Robert L. Wise begins his book Spiritual Abundance with a line that struck me the first time I read it. He writes, "Once upon a time I lost my soul." Those words have stuck with me to this day. Sometimes life gets so busy and out of balance that we neglect ourselves spiritually. When we wither spiritually, everything else in our lives begins to wither...our relationships, our career, our creativity, our minds. Our souls get buried under burdens and responsibilities. We end up with spiritual anemia, and in worse cases, spiritual amnesia, when we forget who we are altogether.
Anemia is defined as "a condition marked by deficiency of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor or weariness." When our physical health is compromised by such a condition, our strength is weakened, and we become targets for more serious illnesses if left untreated. So it is with spiritual anemia. Spiritual anemics don't realize that they are spiritually sick, at first. It is a gradual decline. It starts when we begin to skip our daily devotional activities such as prayer or meditation or yoga in favor of other pressing issues that have cropped up in our lives. We find it easier each time we skip. We rationalize with ourselves by saying, "I'll do it tomorrow," or "I don't have the time now that these other issues are happening in my life." The excuses keep coming. It grows easier and easier to repeat the process again and again. As we continue to neglect our daily centering, contagion sets in. Then our anemic attitude begins to have a negative influence on the people around us and in other areas of our lives. Our weakened state produces feelings of spiritual apathy, vulnerability, negativity, and fear. In our attempt to fill the void growing in us, we find ourselves being given over to unhealthy activities, indulgences, and even addictions that lower our vibrational level and our resistance. Suddenly we find life out of tune, out of sync, out of balance, and lacking the passion we once had. The imbalances in our outer lives become a vivid reflection of our inner imbalance. We have no one to blame but ourselves. It is in this moment that "spiritunity" presents itself: we find ourselves faced with two choices. Either we choose to get back to our activities to center ourselves and to reconnect with Spirit, or we allow the things of the world to continue to drain us of our spiritual essence. If you choose option one, continue reading. If you choose option two, do not read any further. You have some thinking to do, and I wish you well. So, how do we make things right again?
First, we need to remember who we are. We are divine beings. Our spiritual essence is what makes us different from any other creation. When we disconnect from Spirit, we disconnect from others and ourselves. We find this loss taking many forms: materialism, apathy, meaninglessness, emptiness, deception, infidelity, etc. If we are to avoid losing our souls, we must nourish ourselves with what is meaningful and with what matters in life. We need to reacquaint ourselves with those activities that once centered us.
Second, we need to forgive ourselves. We may be divine creations, but we are human beings who make mistakes. Spirit loves us unconditionally despite our choices. It will never stop loving us. It can't because all Spirit knows is love. This does not mean to continue in low level behaviors and activities that don't nourish us. It means that as we give ourselves over to Spirit, as we surrender, our love and respect for Spirit is what will help us amend our thoughts and actions, and get us back on the path to our Higher Self.
Third, we need to pledge allegiance to Spirit and turn away from the thoughts and behaviors that distracted us away from Spirit in the first place. We can't serve two masters. Either we are devoted to Spirit, or we are not. When we are devoted to Spirit, our life flourishes, and when things come our way that test us, we can draw our strength from Spirit to guide us through.
Fourth, we can surround ourselves with people who have traveled this same path, people who understand both our divinity and humanity. Sometimes we may need the guidance of someone who is skilled at helping others. Such people are the models of spiritual maturity. They can teach us to become spiritually healthy again as we get the support and love we need.
Once upon a time I lost my soul, too. In fact, I've lost it a couple of times. But I've never lost my faith in Spirit to restore me. No one ever said being on the spiritual path was easy. Sometimes it's downright challenging and exhausting, and I know what I must do to sustain myself. Just as it takes more than one meal per week to nourish our physical bodies, we must feed ourselves a spiritual diet on a regular basis to nourish our souls.