spirituality and health in chronic pain population.
Religiousness and spirituality consistently predict greater social support, fewer depressive symptoms, better cognitive function, and greater cooperativeness. Patients categorizing themselves as neither spiritual nor religious tended to have worse self-rated and observer-rated health and greater medical co morbidity. Awareness of these relationships may improve health care. Practice in the medical field and experiences suggest an association between intrinsic spirituality and a patient's experience of health and pain. Spiritual progress gives a soothing message to the brain thus relieving anxiety, stress, and unnecessary tension by releasing emotional attachment and addiction to the adrenaline rush of the outside world.
The role of spiritual and religious factors in health, viewed from a scientific perspective, has been yielding interesting if not intriguing results. In general, studies have reported fairly consistent positive relationships with physical health, mental health, and substance abuse outcomes as seen in the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Spiritually inclined individuals exhibit fewer self-destructive behaviors like addictions to drugs and alcohol with total life satisfaction.
Although spirituality has been shown to reduce depression, improve blood pressure, and boost the immune system, religious beliefs should not interfere with the medical care one receives.
Spirituality does have a positive effect on the following disease; Skin disorders, Alcoholism, Allergies, Asthma, Colitis, Constipation, Headaches--tension, migraine, Heart disease, Stroke, Hypertension, Ulcers, Cancer, Nervous breakdown, Psychosis, and Neurosis.
The whole purpose of any faith is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness. Altruism (selflessness) should be the first and foremost tradition of the people. The education is worth that is applied for the welfare of the humanity. With out service no one obtains any spiritual reward. The one, who earns honestly with hard work and shares some of his earning for the welfare of humanity, has recognized the real path of life, says Guru Nanak founder of Sikh Faith.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who offered social support to others in a financial crisis saw a marked reduction in their own anxiety about money.
Strong and united communities are the foundation of a healthy society. It is the duty of every one to respect and support our communities. One aspect of this responsibility is caring for the less fortunate, and maintaining the values that have made North America great.
We wish to free all beings from their suffering and bring them happiness, peace, and improved health. The more we meditate on suffering, the deeper our compassion becomes, until one day we finally realize that to be of the greatest help to beings, we ourselves must attain enlightenment for the benefit of all others. We must recognize the path of secular spiritual humanism, based upon the principles of logic and reason.
This alone offers the hope of providing everybody on this globe with the right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and health, and that is what Truth is, which we are trying to realize here in the name of Spirituality, compassion and its positive effect on individual health?
Virinder S. Grewal