A few months ago, a well meaning friend pointed out the obvious (to her) that my blog name “spiritual lens” looked like it had the word “aliens” in it. Anytime you have a confusing blog name, it is not necessarily a good thing. But then again, anytime you make a mistake, it is also an opportunity. So when I checked, I was able to procure, not only the website name ‘spirtualaliens.com’ but also ‘spiritual-lens.com.’ So now however you conjure up this website, you will find it here. All of it, mistake or not, leads us to having better spiritual health. And maybe in our quest for spiritual health, we may even find some spiritual peace. Because let’s face it, there are times when I feel like a spiritual alien in this world. Am I alone in this feeling?
A Little History Of Spiritual Health
In the Middle Ages, there was no such thing as pharmaceutical medicine. Penicillin, for instance, had not yet been invented nor had any kind of antibiotic. Historically, there were many medicine people who sold potions and tinctures which purported to cure many ills that plagued people. Unfortunately, few actually did. Much of what was in those potions consisted of alcohol, herbal remedies and placebo type medicine. And even more unfortunate was that people bought those tinctures hoping it would bring about the healing they so desperately sought for themselves or for their loved ones. And often, it did not work. But every once in a while, it did.
Back in the 1800’s, in Europe, there were healers known as “Ba’ale Shem” or ‘Master’s of the Good Name” who would travel around performing miraculous cures. Unfortunately, there were a lot of scammers who were not healers. But one in particular stood out. He was known as a Baal Shem Tov. Tov in Hebrew means “good.” This one was known as the Baal Shem Tov because he actually healed people.
How did he do it?
The Baal Shem Tov reminded people to find their joy. Joy is a healing formula and can help heal any ill we may have. Or, if we continue to have the ill, we are at least lighter in spirit. The Baal Shem Tov gave people permission to heal by accessing their capacity for joy and love. He reminded them of what was true and real: Love of others, peace within our own souls and connection to people we love.
Spiritual Health Comes From Our Connection with Others
If you are a true spiritual seeker – finding healing for the soul is not an easy process. Especially lately, it seems – finding spiritual peace is tough! For instance, I read in the Wall Street Journal this morning about how hard it is to find comfort and joy during this intermediate time of the pandemic without our friends. https://www.wsj.com/articles/bring-fun-back-into-your-friendshipsdespite-the-covid-pandemic-11601420401 The author reminds us that for our mental health, it is imperative that we continue to find safe and enjoyable ways to connect with one another. We cannot fall prey to the notion that we are stuck inside and powerless to connect with others. We have to be prudent and safe, but it is incumbent upon us to attempt to spend time with friends. Our mental health depends on it!
Fostering Spiritual Health Takes Commitment and Work
So when was the last time you actually focused on joy? Not lately, right? Yeah, I must confess, me neither! But without committing to being joyful, playful and having fun, our souls will wither. With all that is happening in our world lately: Hurricane, Wildfires, in-fighting, rioting, political tensions, etc. It’s easy to lose sight of joy. So to maintain our spiritual health, it has to become a priority, just as is eating well and exercising.
Here are some ways to access Spiritual Health and Healing
- Take time for self-care. I hate the term self-care. As a mom with a full-time job, it feels self-indulgent to take time away to do this. Thus, I hardly ever take time for self-care and lately, I have paid the price. It is so important to focus on the needs of the soul and rejuvenate and regenerate. Our bodies and souls suffer when we neglect this important time.
- Be active in your faith. Take time to pray, meditate and practice religious ritual (If you have one)
- Take action to be more compassionate. I drove around today and was amazed by how many homeless people were out on street corners asking for money. If you can give something to help others, offer a sandwich or even a cup of coffee- find a way to take action to bring joy into a stranger’s life. It will go a long way.
- Find or rediscover your joy. What brings you happiness? My sister just rediscovered her love of painting. I remembered how much I love to sit for hours and do jigsaw puzzles while listening to music. What brings you happiness? I promise, if you allow yourself to explore this, it will pay dividends to your soul.
I’ll close with a story.
The Baal Shem Tov found a teenager gazing at the river and smiling to himself.
“Tell me friend, what are you thinking of?” asked the Baal Shem Tov.
The teenager answered, “I am thinking about living a wonderful life.”
The Baal Shem Tov inquired, “Tell me what you consider to be a wonderful life?”
The teen continued, “I want to make a lot of money and marry the most beautiful woman. Then, after I have children, I will also get a dog and take time for myself by walking along this river bank. Then, I will sit here with my dog and appreciate the serenity of the river. That would make a wonderful life.”
The Baal Shem Tov pointed out, “Don’t you already have it?“
Most of us already have wonderful lives we don’t realize we are living. We are not really spiritual aliens although it sure feels that way sometimes. But by committing to focusing on spiritual health, it will bring us joy and ultimately, healing for our souls.
Until we meet again, may you be blessed on your spiritual journey!