Shea states, “It is not just a “given” but a “given” that can be developed. ” (Shea, pg. 116) This says to me that everyone starts with the same capacity or allotment of ability to develop their spirituality. It is up to the individual where or even if they decide to pursue developing their spirituality. Some people choose to keep their spirituality dormant so to speak, as others choose to develop and grow on a spiritual journey. For someone who chooses to nurture and open themselves up to a spiritual relationship it becomes part of who they are, part of their identity.
Shea tells us a story that displays this very claim, a story of an unlikely pair that end up sharing a spiritual experience. The story is about a housekeeper that is working in a hospital that is moved to touch and speak softly to a patient who is very sick. The words and gentle touch of the housekeeper takes the patient on a relaxing, peaceful journey. The patient describes this journey as, “A source of comfort that was wider and deeper than pain and fear. ” (Shea pg.
117) Shea describes this journey as the patient’s “soul space”, the guide had enabled her to realize her spiritual identity. (Shea pg. 118) Shea describes an “inner space of awareness” and it is called the soul. The two eyes of the soul are defined as eternal and temporal. (Shea pg. 98) From what I understand these two eyes are spiritual and human. The feeling of comfort as described by the patient may have been the meeting of the two eyes, the spirit through the housekeeper looking at the patient as the human.
When these two connect it creates the ultimate reality. (Shea pg. 98) The ultimate reality is the ability to, “See the world from a spiritual perspective”. (Shea pg. 101) Health care tends to focus on the human or temporal eye only, “reducing spirituality to imminent mental processes. In other words they are focusing on the eye of the soul that peers into the eternal. They are concerned with our awareness of our communion with Ultimate Reality. ” (Shea pg. 102) This focus is typical for health care, meaning health care tends to focus on the physical issues.
This cookie cutter approach to caring for our patients is not letting us look at them holistically; patients are missing the benefits that a holistic approach could provide. In order to develop this spiritual dimension we, “Must be conscious” about knowing that we come from God, are going to God and know that the Father (God as Love) has given all things into his hands. (Shea pg. 104) Once someone develops awareness for the previous statement, whether it is a sudden realization or a gradual awareness, then the journey towards Ultimate Reality can begin.
(Shea pg. 102) Shea says it does not matter if it is sudden or gradual as long as the awareness happens, “And so all that matters is that you eventually become aware deep within you of ultimate communion. ” (Shea pg. 102) I believe what Shea is saying about spiritual being a “given” is right on! I believe God has equipped all of us with the same ability and capacity to develop our spirituality to the fullest potential. If we follow what God has laid out for us we will enjoy the benefits that come from a spiritual relationship or ultimate identity.
Shea says that the spiritual can be called a resource in the multiple struggles that surround the enterprises of human health and sickness. In order have access to this resource the nature of the spiritual must be explored. (Shea pg. 102) I take this statement to mean that in order to enjoy the life that God wants you to you must explore, learn and live as he has commanded us to in the bible. Only then can you truly develop your ultimate identity and experiences like the one shared with us about the housekeeper and the patient.