Understanding the Western Spiritual Mind
By Rev. Amy Heiser
The course Defining Spirituality was fascinating to me. On the last page of lesson 18 the story regarding Socrates in relations to the difficulty we embark on this path of Ministry – It was good to read this, as I too had similar experiences. Incorporating Spirituality into this modern life is a hard task at first because you are challenged to think about what you believe and to have faith in your beliefs; which really makes you reflect within. Also, there are many people in the world who are quick to judge. As Ministers we will meet others who sometimes expect us to solve their problems rather than finding their own power within. I have learned that we can't take on problems of other people in such a way that we try to save them. They are on their journey for a reason, so we need to help them find their lesson. I feel it is part of our job as Ministers not merely help others, but to teach others how to help themselves. This is a difficult job, as some people might not be ready to do that.
This course did help me understand various perspectives leading to how people think and therefore behave. To understand the difference (and similarities) between the science minded and spiritual minded – I needed that lesson a long time ago! That exact debate has come up in my study groups many times and I never knew how to handle it. I am so thankful that this lesson gave me information and knowledge that I can refer back to in such situations in the future.
I loved the section in lesson 3 where it discusses the imagination. I came to understand the power of imagination a long time ago. When I was a teenager I let my thoughts, feelings and imagination take control. Later in life, when my daughter was 3, we were getting ready for a family gathering. I set up a dress and tights for my daughter to put on, and then I ran around the house like a chicken with my head cut off. My daughter began itching her legs and yelling "Mom, there are spiders on my legs". In the hustle and bustle I blew it off saying "There are no spiders, finish getting ready". She argued "No mommy, there are spiders and they itch". After going around and around I finally stopped and said "No, there are no spiders; it's just your imagination". She responded, "Well Mom, my imagination hurts." NOW that stopped me dead in my tracts. What a statement for a three year old, for how true this can be. This experience taught me that we must discipline our thoughts and our imaginations, and when we can do that in a balanced way then we can truly create our realities – then anything is possible.
Although my beliefs are slightly different, as I do strongly believe in morals and ethics yet I believe in the concept of Karma vs Sin. As humans we are prone to make mistakes and have judgment errors. We cannot always know every side of a situation, therefore we make choices and decisions based on what we know and perceive. This is being Human. I believe our purpose here is to have experiences. As humans we don't appreciate what we have until it's earned or gone (this sometimes can include spirituality) but then when we get back what we lost, we can truly appreciate it and be grateful; or appreciate the next similar opportunity. We will either see the experience as a blessing and learn our lesson at hand, or repeat the experiences until that lesson is learned.
I too was brought down like Rev. Chuck in the last lesson. The scenarios are different but the feelings the same. My scenarios came from someone I called a friend. I trusted this person, gave this person all I could. I thought God lead to me this person to guide them, to teach them something. As this relationship continued, we started to "agree to disagree" about most things and in a subtle ways I was criticized, put down, and condemned. I lost my foundation, my peace and how to stand up for myself. This led me to be untrusting of others and defensive in my behavior. My gut feeling told me I should walk away from this friend but I didn't understand why, I didn't realize the mental abuse that was occurring, so I did not listen and I actually did the opposite and put myself into the relationship more. Finally I did not give this friend what she wanted and the bomb exploded. Behind my back this "friend" attacked me publicly (online blogs) in which I had no way to defend myself. This friend took my actions and added her own intentions and set out to take me down. This really messed with my head, my ideas about life, who I was and who I was supposed to be. I called out to the Deity/God/Universal Energy for help. I was lead to The Celestine Prophecy, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, - and many other authors who had similar life philosophies , which made me feel "normal". – I no longer had to "agree to disagree". I once again found acceptance with myself, and through that acceptance I found my peace again.
What I learned from that experience was that WE have a choice who we allow into our lives. This choice is OUR responsibility. If we allow people who are aggressive or abusive into our lives and we ignore these traits, then we either become like them or we become victim to them. So, one big life lesson is we MUST choose our relationships wisely.
Since then, I have recognized the people that were always in my life supporting me; those who recognized my positive traits, who encouraged me to be all I can be. I have also met new people and common interest groups who understand me, just the way I am. I learned that people who make you feel good are the people good for your life. I have learned that relationships are about relating. Through all this I have found wholeness again. While I continue my personal journey I hope to take the experiences I had thus far, with the knowledge I am gaining from the ULC courses to help others as they seek their own truth, peace and enlightenment.
Thank you. ~ Reverend Amy Heiser
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