Practicing A Simple Spirituality

My definition of spirituality is a simple one; try to practice love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward others and ourselves. However, as you may already know, this isn’t always easy to do. People can irritate us and we don’t always react well to them. Or worse, someone makes us really angry and we blow up at them, without any thought of being spiritual, and then later we beat ourselves up for the way we acted.

This is understandable in some circumstances, of course, after all the key word here is practice. But even with practice I still get angry with people at times, and I don’t always behave in a spiritual manner. This is especially true when I’m tired, or when things aren’t going my way on some days. Even on those days though, I still don’t blow up at anyone—it’s much easier to practice love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward others now.

Actually, I got better at practicing this simple spirituality toward myself first, which helped to make it easier. But in reality, I know I can’t love everyone or always understand their behaviors. All I can really do is to try my best to be kind, or at least tolerant, and not respond in a nasty way.

Now this doesn’t mean we need to take shit from people. I know that last statement doesn’t sound very spiritual, but I’m not claiming to be a saint here. I simply try to believe that something created life and the universe for a reason, and practice these things in an effort to grow.

This may be a simple definition of spirituality, but I believe it’s one that anybody can practice, no matter what their beliefs are.

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Music For The Soul

Due to the classroom antics I often displayed in my high school days, I was quite a handful for my teachers. But because most of them actually enjoyed my humor, they would actually let me entertain in class. Well at least for a little while.

One teacher in particular that I know I made laugh at times, even let me write poems on one of the blackboards every Friday. She was an English teacher who some of the students made fun of, but I never did. I was lousy at English though, because I never felt the need to know what things like adverbs and pronouns were. Looking back as a writer now, I certainly wish I would have cared more, but I did learn something important in that class.

She was announcing our final grades one day at the end of the school year, and when she came upon my name and grade, she announced with sternness and enthusiasm that she gave me a passing grade based solely on my classroom participation. This shocked me of course, as I thought I had surely failed English, until I realized this wasn’t just a reward for livening up her classroom. It was for making her life a little bit nicer by being kind to her.

After I graduated I heard she eventually left her job as a result of the torment she received by the students, and I hope where ever she is she sees this and remembers me.

I want her to know that although I may have made her time in class a little more enjoyable, she did more for me than just give me a passing grade. She made an insecure and fearful young teenager feel better about himself, and I will always remember her for that. I also hope my grammar has been correct throughout this post.

The following is a simple poem I wrote on her blackboard over 33 years ago. It doesn’t necessarily have a message to it, but I like the “music for the soul” part. I know this teacher had a good soul and enjoyed those Fridays when I would write my poems.

If Fridays were made for partyin

And music for the soul

Then let everyday be Friday

And everyone rock and roll

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Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect But…

Although I’ve made a lot progress in not doing things that make me feel bad, there are still times when I behave in ways I don’t like myself for.  I realize, however, that I’m not perfect and that these types behavior can actually help me get back on the road to happiness.

For example; without the wrongs I’ve done in the past and the unhappiness they brought, I wouldn’t know how wonderful it feels when I do something good in my life.  Also, without the negative behaviors I sometimes still display, I wouldn’t know how great it feels when I act in more positive and loving ways.

Without the negative we can’t experience the positive, but we can limit the negative by trying to be a better a person than we were before. I do this by practicing love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward others, and more importantly, toward myself on days when I’m not being the best me.

I may not be perfect, but when I practice these things as best I can, I feel happier in life and make others happier too.

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