Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Life And Spirituality

Life and spirituality cannot be separated. You can't have one without the other. We have a tendency to compartmentalize our lives and this is often based on the many roles most of us have in our day to day living. Stop and think for a moment about all the roles you fulfill in life. In my life I am a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend. I am also the daily thoughts guy, the run off to the monastery guy, the rock and roller, the employee, the son in law and the brother in law. Occasionally I am nothing and I enjoy this nothingness with its lack of expectations. All of these roles as well as all the nuances and flavors of my personality with my good qualities and sometimes annoying dysfunctions make up who I am. All of these roles combined are my reality. Spirituality is allowing the Spirit into your reality. The "Spirit" in a generic sense can be represented by your personal belief system whether it is Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim or whatever. It's not necessarily the one hour a week you might spend in a church, temple, or mosque. That can certainly be part of it but it is not enough on its own. If spirituality is allowing the Spirit into your reality, then you cannot separate the Spirit from your reality. Your reality is your life. When your reality changes, your life changes with it. The Spirit will adapt to your ever changing reality but it will never be separated from it. I think mature spirituality is when you are not even thinking about it anymore. It becomes like breathing. If I had to consciously think about every breath I took all day I would not have time for anything else. Thank God our brains take care of our breathing and other bodily functions that run 24 hours a day. In the spiritually mature, the "heart" is to our spirit what our brains are to our bodies. If your heart is full of the Spirit, it will guide you in your daily living.

Over the weekend we had to put my mother in law into a nursing home. The poor dear is so confused. She doesn't remember being in the hospital last week or the assisted living home for the last three years. Having a conversation with her is like listening to a tape loop that recycles every five minutes. There's little you can do except be patience. My father, on the other hand, doesn't seem as confused to me but he will occasionally just space out and stare. It may seem a little selfish but sometimes when I am around them I find myself wondering if I am looking at my future. I must remind myself that not all old people turn out like this. My mother is 77 and her mind seems clear as a bell. I have a friend who is in his late 80's and he still drives and plays golf. Occasionally I even see him pop up on my buddy list because he's on his PC. The thing that bothers me the most about my mother in law is her fear. Being confused is one thing. Living in fear is another. Confusion, like fear, is in the head and right now her mind is not her friend.

Yesterday being Tuesday, I picked up Chloe at the day care. When I got there she was dressed up as a Princess. I convinced her that she was a Princess even without the tiara, dress, and high heels. Reluctantly, she agreed to leave the costume at the day care. Later, when we were at McDonald's eating our Shrek Happy Meal, she told me that her mother looked like Princess Fiona. I'm not sure my daughter in law would consider it a compliment to be told she looks like an ogre. Of course, Chloe also thinks her father looks like Shrek. Actually, he looks more like the King of Queens.

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