Industrial Revolution caused an increase in social problems. In the present era, which is called the era of computerization, millions of people worldwide are affected by mental, behavioral, neurological, and social disorders. Stress not only affects our body and corrupts its natural functioning, but also affects our minds and spirit. Every day, each of us experience stress mild or severe. We adopt different ways to cope with stress. Behavioral scientists have suggested a number of effective methods for managing stress. Even then stress remains major affliction of modern life.
Most of us use physical, social, behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and religious approaches to cope with stress, but we remain ignorant of spiritual approaches. Recently, there has been a growing interest to the development of a new interdisciplinary field, psychoneuroimmunology, which studies stress, psychological responses, and immune system simultaneously. Psychologists and professionals have neglected the place of spiritual dimensions in the field of stress management. Stress is a cardinal state of existence. The present chapter introduces three basic elements of spiritualism, i.e., “Existential Rhythm,” “Spiritual Synergy,” and “Spiritual Immunity” and points out their relevance to stress management and psychoneuroimmunology.
What is Spirituality
Spirituality is the state of ultimate well-being, which is qualitative different from what is ordinarily experienced. It is regarded as a state of inner peace, and tranquility. Spirit is hidden in all beings. Some are spiritual aspirants. They believe that mind flows for the sole purpose of attaining the Infinite, and hence they focus their energies on the contemplation of the transcendental entity. They are more attracted to God and reach the stage which marks the end of mental existence and the beginning of spirituality. At the spiritual state, one is no longer a human being, one is spiritual being. Spiritual state directs us how we live consciously, aware of every moment and awake to every existential rhythm of life.
According to Husain (2011), human spirituality can be viewed conceptually as having two principal components – knowledge and practice. Krishna says in Bhagvad Gita spirituality is sovereign knowledge, the secret of all things, meant to be experienced and practice,” There is nothing pure as the knowledge” (Chapter 4, verse 38). Knowledge deals with both spiritual as well as material science. Spirituality helps the practical application of new modes and concepts for the benefit of humanity.
The word spirituality has twelve letters; each letter connotes two concept related to knowledge and practice. The concept related to knowledge and practice is so powerful and elevating that it deals with every domain of human experience. They are stationed in the higher realms of human consciousness. It does not exhaust all possibilities of awareness. Man has a hidden aspiration to transcend from one realm of possibilities to another. This aspiration is not restricted to the material realm. Man has the urge to transcend and to spiritualize himself, to create meaning of his physical being, his material existence and his mental phenomena of a non – material plane. The prolonged suppression on this urge – consciously or otherwise – has given rise to boredom, meaninglessness, loneliness, suicidal inclinations, and sufferings like anxiety that have no immediate cause. They must, therefore, be located in the arrested growth of human potential because this materialistic civilization has served the relationship of our being with the transcendent reality. The rhythm of existence has been disturbed. This rhythm cannot be restored unless the suppressed urge to transcend is released.
The secret of psycho-neuro-immunology lies in the releasing this urge: in its fulfillment and in accepting the fact that be possibilities of our consciousness are not exhausted by mental functions. In order to reach into holistic paradigm of existentialism, we have to note that he super mind starts from the whole and seen in its parts and properties it does not build up the knowledge of the whole by an increasing knowledge of the parts and properties; and even the whole is to it only a unity of sum, only a partial and inferior term of the higher unity of infinite essence.
What I visualize is that the cause of mental suffering and ailments is the absence of spiritual synergy and the disturbance in existential rhythm which impeded the growth of the self. Science the growth of our self is a necessity embedded in our very existence, the conditions of the life that allow the said growth, implying transcendence, are the natural conditions – which has been brought about by the materialistic civilization – giving rise to the most agonizing conflicts because mind and the life force sinks under their own absorptions which also begin to decompose because they are only the preconditions for reaching into the higher possibilities of our being. The state of sinking and deterioration, which is inevitable consequence of it, has thrown us into an existential crisis where the higher possibilities of our being and existence are all blocked up.
In the language of psychoneuroimmunology the theory of stress would tell us that our real problem lies in the minimizing the susceptibility to stressful conditions of life. Hence , in order to create the state of immunity from stress inducing and tension inducing conditions of life, the disturbed rhythm of one existence must be set right by understanding the fact that the meaning and coherence, stability, balance, and the natural movement of life gets seriously disturbed if our affinity with any primary relational patterns is broken down. The immense power of self creates the state of spiritual synergy necessary for onward movement of life force.
The creative power of Mnatra has effects within the vast subliminal consciousness and helps the individual. Science there is a shared consciousness in all living being also within our self, i.e., between mind and every living cell of the body, the Mantras can induce a power and accentuates its effects. The expectations of the Mantras tend to transform into forces with rhythm of vibrations created by recitals and interiorized through the prana in the state of high energy concentration at physic level, while some hidden channels begin to trans, the pooled energy with immediate or delayed somatic effects. Mantras also help us in our experience of superman whose essential being is beyond all analysis.
Those who have spent their life learning to live in the spiritual stream through meditation have nothing to fear from stress. They face their stresses with serenity. They have learnt the art of rising above body – consciousness. They know how to transcend beyond their physical energies. Those who learn spiritual exercises early in life are fortunate. They can devote sometime daily to their spiritual practices so that they can master the art of rising above body – consciousness in their life. Meditation requires practice. Daily meditation will build up our spiritual abilities so that we can experience the spiritual rhythm within.
Silence is one of the methods for coping with the stressful situations. “Right speech comes out of silence, and right silence comes out of speech,” says the Dietrich Bonnhoeffer. In silence our speech patterns are refined because silence develops a self – awareness that enables us to choose better the words that we say. When you are under stress, remain silent, do spiritual practices, and have trust in the spirit of God. In other words, keep silence and consciously focus on God rather than anything else.
Practicing the rhythm of silence and stillness helps us learn to cope with stress. It is not something easy for those of us who are busy trying to make things happen. It takes energy to be restrained and to wait for the miracle of God in our lives and in the world around us. What are we learning these days is to use words. The more distressing things are, the more active process that is required of us, the more silence we need.
Every individual must realize the importance of spiritual synergy in every activity. One may attain spiritual synergy more quickly if he seeks to attune himself with it in his daily activities. From a spiritual perspective, spiritual synergy maximizes our abilities in every sphere of life. Spiritual synergy rooted in faith can develop confidence and solution to every problem.
We are blessed with an immune system that protects us from all sorts of stresses and distress. We maintain reasonably good health despite exposure to stress related diseases. We have an inbuilt immune system that we maintain with healthy lifestyles. Just as we develop immunity in the body, we need to develop immunity of spirit to protect the purity of our heart, mind, and soul and stay free from stresses.