Developing Spiritual Resilience
by Brenda Shinault RscP
Don’t let anyone or anything kill your Spirit. ~Iyanla Vanzant
Lately, I’ve noticed certain talk about international affairs, politics and local disasters create a clutch of fear in my body. While I believe in following the news, my stomach contracts when people persist in verbalizing doomsday prognoses for the environment, the country or my future. Despite any truth in facts presented, spewing negativity disheartens me. I’d rather be inspired.
In a speech in Oakland years ago, author Iyanla Vanzant warned about succumbing to “Spiritual Thieves,” people who drain you of your spirit of joy, peace or love. She urged us to avoid such spiritual loss by having “alluring eyes” that see the good in everything, and “luscious lips” that speak only encouraging words. Iyanla’s advice aligns with a greater pool of practices that help me bounce back from “fight or flight” responses to threatening people and events. Such spiritual resilience grows out of (1) studying scripture and new thought readings that acknowledge One Spirit acting in and through everything; (2) Using affirmative prayer to root one in spiritual principles, often in the midst of mental stress; (3) focusing on the all-sufficiency of Spirit to counter worldly challenges. (This requires shifting my thinking to a greater good and holding to it until I move from intellectual awareness to an inner feeling and realization of God); and (4) through meditation, developing the “listening attitude,” an open state of mind into which Spirit pours itself as divine guidance and inspiration. Thus, in the situation above, I simply cease resisting, listen mindfully to others, inwardly affirm our Oneness in Spirit, and move on.
I diminish fear and confusion by making room for the Spirit of God.