What do you think of when you read the words spiritual well being?
I used to think spiritual well being meant walking around in a state of perpetual calm like a monk. Never being agitated or expressing emotion such as anger, sadness, or frustration. That was the key to nurturing a sense of spiritual well being. It was best not to show feelings because of the impact they might have on others. I was guided by the concern that expressing them might lead to unwanted consequences such as yelling at the driver who cut me off or worse, reacting with some spur of the moment gesture—further escalating the unrest. Being detached from emotion meant denying the feelings were occurring.
That might have been a noble belief or aspiration, but it was misguided. Trying to maintain a constant state of emotional tranquility in the midst of emotional turmoil, denying the feelings were happening, was inauthentic. It was lying to my true self. I might have been feeling angry that a driver cut me off, sad that a friend was experiencing a hardship, or frustrated that I couldn’t find a parking space, but I thought it best not to express the feelings. I held to the mantra—don’t engage them and just let them pass.
I’ve come to realize emotion is energy in motion, it wants to express itself. Expression is the body’s natural way of releasing the energy of feelings. If they aren’t released, they can get stuck in the body and have unwanted consequences. In his book, the Biology of Belief, Dr. Bruce Lipton discusses the science behind emotion and its effect on the body.
A New Sense of Spiritual Well Being
I now see myself as a spiritual being having a human experience. In order to live in integrity with what I’m feeling, this means engaging the emotion in the moment. It’s one thing to feel the emotion; it’s another to act on the feeling—to act out based on the emotion and potentially allowing it to escalate into conflict. This is where individual responsibility comes into play. I can respond with a blare of my horn and a raised finger through the sun roof, or I can simply take a few deep breaths and let him drive away. I might feel justified reacting with a horn blare and gesture, but those are an aggressive, offensive response that can lead to an aggressive, offensive response by him that in the end doesn’t do either of us any good and has the potential to lead to confrontation.
A question I’m working with around spiritual well being is—how can I make sure I acknowledge emotion in the moment, express the energy, and not react in an unwanted way?
Does this post trigger any thought or reaction about spiritual well being?
Here’s a website that discusses the connection between emotion and your mind and body.
Here’s a website with strategies for releasing emotion.