We are coming to a point where we must recognize the convergence of spirituality and science. This might shock a lot those who identify as atheists, and it might shock people who identify as republicans, democrats, libertarians. It might shock anyone who identifies with a group as long as that group has a shared villain.
This could be a scary thing if you have to look at your own life and notice the ways you view others. If you look and see that you are angry towards a lot of people, that the people around you are consistently letting you down, that your co-workers are “jerks” or “idiots” then this article might be very frightening, because those descriptions could be more about your than they are about the people you are describing. You could expand this to look for clues in the world around you, meaning, if you see “Repugnicans as idiots” or democrats are traitorous or stupid, then I suggest this says a lot more about you than about them. Any villain in your life could be a clue to unlocking your own sadness and disconnection. How does it feel to be extremely angry at 50% of the population of your own country because they vote differently?
Writing this is frightening to me personally because I have to look at the way that I see people around me. I feel that I “knew” this concept (that negativity towards others generally points to sadness and depression internally), but generally I know it about other people, and rarely apply it to myself. Which is an example of how I do this in my own life: see others as beneath me and unconscious to the world around them. Is this a facet of anti-social activity that this article describes? I would say yes.
I do think there are many times when I can break out of these patterns in my life. Those are the moments when I choose to be forgiving, be generous, be loving. Those are moments when I would say I am guided by something beyond the rational and purely intellectual. There is no good reason why I should be forgiving to past employees which have insulted me or fought with me over directions of the business, businesses which failed and personally bankrupted me. No reasons to be generous with previous business partners who have broken agreements and lied. In fact, I can think of a million “reasons” why I should do the exact opposite and be vengeful and spiteful. I could convince anyone who would listen that I was right in being the way that I have been: righteous, angry and wounded. It never has felt good, however, no matter how good my reasons and how deeply justified my anger was. Choosing to be a different way takes something beyond the rational. These are the moments I would say are a spiritual experience, which I define as something outside of the reasons and rationality in which I live most of the time. I loved that my fiance put a hanging poster over our front door which describes “forgiveness.” When I asked why, she said this is something she wants to cultivate in herself and is challenged to do, and I am too.
By practicing these ways of being, I break out of those patterns, and have been able to let go of my own depression. I have had plenty of periods where I could describe myself exactly as this article does: “…unhappy, disagreeable, neurotic or has other negative personality traits.” Each time I recognize these trait of negative in myself and choose to be a different way, I break out of this pattern. My father could never do that.
There is a scientific basis for taking on these practices that is now emerging. We don’t understand these age old practices and why they are important, at least on a scientific level. There is plenty of energy spent dissecting the cause and effect in many other disciplines like economics, business, medicine. For the things that really matter, we are often unwilling to connect the dots. It is the most important thing we can do for our own happiness. The future looks bright if we choose to look in the right places.