The Importance of Spiritual Intelligence
What do you mean by Spirituality?
If you are religious or have spiritual beliefs of your own, then this question will be irrelevant to you. You already have the answer.
But for the agnostic or atheist you can think of Connectivity, Altruism, Philanthropy, Compassion, Service or any other term in which you relate to an existence beyond your immediate environment. Such a definition therefore allows for both believers and nonbelievers to adapt this concept as a way of defining the greater purpose and meaning of their lives.
For instance, many non-religious people commit to saving the long term future of the planet, animal species or the poor of Africa, much of which does not nor immediately affect their lives. This implies they have a connection to humanity, the planet or otherwise, even if they would not otherwise consider themselves to be nspiritually incined.
Why is Spirituality Important to Health?
A sense of meaning and purpose beyond your own life provides You with the motivation to be strong and well, and provides others with hope for the future. These are both important factors demonstrated to provide health enhancing effects.
In fact, Spirituality might be seen as the ultimate Emotional Intelligence in relating to the Unseen in a positive manner, whether that is God, the Universe or the Future of the planet.
Does believing in God Enhance your Health?
Beliefs such as God can provide you with faith that can both enhance your health and help you cope with illness. No one has scientifically demonstrated that any particular denomination or religion provides a greater health benefit than any other. What is probably more important is that your beliefs, values and actions are all consistent with your religion.
What if Your Actions are not Consistent with your Spirituality?
This, in fact, can be detrimental to your health. Many people experience psychological difficulties that might be better termed a ‘Spiritual crisis’ as a result of discrepancy between proclaimed spiritual beliefs and actual beliefs and actions.
So the Key is that you Know and Understand your Beliefs, whatever they are,
and Live Consistent to Them?
Yes, and this is true for the believer, the agnostic and the atheist. Where there is any inconsistency between inner emotion and outer expression, this can affect our psychological health, our neurotransmitter and neurochemical balance, our physiological stress response and in turn the remainder of our bodies.
How can you make sure You achieve this Consistency?
Take time out to genuinely reflect on your belief structures and the meaning and purpose of your life. Everyone can do this as long as you are honest with yourself.
Only when you know what these are, can you next determine whether or not you are living true to yourself.
And What if you are not Living Consistently with your Beliefs?
Make a plan to change. This is, perhaps, hardest, for a person brought up within a faith that no longer believes. Yet changing your faith or even realizing you are an agnostic or atheist will be necessary for otherwise you will need to continue to live a lie that ultimately will not be helpful for either your physical health or your mental stability.
And if People around You do not want You to Change?
That is very difficult and your answers will be individual to your circumstances. Remember, that others often have their own agendas that they are remaining true to. It is important for you not to allow others to take away the Freedom that is Your Birthrite.
But even the truth of knowing who you are starts the process of setting you free, even if you may need to be patient in learning how to exactly become the person you wish to be.
Is there such a ‘thing’ as a Medical Miracle?
There are definitely examples of survival against the odds that are unexplainable to modern medicine. In medical terms, this is known as spontaneous regression and it definitely does occur. Of course how often it happens, and it appears to be rare, depends upon your interpretation of impossible change according to science.
What can be said is there is one important common feature to almost all spontaneous regressions. They occur in those people who have strong hopes and beliefs of the possibility of a miracle. Pessimists are always worse off in the health department. Hope and belief, of course, quite often must be balanced with acceptance.
And Spiritual Healers?
A very awkward ground to tread.
Are they genuine, are they not, and who has the right to decide?
Is it a placebo effect, or a genuine treatment for all aspects of your condition?
And does it matter, as long as you are getting better?
In the least, if you wish to trial this approach with a Healer who appears genuine, realize it is acceptable within the integrated medical frame work. The key is that you receive positive feedback that what you are trialing is working for you, regardless of the faith, methods or qualities of the practitioner.
Of course the Spiritual Healer as part of an integrated approach must also accept that they are working with your health team in maximizing your health. Where conflict exists it must be resolved, otherwise there is the risk that the benefits of one or another therapy will be lost.
What about Spiritual Practices such as Meditation and Prayer?
Both have been demonstrated to provide positive health benefits for the participant. Again, no religious association has been demonstrated to be superior. The benefits appear to be in the practice not the point of devotion. Indeed, most prayer or meditation practices consist of highly emoted and hence empowered affirmation/visualization statements encouraging positive emotions, motivation and hence healing.
For this reason, agnostics and atheists are encouraged to consider non-denominational Meditation for health benefits. Choose a subject or concept of focus that is healing for you, be it a simple statue, an affirmation of love, strength or whatever else you require to be healthy.
Can New Age Spiritualities be of Benefit?
There is very little that is new in religion, only reworded and interpreted.
Whatever the source, inspirational figureheads such as Jesus, the Buddha, Allah or otherwise, or embodied concepts such as chakras, all invoke powerful motivations.
Anything we can visualize and attach emotion to can be useful in encouraging positive change. In fact the agnostic or atheist may benefit just the same as long as a figure or symbol of inspiration empowers positive qualities during meditation or other practice.
Remember, there is nothing fixed in the symbol. It is the positive support it provides to you that matters. The key is that there is a consistency between what you believe, what you practice and how you act towards yourself and others.
What about Death?
For many the Spiritual road is necessitated by the imminence of death. A peaceful passage of acceptance is eventually one of the most important aspects of terminal diseases. Understanding this can be vital as one faces death and this is often more important than survival itself.
Accepting this can often be harder to partners and loved ones than to the person who is dying. It may need to be explained to them that you need to find your own sense of peace, perhaps reconciliation or forgiveness and so forth, in your last hours and days of need.
In this time, knowing what you believe and facing death with a grounded awareness and peace is of the utmost importance.