What is Spiritual?
‘Here’s what is spiritual: Ethics, aesthetics, love, compassion, creativity, music, altruism, generosity, forgiveness, spontaneity, emergent phenomena, consciousness itself, and any other aspect of reality not subject to empirical verification or measurement.
Many scientists are also spiritual: they understand that the scientific method is appropriate for describing regularities in the natural world, but not for understanding all of reality. Those aspects of reality that cannot be reduced to publicly observable and verifiable behavior we call spiritual.’
‘Spirituality’ may indicate stoic attitudes, occult phenomena, the practice of so-called mind control, yoga discipline, escapist fantasies, interior journeys, an appreciation of eastern religions, multifarious pious exercises, superstitious imaginations, intensive journals, dynamic muscle tension, assorted dietary regimens, meditation, jogging cults, monastic rigours, mortification of the flesh, wilderness sojourns, political resistance, contemplation, abstinence, hospitality, a vocation of poverty, non-violence, silence, the efforts of prayer, obedience, generosity, exhibiting stigmata, entering solitude, or, I suppose, among these and many other things, squatting on top of a pillar.
(cited in Leech 1992, p. 3)’
( Dharma means, teaching of the Buddha)
‘This is used as the translation of the Pali and Sanskrit word Citta. Citta means both the mind that is the thinking faculty in the head, but more especially, mind that is the intuitive, emotional ‘heart’ of our being, and located in our body. It is here ‘beyond the thinking mind’ in the body that the Dharma Mind is to be nurtured, for it is here that Truth waits to be discovered. The thinking mind has its part to play in the discovering of the Dharma, but is to be used only as a skilful means to help sift and understand the verbal and written Dharma that we all take in on our spiritual pilgrim- age of discovery.
I use this term to denote our normal everyday mind and state of being that is goal- oriented and saturated in ego and self- interest. This is ego and self-interest, in its conceit, turns away from the Citta as a whole thus making it impossible for it ever to know the Truth.’
For the Buddhist it’s more about path!
‘The eightfold path, consisting of right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right concentration, and right mindfulness, is the way forward with practice. This path can be reduced to the more graspable threefold way of sila, samadhi, and prajna. Sila translates as ethics or conduct, samadhi as mindfulness and concentration, and prajna as wisdom — wisdom that has myriad levels but that eventually leads to ‘knowing the way things really are’.’
What is Pastoral Care?
This writing is in context of monotheistic (relating to or characterized by the belief that there is only one God.)
“People who participate in pastoral care recognize a transcendent dimension to life. They realize that there is more to life than often meets the eye. They have an awareness that power, grace and goodness are often not found in the obvious places. They recognize that there is a mysteriousness about life, which is not reducible to sociological, psychological or physiological analyses and explanations, important though these be. This transcendence is real, although we have no objective and external means of gaining access to it and of verifying whether we are right or not. Different religious traditions have developed ways of speaking about it and have elaborated rites and rituals for signifying and participating in the recognized realities. The languages and rituals of spirituality, whether religious or non-religious, are attempts at coming to terms with it. The content of transcendence for many people is shaped by the formulations of the particular religious traditions in which they have been socialized. It is possible in terms of a given tradition to ascertain the degree of fit of any particular expressed viewpoint, and as far then as that tradition is concerned there is truth and falsehood. Different religious traditions value different understandings of ‘revelation’ and hold their sacred scriptures to have been given by the Deity in specific ways. Each tradition is important and has valuable insights to offer. However, we have no direct access to an objective, external standard by which all viewpoints on transcendence may be judged as ultimately true or false.”
What is Spiritual Care
Spiritual care often refers to care outside and particularl religion.
‘That aspect of health care that attends to spiritual and religious needs brought on by an illness or injury. Health care professionals profess a commitment to holistic care, in which the whole person is ministered to, yet they often leave spiritual problems to persons whom they consider better qualified than they to deal with problems of this kind. Thus patients often have deep concerns that are unspoken and suffering that is not shared.’
Source medical dictionary
More from a Pastoral Care point of view. This guy in my opinion is proud and his understanding of Care, priceless in context of monotheistic believers.
‘Pastoral carers are, on the whole, instinctively inclined to the current view that God suffers. Compassion and empathy are at the forefront of our ministry. When we encounter those who are hurting, we enter into their pain. We suffer with them, though in an attenuated manner. It is difficult for us to conceive of a God who is compassionate but who at the same time is sealed off from our suffering. Indeed, I shall be using pastoral insights to help guide us through the theological landscape of the question of divine suffering. Here the work of the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel will feature. Marcel talks about interpersonal relationships in terms of availability and its counterfeit, `constancy’. To be available to another person is to be receptive, to be `porous’. The experience of the other must be able to find its way into my being. On the other hand, it is quite possible to act for the good of the other without receptivity. I simply do my duty while holding myself back from her inner experience. This is constancy -a pretend form of availability. By analogy, for God to be truly available to us, God must participate fully in our lot. To act benevolently without entering into our experience would be to fall into constancy. This is already sounding very `heady’. Suffering people will not be helped by intellectual arguments concerning God’s participation in their pain. If we are to lead others with integrity, however, to the `fellow-sufferer who understands’, we had better check whether such a one actually exists. Theologians who argue for a suffering God usually locate the cross at the centre of their reflections. Here we see a `crucified God’. The passion and death of Jesus is a trinitarian event. Father and Son are caught up together in the pain of Golgotha. Some who argue against divine passibility also turn to the doctrine of the Trinity. As we follow the debate, then, we will be led into trinitarian thinking. As I have been implying, my pastoral inclination takes me in the direction of a suffering God. I want to argue for an empathic God, for a God who suffers and who is able to feel with us in our pain. But first let us consider the views of those who argue for a compassionate God who is at the same time impassible.’
What is Buddhism
‘Buddhism is a teaching of moderation. As in other things, the Buddhist teaching steer a middle course, in this case between two extremes of blindly ignoring practical daily affairs and laying down a code a rigid and inflexible rules. The Buddhist teaching offer guidelines for behavior based on timeless truths-the positive weal ( a sound, healthy, or prosperous state )well-being. created by compassion, wise relationships – and aimed at ultimate goal of spiritual redeem: living in the world and yet above it.’
Spirituality in Buddhism
‘As well as the support and guidance of the precepts, the skilful cultivation of an appropriate meditation practice can also be used. The four doctrinal concentration practices, also known as the sublime states, are traditionally used for this purpose. They are equanimity (upekkha), sympathetic joy (mudita), compassion (karuna), and loving kindness (metta) — and together they make up what are known as the Brahma Viharas. The loving kindness or metta meditation is the most commonly used. The great value of a meditation like metta is threefold. Firstly, it promotes the opening of the heart to other living beings. Secondly, it has the immense benefit of nurturing the meditator’s positive feelings towards themselves, thus developing self-esteem (for we Westerners do have this propensity to dislike our self-image, and carry around such a negative, heavy burden of self, the like of which, I’d hazard, has never been known in the history of Buddhism). This nurturing of metta through meditation can also harmonize with the loving kindness nurtured towards ourselves whilst practising in daily life through our contain- ment practice. Thus we naturally make friends with ourselves because of this developing non-judgemental relationship.’
There is so much I have studied over the years and welcome questions, comments and sharing ideas