Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Spiritual poverty begets chaotic lifestyles

How many times have you heard people say how much less they care what the world thinks about their manner of doing things, adding that society has no business lecturing them on how to go about their own lives?

Yet available data points to the fact that Counseling clinics and Churches are inundated with equally considerable numbers of people looking for a reason to live, in spite of fortunes and a life of opulence that some of them already clearly relish in? Among this category are included society’s “who is who”, members of the clergy and the once upon-a-time men and women of integrity.

Top on the list of queries presented by these people, according to professional counselors, is the fact that they bemoan rejection, and most of them claim that whatever number they press, no one seems to want to take their call and that they fail to understand why.

It is argued that where help is not sought or found, the temptation for many has been to adopt interim defense mechanisms, and either publicly give some intelligible justification for their “loneliness” or venture into domains they would initially have construed for their calling, only to wander, and wonder over time, as to wherefore did things fail their script.

Even though experts are agreed that it is in the nature of humanity to want to “hold together,” and further that any display of alienation should be viewed as antisocial, and therefore deserving of remedial attention, there is a difference of opinion as to what is the admissible thing to do to relieve those in “needy circumstances,” let alone diagnose the ‘spirit’ factor.

Naming the root cause of this ‘demon’ that spurs people into alienation has become the trickiest part. In essence, there is consensus that spiritual deficiency is capable of offsetting people’s inner peace, regardless of their material possessions or supposedly knit relationships, such that in extreme cases, some have resorted to suicidal ways, since life begins to lose its supposed meaning.

UB academic, Dr Sophie Moagi-Gulubane said, “Spiritualism or spirituality is something which in my view must be located within the realm of the personal,” adding, “It epitomizes the ultimate state where a person finds self actualization.”

“It should be noted, however, that it starts with the individual – their own self perception, and then the way they relate with others since no one person exists in isolation, as well as the way society in turn perceives them,” argued Moagi-Gulubane.

She said that in the final analysis the meaning one makes of both their social and physical world is very critical in defining their spirituality and consequently the substance of their faith, in relation to their aspirations and ultimate self actualization.

Moagi-Gulubane gave an example of a scenario where one would probably have recommended that two people with distinct ