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Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

Emotional Affairs Stab Happiness in the Back

posted by Cheryl Petersen

The studies are out. The statistics are alarming. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy reports that 20% of married couples have been impacted by emotional infidelity.

Infidelity has been redefined in the 21st century.  Infidelity has been broadened to include, not only physical affairs, but also emotional affairs, which can be challenging to untangle and end.

Under the disguise of “innocent fun,” extramarital emotional affairs are often at first excused as meaningless. The social attachment, however, deepens. We become secretive or defensive. Marriage and families are ultimately harmed.

An emotional affair makes a woman feel younger or better about herself. An emotional affair makes a man feel more virile or important. These emotional swings are a fun break from mundane life at home. Moreover, clandestine communication is too easy, with facebook, myspace, texting, and flirting at work. But the end result is a stab in the back of your happiness.

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Every marriage needs continued improvement in order to thrive, and to seek emotional support from someone other than your spouse is not an answer. Excited emotions come and go. Emotions pass away. If strong emotions died in a marriage they will die in an affair, so transfer your energy to improving the marriage. Granted, working on your marriage might not seem as thrilling as an emotional affair, but in the end happiness becomes sound and satisfying.

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Christ Jesus left us the Beattitudes, the attitudes linked to happiness. For example, “Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5) Jesus didn’t say having a bigger house will satisfy, or turning on your co-worker, or hottie, will satisfy, but pointed out the power of thought and that we are able to direct thought toward an emotional satisfaction of strengthening marriage and family.

There is nothing wrong with having friends outside a marriage. But, we want friendships that encourage strong healthy marriages.

It’s not a mystery, we can untangle an emotional affair. We can understand how the human mind works and identify with the spiritual mindedness that brings out the best in us and our marriage. We read in 21st Century Science and Health, “There is a large class of thinkers whose excessive prejudice and conceit twist every fact to suit themselves. Their creed teaches belief in a mysterious, supernatural God, and a natural, all-powerful devil. Another class, still more unfortunate, are so depraved that they appear to be innocent. They repeat empty talk while looking you placidly in the face, and they never fail to stab their benefactor in the back. A third class of thinkers build with steel beams. They are honest, generous, noble, and are therefore open to the approach and recognition of Truth.”

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Strong Emotions Outside a Marriage

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Human beings are designed to relate. We socialize, communicate, narrate, and associate. In the 21st century, we connect. And, sometimes we connect with someone we really like. The emotional juices get racing, and we can find ourselves fascinated.

Emotional relationships can result in marriage, or a physical intimacy that oftentimes grows into a family. But, with the relationship and family come responsibilities and challenges. And, as time passes, sometimes, the happy emotions get smothered in a boring routine.

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Today, technology has made it so we can connect with others in a blink. What if we are married but meet someone else who recalls those happy emotions of by-gone days? Life is more exciting. We perk up. We dress nicer. We make an effort to get to know the person better because we feel so good when we are around them.

To connect beyond a normal friendship is an emotional affair. And, they don’t last, no matter how you define it. An emotional affair is not the element for a soul-mate, any more than sawdust is the ingredient for chocolate cake.

The emotions will ride themselves out. Don’t stay on an emotional roller coaster headed for a derailment. Put that energy into your marriage. Put space between you and the person who evokes the strong emotions until the emotions are under control. Research and realize the rationale behind the confusion until you are no longer confused by the emotions. To stay faithful is to feel good about yourself.

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Holisitc Approach to Spirituality

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Spirituality is explained critically from a holistic standpoint in this century. Historically, spirituality was knit tightly to religion—only because religion was the main source of knowledge up until a few centuries ago—and involved a lot of ritualism and superstition. The advent of science has shaken those religious positions to the core, even loosening the bond between spirituality and religion. Regrettably, science hasn’t offered a better explanation of the unseen Spirit therefore seekers take an inclusive approach to spirituality.

In the 19th century, Mary Baker Eddy had no problem with a holistic standpoint. Spirit was seen as scientifically provable. Moreover, Eddy reversed the conventional beliefs that religion and science influence spirituality, and taught rather a spirituality that influenced both religion and science.

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The practice of spirituality has always been a complex and eccentric part of human life. It is valued and regarded mostly for its beneficial attributes of adding empathy and insight to the religious and scientific consciousness. Some cultures honor spirituality for its therapeutic properties.

A holistic approach to spirituality is welcoming and lasting. It precludes the assumption that spirit can be trapped in a language, a ritual, a medical treatment, or a physical law. A scientific spirituality includes the ability to detect and record mounting evidence of an unseen Spirit and divine laws greater than can be humanly imagined.

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Let’s take a look at passages from a series of books that show the broadness and magnitude of an inclusive spirituality that overcomes the baneful curses and fears and chaos humanity is vulnerable to.

From the book, Night, by Elie Wiesel:

“One day when Idek was venting his fury, I happened to cross his path. He threw himself on me like a wild beast, beating me in the chest, on my head, throwing me to the ground and picking me up again, crushing me with ever more violent blows, until I was covered in blood. As I bit my lips in order not to howl with pain, he must have mistaken my silence for defiance and so he continued to hit me harder and harder.

Abruptly, he calmed down and sent me back to work as if nothing had happened. As if we had taken part in a game in which both roles were of equal importance.

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I dragged myself to my corner I was aching all over. I felt a cool hand wiping the blood from my forehead. It was the French girl. She was smiling her mournful smile as she slipped me a crust of bread. She looked straight into my eyes. I knew she wanted to talk to me but that she was paralyzed with fear. She remained like that for some time, and then her face lit up and she said, in almost perfect German: ‘Bite your lips, little brother…Don’t cry. Keep your anger, your hate, for another day, for later. The day will come but not now…Wait. Clench your teeth and wait…’”

Years later, Elie Wiesel, after surviving Hitler’s concentration camps, met that woman and they acknowledged the tie of spirituality that did not betray them.

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From the book, Doing Nothing, by Steven Harrison:

“As science finally recognizes mysticism as its own, the shift of view, the shift of consciousness will change our medical reality.

In that shift, we may see the application of consciousness to the challenges of health and disease. Only recently has mainstream medicine recognized the intuitively obvious: that relaxation affects heart health, that visualization affects immune function, that the repetition of sound or mantras affects blood pressure and other body systems, that prayer heals.”

From A Course in Miracles:

“Appearances deceive, but can be changed. Reality is changeless. It does not deceive at all, and if you fail to see beyond appearance you are deceived. For everything y see will change, and yet you thought it real before, and now you think it real again. Reality is thus reduced to form, and capable of change. Reality is changeless. It is this that makes it real, and keeps it separate from all appearances. It must transcend all form to be itself. It cannot change.”

 

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Christian Science for Religion Writers

posted by Cheryl Petersen
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