Disclaimer: We Need To Talk is a weekly column written by siKa J. The views and opinions expressed in this article are hers and do not necessarily reflect the position of JessicaSimien.com.
A tree expands through its roots. The seed contains the strand of its DNA. Its branches are the results of how it evolved. I chose the word evolve because its branches are the product of its environment. Trees have no mobility to roam the earth like humans can, preventing it from having to make choices that will affect its development.
Our seeds contain our parents DNA. Our roots are our hereditary makeup. Our branches are the result of our choices. Could “the strand” be our ultimate definer? Let’s see. I’m viewing it from a mental and spiritual point of view.
WE NEED TO TALK
After birth, how we’re conditioned, raised, and what we intake is seemingly a still stage because our parents or guardians are guiding and preparing us for life on our own. For our region and race, religion serves as the backbone in rearage. Our mental thoughts, behaviors and emotions are things we seem to dodge more than society needs. Every race is embedded with a story so it’s safe to say that every race is embedded with a particular behavior pattern that can be traced back to hereditary and generational mental health.
When we reach the stage of being able to make our own life decisions, we then have the opportunity to control and contain what we build into our spiritual health. We will either balance our personal spectrum with how we’re raised or one will outweigh the other. Regardless of order, what we place into our strand is seen through our branches to our tree of life. It takes effort to form habits, patterns, conditioning ones self to something new, to seek knowledge for self, and we use what we choose to input, if we use it at all. Your spiritual health can be religious, most people attempt for it to be that way, but does not have to be.
Now let’s break this mental and spiritual thing down.
When people say things like, “I’m depressed,” “I’m bipolar,” “I’m crazy,” it really bothers me. Throwing weird around so carelessly is dangerous and not okay. Once you lose people to actual mental health issues, it teaches you not to use words so immaturely. People are being medicated and have to seek professionals to deal and cope with depression, mood disorders, hallucinations and more. We don’t talk about it though. We damn sure don’t consider empathy as and when we noticeably see people’s moods shift irradically. Instead we label them, dodge them, or mock them.
It is noted that our race has failed to take proper action or take seriously our mental health and its state. Considering slavery, broken homes, poverty, gentrification, drugs, gangs, murders (through us and against us), suicides (voluntary and involuntary), over bad worded-ness, unjust and unruly living, there’s no way half of us have been diagnosed, treated or examined mentally. No wonder generational patterns and curses exist. Our thoughts play a major role towards our mental (see last week’s article) plus what’s built into our mental strand.
Our spiritual strand is probably the most complex because there are so many directions a person can take. It’s up to you to choose what’s best for you. I vouch for what makes you a better person. We confuse spirituality with religion but the two differ. However, your religion can be considered your spirituality. The easiest way to know the two differ is by knowing all kinds of spirits exist and not all are of religious value.
There are several doctrines I study for mind training, emotional training and to learn how to adjust to a changing world and people. Neither doctrine belong to the faith I previously belonged to. Personally, I don’t partake in religion. The past year I’ve studied the teaching on the Dalai Lama. It wasn’t until I separated from religion that I dug into spirituality and I understood it to be your personal belief for you and your way and walk of life. Humans have been classified into three categories: those who believe in religion, those who are against it, and those who are uncommitted. We know where the majority falls. Communist Chinese are against religion denouncing it as a poison, claiming it harms economic growth and is a tool of exploitation. They may not be for religion but they are certainly spiritual, which was my unbiased approach of showing you how religion and spirituality differ.
I believe all religions have practices we could all use. It’s supposed to cause harmony but we rival with and against it instead of taking the opportunity to learn from different angles. Rather than being confrontational, judgememtal, or condemning about it, I think it’s anyone right to pray when they see fit, as long as the prayer is of good intent. I think it’s anyone right to not pray if they don’t choose that method. I think it’s wrong to judge both that do or don’t. Same thing for church goers and those who don’t. No one has the manual for your life but you. Truth is, you’re writing it as you go along.
Seeing that religion isn’t a top priority as it once was in the world (due to births of several donominations) I think its safe to pay attention to our spiritual health and soul. Although people may find it hard to believe if your faith is real they can’t deny what type of vibe they get from you and that would radiate from whatever is in your spirit honestly.
When we practice certain patterns (religions, beliefs, mantras, meditation, etc.) to better ourselves, our inner beckons outwardly. Refuting disturbing emotions and negative thoughts helps us with self-control and mindfulness. All of these traits lead to happiness.
When we engage in wrong doing, self centeredness, consdecending behavior, gossiping, wishing down upon, and more negative traits, we are training our spirits for nothing but harm to self and others. Forget about who wants to be around that mess. Imagine what you’re building up in your soul. A disease is a body that is not at ease. A body not at ease has obviously succumbed to temptations of all sorts. Introducing bad habits with temptations is a deadly cocktail for the spirit. Even if you do go to church every Sunday, it doesn’t refute what type of spirit you possess if you are trying to cleanse it. It may be easy and feel good to give in but remember you deal and feel with your emotions and conscious alone. We have to give light to things that elevate our spiritual health and dim, if not darken, all negative things that can attack the spirit or another’s spirt.
If your mental and spiritual strands are imbalanced, I suggest you map out the pros and cons of your characteristics, create a blueprint/outline on things to eliminate, ways to improve and replace good habits with bad ones. If you feel your strands are balanced, keep in mind that the work is never done. Everyday we must strive to be a person than we were yesterday. Everyday is a new chance. Nothing is a mistake. Regret is a teacher. Resolve your regrets at the end of every night. Strive not to repeat regrets daily. Be you, unrestricted. There is so much to learn and so many areas to dig. If you are not sure where you stand with your strand, find out. Be true to yourself and it will pay off in the long run.
If I could leave you with one thing after all I’ve said, it would be:
“Don’t tell people how to live their life. Give them stories and let them find a way to relate to it.”
That’s it. We have ourselves to get in order. No way we can correct the order of another. The elders still say they are learning, so that gives you an idea of when we will “really get it,” this thing called life and how to balance. If asked for an opinion or help, give it, only genuinely, if you can. We can never win if we don’t get right within mind, body, and spirit.
I don’t usually suggest books to people because they seem to get offended when you do but all judgments aside, I suggest reading, studying, and taking notes for your mental and spiritual health the following:
THE PATH OF ENLIGHTENMENT
AWAKENING THE MIND, LIGHTENING THE HEART
CORE TEACHINGS OF TIBETAN BUDDHISM (THE LIBRARY OF TIBET)
HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA
We all have, want, or need something to believe in. Some more than others. We do not reserve the right to classify the effectiveness of a person’s choices. Be mindful. Be aware. Be fair. Be silent if you do not understand. Be respectful. Our mental and spiritual health as a whole depends on it.