Tag: freedom

The Sacredness of the Human Soul

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It all begins

At the beginning

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And whether or not

There is God

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From there the whole

Of the rest follows

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Love

Goodness

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Destiny

Freedom

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And the sacredness

Or not

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Of the human

Soul.

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Image by Daniel Boos from Pixabay

Venture Out Into Experience

 

Life’s not

For grasping

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But for surfing

And gliding 

So easy

To board up

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The windows

Of the soul 

But climbing out’s

The freedom

To venture

Into experience 

Thrust hands

Into hearts

And enjoy

The pains and merriment

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The wonder

And the mystery

Of shared ways

In known community.

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ventureexperience 2018May

The Rule of St. Benedict -Prologue, 2. Freedom!

“The labour of obedience will bring you back to him from whom you had drifted through the sloth of disobedience…Give up your own will… armed with the strong and noble weapons of obedience…”

What I like about the Rule of St. Benedict is that it is active.  It is something we can do something about.

Yes, there is labour and effort involved.  But it is a labour and an effort that we choose.

Victor Frankl said:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Frankl survived a Nazi death camp.  He observed there how even in those most terrible of conditions, people had an ultimate freedom that could not be taken away from them: the freedom to choose an attitude to their suffering. 

He noticed how some people (understandably) just gave up on their chances of survival; yet others somehow found the strength to go on encouraging others, giving to others, and loving others.  Between the stimulus (the horrific conditions) and the prisoners’ responses, there was the space of freedom to choose. 

Some had perhaps developed this more than others in their lives, and so had greater strength to draw upon. Others perhaps found a new strength in an extreme situation.

The Rule of St. Benedict recognises our power to choose. 

We can choose whether or not we “labour”.  We can choose whether we listen to others and “obey”, showing sensitivity and respect to their view, or following their advice. “Sloth”, or laziness, can lead to various kinds of vices in the body and the human spirit.

St Benedict’s rule shows us a way out, through listening and obedience,  to freedom.

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Image by Konevi from Pixabay
Spiritual Reflection – Spiritual / Human Wellbeing

Spiritual Reflection – Spiritual / Human Wellbeing

What  makes for spiritual, or human, wellbeing?

A report in 2013 came up with these suggestions:

Spirituality means different things to different people. It may include (a search for) one’s ultimate beliefs and values; a sense of meaning and a purpose in life; a sense of connectedness; identity and awareness; and for some people, religion. It may be understood at an individual or population level…

Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred…

Spirituality can be considered as being essentially about primary relationships. In this regard there are at least four qualitative relationships that express spirituality, and these are the relationships between: people and their environment (land, mountains, sea, sky, etc); people and other people in terms of justice and love (families, communities, nations, etc); people and  their and other persons’ heritage (ancestry, culture, history, etc); and people and the numinous (that which is other, beyond the physical, transcendent, what some people refer to as God.)

(from https://spiritualityandwellbeing.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/spirituality-and-wellbeing-discussion-paper-2013-final.pdf)

All of these suggestions seemed helpful and sensible. 

Informed by this together with my own reading and experiences, the following seven dimensions of human wellbeing seemed to resonate:

The physical/bodily dimension

Physical health and wellness, diet, exercise and the physical environments of our lives

The emotional/spiritual dimension

The ability to experience and express the full range of emotions, both ‘negative’ emotions like grief, fear, anxiety, and ‘positive’ emotions like contentment, joy, love, hope

The mental/spiritual dimension

Our understanding ourselves and others; our beliefs, values and convictions about meaning; ‘conscience’

The relational / connection dimension

The context of our relationships, with ourselves, with others, with the natural world, with our culture and the transcendent (see below)

The will / freedom dimension

The ability and power to make decisions and choices

The historical/cultural dimension

The influence of history and culture – both familial, local, national and international

The transcendent dimension

The role of the unseen / ‘God’ and beliefs about the soul / the spirit, even if these are beliefs that reject these concepts.