Category Archives: Later, in commentary

En un País Extraño: Tres

The English version of this post—In a Strange Land: Three—was posted here on November 2, 2016. This Spanish translation is my own and may contain errors. I invite native speakers of the language to comment on my errors and to suggest corrections. Aquí está una traducción en español de In a Strange Land: Three. Me gustaría que hispanohablantes quienes leen mis traducciones, por favor, me permitan saber mis errores y sugieran enmiendas.

Parece que yo había obtenido demasiadas cosas. Algunas cosas les fueron útiles a mí, o habían estado. Guardé algunas cosas porque creí que ellas puedan estar útiles más tarde. Cosas evocaron memorias. Algunas cosas, probablemente, fueron necesidades, y algunas cosas no tuvieron utilidad ni necesidad pero por alguna razón ellas parecieron estar obligatorias para guardar.

Mi casa estaba abarrotada con estas cosas. No hubo santuario sin cosas dentro de los paredes de la casa. La necesidad para simplificar pareció obvio.

Simplificación significó deshacerse de cosas, pero si se tratara simplemente de una cuestión de liberar yo mismo de cosas indeseadas, la tarea no sería tan difícil. Liberando yo mismo de cosas indeseadas no fue el problema. El problema fue separando de cosas que encajaron conmigo. Esa separación no fue tan simple, no tan facil, no tan indolora.

Fue como si las cosas mismas tuvieron propiedades mágicas que adhirieron yo a ellas como un magnetismo perverso, y estaba doloroso dejar ir.

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Some other stuff for later,

  • 75
    The English version of this post is Spanish As a Second Language. The Spanish translation is my own and may contain errors. I invite native speakers of the language to comment on my errors and to suggest corrections. Aquí está una traducción en español de Spanish As a Second Language.…
  • 74
    The English version of this post—In a Strange Land: Four—was posted here on December 5, 2016. This Spanish translation is my own and may contain errors. I invite native speakers of the language to comment on my errors and to suggest corrections. Aquí está una traducción en español de In…
  • 70
    The English version of this post—In a Strange Land: Two—was posted here on October 19, 2016. This Spanish translation is my own and may contain errors. I invite native speakers of the language to comment on my errors and to suggest corrections. Aquí está una traducción en español de In…

An Expression of Spirituality

I have been wondering about spirituality and whether having a spiritual life—the way one might have a social life or a love life—would be helpful in learning to live optimally.

There are, according to a pair of experts, more than a thousand “spiritual practices,” any one of which might put me on the path to realization of my own spirituality and accomplishment of a spiritual life, but what is spirituality?

The George Washington Institute for Spirituality & Health describes spirituality as: “the dimension of a person that seeks to find meaning in his or her life.”

The Center for Spirituality & Healing at the University of Minnesota describes spirituality as “a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves.” Spirituality “involves a search for meaning in life.”

Although spirituality may be broadly defined as a search for meaning, its expression—what it means to be spiritual—is both personal and transitory. “Like your sense of purpose, your personal definition of spirituality may change throughout your life, adapting to your own experiences and relationships.”

Your personal expression of spirituality may emerge through the embrace of a religious community or through a meditative sense of connection with a higher power. You may perceive spiritual meaning in art or nature. These categories of experience are not mutually exclusive.

In an essay, A Problem with Spirituality, Tim Boyd, president of the Theosophical Society in America, tells us that the “basis of spirituality” is unity: “all move­ment in the direction of a deeper experience of one­ness can be called spiritual.” Boyd defines spirituality as “not merely a balm for the individual soul or a feeling of peace and harmony.” Spirituality “exceeds the individual.” Our role, he says, is to nurture and provide the conditions for the seeds of compassion, kindness and responsibility to grow and “ultimately yield the fruits of the spiritual life.”

Maybe this simply means that compassion, kindness and responsibility are expressions of spirituality. Nurturing these qualities in our daily life may “yield the fruits” of spirituality: connection to “something bigger,” unity and meaning.

Boyd observed that it has become common for people to say “I am spiritual, but not religious,” but the problem is that the meaning of the word “spiritual” is often unclear.  The Center for Spirituality & Healing notes, however, that spirituality is a broader concept than religion: “Religion and spirituality are not the same thing, nor are they entirely distinct from one another.”

Psychology Today reported a study by British researchers finding “that people who consider themselves spiritual but not religious are more likely to have a mental disorder compared to conventionally religious people and to those who are neither religious nor spiritual.”

I am not “conventionally religious,” whatever that means, and, if the British study is to be believed, I should avoid having a spiritual life at all for the sake of my mental well-being. Fortunately though, I am not British.

It seems quite possible to me to have a non-religious spirituality. Religion, I think, is a form of expression. Many people find religion to be nurturing and comforting, but the tribalism of religion makes me uncomfortable and I am not drawn to it. If an expression of spirituality is vital to an optimal life, then I must find my own form, an expression that feels genuine and gives me sustenance and at the same time, an expression that connects me to something larger than myself.

I have not found that expression. Maybe I never will, and maybe, for me, that is the point. Like optimal living, spirituality for me is a fluid process, not an accomplishment. It is a spirituality not freighted with solemnity. It is the motivation behind appreciation, generosity and finding humor in life. My expression of spirituality must in some way acknowledge my pursuit of awesomeness, my capacity for enjoyment and my thirst for wonder and adventure.

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  • 59
    Happiness—what it is and how to get more of it—has long fascinated this blog. The Pursuit of Happiness observed that “happiness is not a random event” and explored the notion that personal growth is the source of happiness. “Personal growth can mean learning something new, mastering something difficult, acquiring new…
  • 58
    One of the most overused words in the English language today is “awesome.” It seems that any old mundane thing can be awesome. We tend to say “that’s awesome” to express our gratitude or delight when “thank you” feels too intimate or “that’s great” seems too insincere. But putting awesomeness…
  • 57
    I can feel the pride of my Danish ancestors for bringing the concept of hygge to the world at a time when it is sorely needed. There is probably no single word in English that encompasses the meaning of hygge, but it can be described as a kind of coziness,…