2001-08-04 / Columnists

The Inner Voice by Marilyn Gelfand

The Inner Voice by Marilyn Gelfand

This column differentiates between being a spiritual person and a religious person. A religious person may or may not be spiritual – the question is whether or not the person’s motives originate out of a loving energy. If a person makes decisions based on love, then that’s what I am calling a spiritual individual.

The question might be, then, why would loving people have to suffer? It seems so unfair. If we look at all of life as a classroom in which learning takes place, then we have to realize that we are here for the experience of it. As a part of our growth, we have to know the extreme opposites so that we can know for ourselves what "good" or "bad" is, or what the middle ground is. It seems that humans were meant to have ups and downs, happinesses and sadnesses. The spiritual person understands them to be of value, and learns how to live through the experience.

Some of us feel compelled to help eliminate the suffering of others or our own even if it means using drugs to do it. We have almost been taught that pain is the enemy which must be eliminated at all costs. Often the fear of pain is worse than the actual pain and forces us to distort ourselves to prevent it. But chances are pain will never be gone form our lives. It is there to point out where we need to change our lives, how we can recognize happiness, and forces us to grow whether we like it or not. It may be possible to face the fact that we all will have to be in pain at one time or another, so that we can deal with it. It is helpful to remember that when someone we love is in pain, we can try to find out what the valuable lesson is and help the person talk about it.

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