The Nature of Spirituality


While working with my Sister in a village in Honduras where she had bought property and had set up a small clinic for the people of that village and surrounding areas I was able to see firsthand that spirituality is not a condition of what we posses or an arbitrary hierarchy of needs as so many of us believe.  There was every form of disease and malnutrition and every single person who came to her clinic would receive a dose of a de-worming medicine just for showing up. Parasites infested everyone because there was no infrastructure anywhere in Honduras that could provide basic needs.  Dirt floors and stick huts packed with mud were common and trips to the river were where the villagers drank, washed clothing and dishes and bathed themselves.

One day we my sister and I were talking about the children who always seemed to be hanging around. I observed that they all seemed so happy and asked my sister if she thought these little ones stood a chance of ever having a spiritual awareness. She exclaimed immediately that it was not possible in the least trip 12 008 as they were struggling with so many other issues that to discover their own divine nature would be impossible. I was surprised  by her response and asked, “How do you explain that they all seem so happy?” Her response was just as immediate and similarly  direct. “I don’t know” she said, “it puzzles me too because they have nothing and they have nothing to look forward to!”

I was not satisfied with this answer and pressed her a bit further on the subject of spirituality. She insisted that “basic needs” had to be served before anyone could advance to a more “enlightened” state and that outside the work she was doing to help the little ones in her village few if any had any chance of having anything other than a life of poverty and disease. I remember being saddened by her assessment of those children and pondered the sweetness in their faces and their complete exhilaration with the life they were living. Not once did I ever hear a child complain of their circumstances and everywhere I saw gratitude and acceptance, happiness and joy. In fact, when I was getting ready to leave three of the young children wrote me letters thanking me for coming to visit them and expressing how much they loved having me there with them. What moved me most, however, were their wishes for me. Each of these wonderful children wished for me to have “everything I desired” in life and to be happy.  Without having any concept of how “good” I had things in my life, how abundant and full of the things that are supposed to help us become “actualized,” these children were completely giving of themselves.  What they gave was more than all the riches in the world. They gave their love, their friendship and from the very depths of their souls they spoke to mine.

Their “giving” to me was from the depths of someone deeply spiritual but without, even, the label of “spirituality.” They were divine and it didn’t matter if they knew what that meant or not. Life for them was a treat as was my life when I was with them.  I wept when I read the words of giving and concern for my happiness.

Spiritually speaking these were the great ones. Amidst, the squalor, disease and rampant poverty, as we in the west would define it, I witnessed majesty as I have never seen it. I stood among giants and I trembled before them. I could no longer feel any sorrow for these children as my sorrow for them turned to sorrow for myself. I had become the judge of their existence and what I had seen for them was destroyed by what they already knew about existence. In desolation they knew more than I ever hoped to. They were humble; I was embarrassed. I was completely undressed by the “gods” of this tiny little village and I have never been the same since. My prayer since that visit has been that the children of this village never discover the labels we put on them and that their simple view of life never gives way to the noise of our, so called, “actualized” descriptions.

Surely spiritual awareness, which I had sought for so many years, is not a property of attainment, acclaim, and fulfillment of so-called basic needs.  Spiritual awareness is our very first aspect; it is the very core of our nature.  How true the New Age statement that “we are spiritual beings having aSamiel human experience”.  There is nothing we must attain to in order to achieve spiritual awakening.  In fact, it might be considered an arrogant assumption that we must somehow become something we are not, nor may ever be, in order to achieve higher states of awareness.   One might ask, “What chance do the poor and infirm have of ever reaching higher states of awareness if they must rise above basic needs when such a possibility may never present itself in their lifetimes?”  We all sense a kind of hypocrisy at such a question because we know that some of our greatest spiritual icons came from such circumstances.  Some even went from incredible wealth and royalty to a life of poverty and begging as a way to find the awareness I was convinced must come some other way.

We are spiritual beings.  Our first state of existence is a spiritual one and it is the human-ness of our earthly existence that conditions us to think that the human is not the second state but the first.  The focal point of our existence, the peak of the pyramid, if you will, is our most basic knowing, and poverty and lack is equally able as is wealth and riches, or education and intellect, to drive us from or to that knowing.

Adapted from the book: On Human Being-Loving & Living Without Purpose

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful——I just love this piece, Carl. So true and awakening, your depth of Spirit instantly recognizing those of the dear/mighty children! Thank you for sharing:) Love and blessings–always. X

  2. Reblogged this on Cbozeman's Blog and commented:

    Just pondering our nature to judge when I came upon this blog post from a few years back. Thought it was worth another round. Enjoy!

    • One of my favorite blog of yours.I’ve seen and experienced this in my many travels as a Missionary.These children are already enlighten in their own way but they are very appreciative of the smallest Random Acts of Kindness from strangers.Those gestures of appreciation always makes me teary eyed.Each encounter is precious and embedded in my heart.They give me more than I can ever give to these children.💝💝💝

      • Thank you so much Julie. I know that you do amazing work in your homeland and have seen that brilliance in the young ones. Everything abut them is beautiful and innocent and yes they appreciate with sweetness everything they receive and in so doing give so much. Someday, I will visit your homeland and experience the work that you do and the precious souls whose lives you touch. Thank you again beautiful, Julie. All my love,

        Carl


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