Spirituality is transcending the narrow self to see a greater life, one that makes no distinction in terms of ethnicity, creed, religion, or political affiliation. Too bad many people are trapped by their narrow perspectives, which breed hatred, discrimination, and anger. They become easily irritated, full of worries, and anxiety. Each day becomes a struggle. Mental health suffers.
I have held that Love, Insight, Fortitude, and Engagement, with the acronym LIFE, form an important set of mental capital that lay the seeds for whole-person development. Mental capital refers to the accumulation of mental habits that will help a person’s personal growth. Once these mental habits are formed, the person is transformed into a loving, wise, resilient, and actively-engaged person who has the potential to find meaning in his or her everyday life. When love extends beyond one’s family, one’s country, one’s religion, one becomes spiritually initiated. The wisdom grows to the point that he or she abandons prejudices and other preconceptions that act as barriers to growth.
To put it simply, love is a yearning for life growing into fruition, i.e., being able to realize our full potential. Love is not based on being lovable, A person full of love is a person who emits love energy to others. People who feel this love connect spiritually, are energized, and are inspired to engage in self-examination. As a child, Adrian Anantawan’s interest in the violin was sparked alive by his loving parents and teachers who helped him become a violin virtuoso, despite being born without a right hand.
Insight is a sense of proportion, an ability to distinguish between means and ends, and a realization that living out the potential that one is blessed with must be the ultimate objective in life. All the rest, like money, a university degree, a successful career, are all secondary and play only an instrumental role.
Fortitude is resilience, the courage to face challenges and the stamina to overcome difficulties, no matter how big.
Engagement is purposive living; that is, to live a life full of love and wisdom, and practice a life of discovery, realizing our own potential and the potential of fellow human beings.
When one is full of LIFE, one gains freedom from a lot of mental ailments that bedevil most ordinary folks. When one’s mind is set on personal development and growth, life becomes precious. Quarrels become a waste of time. One feels on top of oneself and finds inner peace. One avoids becoming a slave to money, a slave to one’s career, or a slave to dogmas and ideologies. One keep reflecting and learning. Life becomes forever interesting. There is no need to find meaning because every day is already meaningful.
Ho, L. S, (2014). Psychology and economics of happiness, love, life, and positive living. Routledge.
Ho, L. S. (2020) Human spirituality and happiness: A manual for the pursuit of enduring happiness (2nd ed.). Amazon.