theology

LOVE – RELATIONSHIPS

Posted on Updated on

936392_4685531267314_1629552782_n

LOVE – RELATIONSHIPS

What is love?

Is it something we are taught?

Is it a feeling, an emotion or what?

What about physical attraction?

Do looks matter in a relationship?

125699-1920x1200-1024x640The English word “love” can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from pleasure (“I loved that meal”) to interpersonal attraction. (“I love my partner”). It can refer to an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment. It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection”the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another”. And it may describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals. I don’t think that looks should matter in a relationship; it’s what’s inside the person that matters. I know someone to whom looks matter more than anything and he is what is termed a “Player,” is shallow and really does not know what love truly is, he tells all the ladies the same thing without meaning it to any of them how much he loves that person and that they are the only one in his life. He is missing out on so much. To him, is you are not slender don’t bother him. Probably why I hardly talk with him.
What is love? It is one of the most difficult questions for the mankind. Centuries have passed by, relationships have bloomed and so has love. But no one can give the proper definition of love. To some Love is friendship set on fire for others Maybe love is like luck. You have to go all the way to find it. No matter how you define it or feel it, love is the eternal truth in the history of mankind. Some have tried to use the following to define love: profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person, feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend, a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart, affectionate concern for the well-being of others.
Love is patient, love is kind. It has no envy, nor it boasts itself and it is never proud. It rejoices over the evil and is the truth seeker. 482452_620250331326549_1714635493_nLove protects; preserves and hopes for the positive aspect of life. Always stand steadfast in love, not fall into it. It is like the dream of your matter of affection coming true. Love can occur between two or more individuals. It bonds them and connects them in a unified link of trust, intimacy and interdependence. It enhances the relationship and comforts the soul. Love should be experienced and not just felt. The depth of love cannot be measured. Look at the relationship between a mother and a child. The mother loves the child unconditionally and it cannot be measured at all. A different dimension can be attained between any relationships with the magic of love. Love can be created. You just need to focus on the goodness of the other person. If this can be done easily, then you can also love easily. And remember we all have some positive aspect in us, no matter how bad our deeds maybe. God said to us “LOVE ALL.” Depending on the context, love can be of different varieties. Romantic love is a deep, intense and unending. It shared on a very intimate and interpersonal and sexual relationship. The term Platonic love, familial love and religious love are also matter of great affection. It is more of desire, preference and feelings. The meaning of love will change with each different relationship and depends more on its concept of depth, versatility, and complexity. But at times the very existence of love is questioned. Some say it is false and meaningless. Some say that it doesn’t exist, because there have been many instances of hatred and brutality in relationships. But love is not responsible for that. It is us; the people who have forgotten the meaning of love have undertaken such gruesome apathy.
301929_440667259361168_800767817_nIn terms of interpersonal attraction, four forms of love have traditionally been distinguished, based on ancient Greek precedent: the love of family, the love of friendship, the love of sexual and/or romantic desire and divine love. This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states. The word “love” can have a variety of related but distinct meanings in different contexts and cultures. Interpersonal love refers to love between human beings. It is a more potent sentiment than a simple liking for another. Unrequited love refers to those feelings of love that are not reciprocated. Interpersonal love is most closely associated with interpersonal relationships. And this love might exist between family members, friends, and couples. Empty love only includes commitment. Romantic love includes both intimacy and passion. Companionate love includes intimacy and commitment. Fatuous love includes passion and commitment. Lastly, consummate love includes all three. There are many different theories which attempt to explain what love is, 68570_613296528688596_693395762_nand what function it serves. It would be very difficult to explain love to a hypothetical person who had not himself or herself experienced love or being loved. In fact, to such a person love would appear to be quite strange if not outright irrational behavior.  Also there are theories that consider love to be an unexplainable mystery, very much like a mystical experience. Love also includes compatibility. I think that it is more of journey to the unknown when the concept of compatibility comes into picture. Maybe the person whom we see in front of us, may be least compatible than the person who is miles away. We might talk to each other and portray that we love each other, but practically we do not end up into any relationship. Also in compatibility, the key is to think about the long term successful relationship, not a short journey. We need to understand each other and must always remember that nobody is perfect.
Be together, share your joy and sorrow, understand each other, provide space to each other, but always be there for each other. And surely love will blossom to strengthen your relationship.

Kathy Kiefer

Advertisements

SPIRITUALITY IN THE WORLD

Posted on Updated on

Cranach

SPIRITUALITY IN THE WORLD

Spirituality as seen by some lack a defining definition…but the basic definition of spirituality is that it is the fact or quality of being spiritual.  Spirituality has come to mean the internal experience of the individual.   But the term of spirituality use has changed though out the ages, in more recent times spirituality has been separated from religion and is a blend of humanistic psychology with mystical and esoteric traditions as well as eastern religions that are aimed at a person’s well-being and development.

Spirituality may be sought not only through religion, but through movements like the feminist theology and green politics.  There have been suggestions that spirituality also leads to finding purpose and meaning in one’s life.   Spirituality also aids in developing inner peace as well as forming a foundation for happiness.

Spirituality means something different to everyone. For some, it’s about participating in organized religion: going to church, synagogue, a mosque, etc. For others, it’s more personal: Some people get in touch with their spiritual side through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or even long walks.

Spirituality is extremely hard to define with words alone, as it encompasses so much more than what we can express with our language. Although people tend to label themselves as being ‘spiritual’ or ‘not spiritual’, almost everyone on this planet is on the proverbial spiritual path, whether they are aware of it or not.

