Spir­i­tual ad­vice for a new gen­er­a­tion

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - COMMUNITY - By Dr. Ray An­gelini

Our spir­i­tu­al­ity is one of the most pre­cious and es­sen­tial things we pos­sess. For many years, I have wanted to write a col­umn on how young peo­ple might cul­ti­vate their own sense of spir­i­tu­al­ity. Re­cently I read a book en­ti­tled “The Mys­tic Heart” by the late Brother Wayne Teas­dale. There is one sec­tion to­ward the end of the book that is specif­i­cally de­voted to pro­vid­ing spir­i­tual di­rec­tion for the young which I found to be par­tic­u­larly in­spi­ra­tional. What fol­lows are 6 steps that can serve as guide­posts for any young per­son, or a per­son of any age, to help de­velop a deeper sense of spir­i­tu­al­ity.

1. Take Re­spon­si­bil­ity for Your Own Spir­i­tual Jour­neyWe are all ul­ti­mately re­spon­si­ble for our own spir­i­tual jour­ney. No one can walk our spir­i­tual path for us. As Brother Teas­dale says so elo­quently, “we must stand up on our own two feet in the spir­i­tual life.” We must not get so caught up in other’s spir­i­tual jour­neys that we loose our own way spir­i­tu­ally. We all must find our own way to God, even though we are all on the jour­ney to­gether.

2. Find Good Role Model­sOur par­ents are of­ten our first, and some­times only, spir­i­tual role mod­els. If you are blessed enough to have par­ents who are se

ri­ous about their spir­i­tual life and prac­tice what they preach, try to learn and in­te­grate as much as you can from them. How­ever, al­ways re­mem­ber that there are many spir­i­tual role mod­els out there, both good and bad. If your par­ents can’t serve as your spir­i­tual role mod­els, seek out oth­ers who ap­pear to be prac­tic­ing au­then­tic spir­i­tu­al­ity and fol­low their ex­am­ple. We all need good teach­ers to grow spir­i­tu­ally .

3. Be Open to the Wis­dom of All Spir­i­tual Tra­di­tion­sThere are many paths to God, and the var­i­ous spir­i­tual and re­li­gious tra­di­tions of­fer a wide ar­ray of wis­dom and guid­ance as to how to pro­ceed along the spir­i­tual path. If you find that you don’t res­onate with your par­ent’s spir­i­tu­al­ity or re­li­gion, don’t re­ject it, build upon it! Too many young peo­ple aban­don their par­ent’s spir­i­tual or re­li­gious tra­di­tion and never pur­sue any other. This is truly a tragedy!

Bet­ter to pur­sue and al­ter­na­tive path to God than no path at all.

4. Learn to be In the World, Not of It- It is crit­i­cally im­por­tant to tran­scend the many, of­ten neg­a­tive, in­flu­ences of pop­u­lar cul­ture in or­der to make bet­ter de­ci­sions re­gard­ing your own in­ner life. In or­der to find your own spir­i­tual path, you will need to turn down all of the cul­tural noise around you to be­come able to hear God’s still voice within you. It is only in this man­ner that we can gain proper per­spec­tive on the many un­due in­flu­ences that our so­ci­ety, and the peo­ple in it, have in help­ing us form our opin­ions about a va­ri­ety of things, es­pe­cially our spir­i­tu­al­ity! It is only through turn­ing down the noise that we can be­come clear re­gard­ing our own in­ner spir­i­tual val­ues.

5. Don’t Suc­cumb to the Cul­ture of Cyn­i­cism and De­spair- As Brother Teas­dale says, “cyn­i­cism and de­spair are dis­eases of the spirit.” Cyn­i­cism and de­spair re­strict our free­dom and un­der­mine our sense of mean­ing and pur­pose in life. Al­ways em­brace hope. Wayne Dyer one said

“None of us knows enough to be a pes­simist.” Dare to be dif­fer­ent and prac­tice love, kind­ness, and com­pas­sion to oth­ers rather than only think­ing about your own needs. It is in ser­vice to oth­ers that we find our deep­est sense of ful­fill­ment and peace, and our deep­est sense of spir­i­tu­al­ity. Don’t ever sac­ri­fice this to the Cul­ture of Self­ish­ness that so of­ten per­vades our so­ci­ety.

6. Em­brace Si­lenceSome wise per­son once said that si­lence is the lan­guage of God. If this is true, and I strongly be­lieve it is, then there is a ma­jor dis­con­nect be­tween God’s lan­guage and the lan­guage that our pop­u­lar cul­ture speaks. If we are to truly hear God’s voice, we must cul­ti­vate an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for quiet and still­ness in our lives. This can take many forms in­clud­ing med­i­ta­tion, spend­ing time alone in na­ture, or var­i­ous forms of prayer and con­tem­pla­tion. The most im­por­tant thing is just to make time each day to be quiet and still. If you do, you will open the door to God’s word and pres­ence. Once you do, your life will never be the same again!

Dr. An­gelini is a li­censed psy­chol­o­gist and a busi­ness and per­sonal coach. He has been in prac­tice for over 30 years. He spe­cial­izes in as­sist­ing in­di­vid­u­als in find­ing and sus­tain­ing ca­reers that are re­ward­ing, life-en­hanc­ing, and in keep­ing with their per­sonal and spir­i­tual val­ues. He can be reached by email at rayan­[email protected] live.com or you may visit his web­site at https:// dr­rayan­gelini.com.

Dr. Ray An­gelini

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