Spirituality Boosts Positivity
One of the most spiritual things you can do is embrace your humanity. Connect with those, around you around you today…..
—— Steve Maraboli
World Health Organization defines violence as “The international use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself another person or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation. Violence has resulted in deaths of millions. In Africa, out of every 10000 people, each year an estimated 60.9 die a violent death.1
Wars, conflicts and religious rivalry have killed millions of people, destroyed unimaginable amount of properties and unaccountable number of lives made miserable. In Bangladesh, the earlier East Pakistan, 3 million citizens were killed before Bangladesh could get an identity.
If you believe in God and realize the presence of God, your thoughts will be peaceful and non-violent which will prevent anger, resentment and violent behavior.
Life is forever seeking to express itself through you along higher levels. Enthrone in your mind the concept that God is the Only Presence, the Only Power, and that God is Infinitely Good and Perfect. Think of some of God’s qualities and attributes, such as Boundless Love, Infinite Intelligence, Indescribable Beauty, Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence. Believe these truths about God, and your whole life will change. You will begin to express more and more Godlike qualities everyday. Believe that God is All Life, All Love, All Truth, and All Beauty; accept It in the same way as you accept the sun in the heavens each morning; then you will find a great sense of peace and goodwill stealing over your mind and heart.2
Realization of spirituality and moving towards a spiritual life gives contentment which reduces the greed and longing for more and more materialistic objects and gives a positivity and peaceful life, free of stress, anxiety and greed.
Violence can be self-directed or interpersonal or collective and can be physical, sexual, psychological or emotional, all forms of violence are preventable whether at home or on road. The war of mahabharat could have been prevented had “Kauravas” listen to Lord Krishna’s advice. If both parties have basic aim in the heart to prevent violence then it can be prevented and peace can be established. Anger, ego, animosity etc. can be stopped and congenial atmosphere can be created.
Nonviolence is a personal practice of being harmless to self and others under every condition. It is based on the general principle of abstention from violence. This may be based on moral, religious or spiritual principles.3 Mahatma Gandhi is considered as a founder of nonviolence movement. Spirituality was the basis of Gandhi’s thought of nonviolence as he felt that all creatures are created by God and harming them or killings an offence towards God. Violence or Ahimsa doctrine is a vedic era doctrine. The Yajur Ved (1000 BC to 600 BC), states that they all being look at me with a friendly eye, may I do likewise, and may we look at each other with the eye of a friend.4 In Hinduism people believe in the phrase, “Ahimsa Paramo Dharma” which means nonviolence is the highest moral virtue. Ahimsa under Hinduism concept that war must be avoided with sincere and truthful dialogue. Hindu scriptures describe that we should eat no meat because it hurts animals, with verses describing the noble life as one that lives on flowers, roots, and fruits alone.5
Mahatma Gandhi used nonviolence as a weapon to free India from British Empire. Doing no harm is the common principle of ahimsa in Hinduism, Budhism, and Jainism. Gandhi said, If one has pride and egoism, he is not nonviolent. Nonviolence is impossible without humanity. Ahimsa succeeds only when we have a real living in (Him) God.
Violence of World War I had over 40 million causalities and world war II over 70 million. According to WHO, youth are indulging in violence by bullying, physical fighting, sexual and physical assault or homicide.6 Prevention programs show effective ways to prevent youth violence by reducing access to gun, alcohol and drugs. I feel teaching spirituality and spiritual practices may further prevent these violences. I remember my days of college, there was a weekly class of moral studies; which was must to attend. I feel such efforts reduce psychological trauma which leads to anger, rage and anxiety and also make one much tolerant and much tactful to tackle such negative thoughts and situations. Some of the ways to combat the adverse effects of exposure to youth violence would be to try various mindfulness and meditation activities, deep breathing exercises and other actions that enable youths to release their pent up emotions. These techniques will enhance body awareness, reduce anxiety and nervousness, and reduce feeling of anger and annoyance.7
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was a Swedish businessman, chemist, engineer, inventor and philanthropist. He was the inventor of dynamite. He was an iron and steel producer but later on turned to become armament producer. He became very rich by dynamite and armament sale.
In 1888, Alfred’s brother Ludvig died while visiting Cannes and a French newspaper mistakenly published Alfred’s obituary. It condemned him for his inventions of military explosive for becoming rich and is said to have brought about his decision to leave a better legacy after his death. The obituary stated, “Le merchand de la most est mort” (The marchant of death is dead) and went on to say “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Alfred was disappointed with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered.
On 27 November 1895, Nobel signed his last will and set aside the bulk of his estate, to establish the Nobel Prizes to be awarded, 94% of his total assets, 1687837 GBP annually without distinction of nationality.
Violence against intimate partners is regularly happening all over the world. Physical, mental and sexual domestic violences are actually increasing globally due to increasing stress. A study conducted by WHO in 10 mainly developing countries found that among women aged 15 to 49 years between 15% (Japan) and 70% (Ethiopia and Peru) of women reported physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner.8
Various studies have reported a positive connection between spirituality and mental well-being in both healthy people and those encountering a range of physical illnesses or psychological disorders.9
A classic study by Dr. Ellen L. Idler, a medical sociologist at Rutgers University, found that the faith factor works in part by buffering the ill effects of stressful and challenging health circumstances. Dr. Idler is one of the pioneering figures in the field of religion and health. In a study of 2,700 adults from New Haven, Connecticut, she offered persuasive evidence for two interesting and related effects of religion. First, considering one’s faith as a source of great comfort helps to lessen the harmful effects of chronic illness or disability. Second, affirming religiousness reduces the harmful effects of disability on mental health.
According to these studies, strong religious faith matters when it comes to physical and mental health. Research by my colleagues and I, has pointed to protective effects against psychological distress, and other investigators have underscored the benefits of faith for health. As we have seen, this positive effect is not limited to one particular ethnic group or population. It also does not matter precisely how faith is defined. Whether we consider self-appraisals of overall religiousness, reports of the importance of one’s faith or religion, or summaries of how much spirituality one experiences, the results seem to be the same.10
Tytlar Perry rightly said, that “It’s most important that you surround yourself with positivity always, and have it in your mind at all times”.
2. Murphy J. The Magic of Faith. Oxford P27.
3. A clarification of this and related terms appears in Gene Sharp, Sharp’s Dictionary of Power and Struggle. Language of Great Resistance in conflicts, Oxford University Press, New York, 2012.
4. Chapple C. Nonviolence to animals, earth and self in Asian Traditions. States University of New York Press 1993.
5. Bandhayama Dharmsutra 2.4.7; 2.6.2; 2.11.15, 2.12.8; 3.1.13; 3.3.6.
6. Mercy JA etal. World Repot on Violence and Health, WHO 2015.
7. Van Der Kolk, M.D., Bessel. The Body Keeps The Score. Penguin Publishing Group. 2015, P464.
8. Garcia-Moreno, C. etal. WHO Multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women. Wikiwix Geneva: WHO, 2005.
9. Koenig H.G. Research on religion, spirituality, and mental health: A review. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 2008.
10. Levin J. God, Faith and Health. Times Group Books. 2001. P134-135.
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