There are many different branches of spirituality, including mystical spirituality, intellectual spirituality and secular spirituality. Here are some of the most common spiritual themes:

  • Understanding that we are all connected and part of a larger reality
  • Realizing that we are infinite souls
  • Transcending the physical world and achieving enlightenment
  • Discovering the true nature of consciousness
  • Practicing kindness and compassion to all beings

Traditional Spirituality

Judaism

images

Rabbinic Judaism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Talmud, which is characterized by the belief that the Written Torah (the law) can’t be correctly interpreted without reference to the Oral Torah and by voluminous literature specifying what behavior is sanctioned by the law.   Judaism has a variety of religious observances:  ethical rules, prayers, religious clothing, holidays, Shabbat, pilgrimages, Torah reading, dietary laws.

Kabbalah is an esoteric method, discipline and school and thought of Judaism.  According to the tradition and aims of their followers from its religious origins as an integral part of Judaism, to the later adaptations.   Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings that is meant to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal and mysterious and the mortal and finite universe.

While it is heavily used by some denominations, it is not its own denomination itself.    Inside Judaism, it forms the foundations of mystical religious interpretation. Outside Judaism, its scriptures are read outside the traditional canons of organized religion. Kabbalah seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other questions. It also presents methods to aid understanding of these concepts and to thereby attain spiritual realization.

Hasidic Judaism means piety and is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality through the popularization and internalization of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspect of the faith.   Hasidic Judaism was founded in 18th Century Europe.  Hasidic teachings cherished the sincerity and concealed holiness of the unlettered common folk, and their equality with the scholarly elite. The emphasis on the Divine presence in everything gave new value to prayer and deeds of kindness, alongside rabbinic supremacy of study and replaced historical mystical and ethical asceticism and admonishment with optimism, encouragement and fervor. This emotional revival accompanied the elite ideal of nullification to paradoxical Divine through intellectual articulation of inner dimensions of mystical thought.

 

siege-jerusalemChristianity

Union with Christ is the purpose of Christian mysticism.

Catholic spirituality is the spiritual practice of living out a personal act of faith following the acceptance of faith.  Although all Catholics are expected to pray together at Mass, there are many different forms of spirituality and private prayer which have developed over the centuries. Each of the major religious orders of the Catholic Church and other lay groups have their own unique spirituality – its own way of approaching God in prayer and in living out the Gospel.

Christian mysticism refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within Christianity.  It is often connected to mystical theology, especially in both the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions.   The attributes and means by which Christian mysticism is studied and practiced are varied and range from ecstatic visions of the soul’s mystical union with God to simple prayerful contemplation of Holy Scripture.

 

ISLAM

images

The five pillars of Islam.

The Pillars of Islam are five basic acts in Islam, considered obligatory for all believers. The Quran (or Koran) represents them as a framework for worship and a sign of commitment to the faith.

They are (1) the creed (2) daily prayers, (3) almsgiving, (4) fasting during Ramadan and (5) pilgrimage to Mecca (haji) at least once in a lifetime.

The Shia and Sunni sects agree on the essential details for the performance of these acts.

 

sufismSufism

The best known form of Islamic mystic spirituality is the Sufi tradition in which a spiritual master transmits spiritual discipline to students.   Sufism is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam.  Sufis believe they are practicing perfection of worship as revealed to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel.   Sufis consider themselves as the original true proponents of this pure original form of Islam. They are strong adherents to the principal of tolerance, peace and against any form of violence.

Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as “a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God.

 

JIHAD

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANSJihad is a religious duty of Muslims.  In the Arabic language, the word jihad translates as a noun meaning “struggle”.

There are two commonly accepted meanings of jihad: an inner spiritual struggle and an outer physical struggle.  The greater jihad” is the inner struggle by a believer to fulfill his religious duties.  This non-violent meaning is stressed by both Muslims and non-Muslims.

 

 

a_hindu_god_1

Hindu

The Hindu traditions know a wide range of spiritual practices called Sadhana, which is aimed at reaching enlightenment.    Sadhana literally means “a means of accomplishing something.  It includes a variety of disciplines in Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Muslim traditions that are followed in order to achieve various spiritual or ritual objectives.

Sādhanā is a discipline undertaken in the pursuit of a goal. Abhyāsa is repeated practice performed with observation and reflection. Kriyā, or action, also implies perfect execution with study and investigation. Therefore, sādhanā, abhyāsa, and kriyā all mean one and the same thing. A sādhaka, or practitioner, is one who skillfully applies…mind and intelligence in practice towards a spiritual goal.

 

 

Buddhism

buddismo

Buddhist practices are known as Bhavan, which literally means “development” or “cultivating   in the sense of “calling into existence.”     It is an important concept in Buddhist praxis.  The word bhavana normally appears in conjunction with another word forming a compound phrase such as the development or cultivation of the heart/mind or the development/cultivation of loving kindness. When used on its own bhavana signifies ‘spiritual cultivation’ generally.

 

 

Slave-Rebellion-HaitiAfrican spirituality

In some African contexts, spirituality is considered a belief system that guides that welfare of society and the people therein, and eradicates sources of unhappiness that is thought to be caused by evil.

 

 

 

 

AGNOSTIC

spiritual

Then there are people that hold that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience, as well as a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study.

 

 

 

ATHEIST

One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.

Kathy Kiefer