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In the busy world we live in, it is not difficult to find an individual who is self-motivated to strive for greater heights in life as measured by power and position held at work, the car one drives, the dwelling the person stays in or the amount of cash stashed up in the bank. Many success stories are shared on how one struck it rich at a young age with an innovative idea that sprung into a tech company but little light is shed on how an over-achiever with abundant physical possessions and money can also fall into deep depression.
Why would a person who is deemed to have ‘everything in life’, still succumb to depression? What could be lacking for such people? (Using the word ‘lack’ for them may even sound ironic.)
Personally, I believe that if we are able to feed 3 areas of our lives daily, we will be well-conditioned to overcome difficulties and possibly avert depression in life. The 3 critical areas are: mind, body and spirit.
Mind – this forms the ‘head’ knowledge. Daily positive visualizations, motivational books and education on the early symptoms of depression and how to avoid it come in here.
Body – eat wisely, avoid harmful substance like smoking or drinking, and exercise.
Spirit – this is by far the most difficult part because it is so often neglected amidst our pursuit of earthly possessions and this is where I wish to expound further in this article. One may think there are many ways to spiritual growth and enlightenment. As a Christian, I would like to humbly propose the picture of how a spiritually-enlightened person will be like through the inculcation of Christ’s teachings. I hereby present to you below the 7 traits of the spiritually-enlightened person.
Trait Number 1
The spiritually-enlightened person is humble, grounded and does not seek to please everyone.
This person could be a multi-millionaire or billionaire for that matter or he could be the CEO of a listed company. Notwithstanding his worldly achievements, the spiritually-enlightened man remains humble and firmly rooted to sound values. Being spiritually mature, he knows all material possessions or titles are transient. He is but made of flesh and blood as well, the same way all humans are created. As such, the spiritual man does not judge another according to their riches or appearances and would not look down the poor or less educated. More importantly, he knows his purpose on Earth is never to please everyone around him but do the right things, to be answerable only to his Creator.
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11
Trait Number 2
The spiritually-enlightened person does not cling on to the past.
Knowing that life flows like a river, the spiritually-enlightened person has learnt to go with the flow. Yes, there may have been sadness, regrets or even longing for the past, but the spiritual man knows that it is only best and natural to move on. Blocking the flow of a river will only create flood and congestion at that point; the rivers are meant to flow into the seas.
The spiritually-enlightened one is also not encumbered by others’ judgments. Humans pass on merciless judgments and condemnation on one another all too often, without knowing that this may debilitate the victim. With true repentance from the heart, clearly knowing no one is perfect and that the strength of oneself is never sufficient, the spiritual man knows not to engage in self-condemnation for his past as this will create an invisible jail that will bar him from future growth and contribution to the society.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
Trait Number 3
The spiritually-enlightened person is loving and forgiving.
It would be insurmountable for anyone, and even for the spiritual man, to say that he will never be assailed by anger. However, a spiritual person undertakes to always put himself in others’ shoes and see things from the other person’s angle so as not to be angered easily. Knowing that it is pertinent to put people over things, the spiritual man seeks to love his neighbors and consider their interests, looking out especially for the poor and the disadvantaged. Love however, does not give excuses for not standing up for righteousness. The spiritual man knows when to exhibit righteous wrath to fight on behalf of the oppressed, eg in the case a drunkard beating up a lady in public.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalms 86:15
Trait Number 4
The spiritually-enlightened person is usually, and unusually calm and collected.
Knowing that God is in full control and has His perfect timing for everything, the spiritual man accepts his lot and portion, not being anxious to covet things that do not belong to him or worry about tomorrow. He lives in the moment, appreciating everything he has. He looks at everything with a grateful heart, treasuring every second that his Creator has given him on Earth. He only works on what he can control and does not aim to control the uncontrollable or try to be perfectionistic, knowing fully well that a man may propose, but it is up to God to dispose. A speck of dust stuck beneath his new mobile phone screen protector does not ruffle him. There is grace in accepting imperfection.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Trait Number 5
The spiritually-enlightened person is not afraid of death.
Ancient kings had struggled to find the elixir of life to prolong their time on Earth. Today, many would pay millions to cure their sicknesses or to take health products or purchase health devices to prevent one. To the spiritual man, death is but an end to a temporary life and signifies the beginning of a glorious eternal one. To him, death is not scary, but the fear of death is. It is only when people are overly attached to something that they fear losing it, worried that death will take away everything they possess currently. Letting fear paralyze one into not doing what one should be doing is precisely how life loses its meaning. Life is pure vanity after all, unless one is able to fulfill his God-ordained purpose in life.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:25
Trait Number 6
The spiritually-enlightened person works hard for the right things.
A common misconceived image of a spiritually enlightened person is that of a man sitting under a tree, meditating forever and only opening his eyes occasionally to look at a falling leaf, wondering if it is the leaf which is responding to the beckoning of the ground or if it is the tree that has deserted the leaf. If this image is true of the spiritual, then there will be no ‘fruits’ that will be borne out of this person’s enlightenment. A spiritually enlightened person will bear much fruits, loving and causing others to love as well, impacting the world positively, not just through offering monetary donations, but via the positive influence of the hearts and minds of those who come near him. It is precisely such unworldly outcomes that make the spiritual man ‘work hard’.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23
Trait Number 7
The spiritually-enlightened person lives by faith.
Last but definitely not the least, this point forms the foundation for all the above, the cornerstone of the whole building. The spiritual man is faithful to God, the Infinite Intelligence whose ways are beyond that of man’s abilities or even imagination. The spiritually-enlightened person lives by faith, relying not on his own strength but that of the Highest Intelligence, his Creator. This could arguably be the most difficult state to attain for the spiritual man for since young, we are all surrounded by secular teachings of striving for what we want and to not only climb the success ladder, but ascend it faster than the rest. Such common belief not only add to the stress in a person’s life, but also affects relationships negatively when one is always comparing with his peers to ensure he exceeds in material terms. This creates a key ingredient that causes the onset of depression, that is, the lack of quality and authentic relationships. Paradoxically, by not striving according to his own conscious thinking but by the full reliance on God’s will and hearing His voice for directions, the spiritually-enlightened one achieves the most, by doing the least.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
Insure yourself, protect others.
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My name is Sean. I may have some titles and past achievements but in light of this article, it suffices to simply say that I am a follower of Christ Jesus. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.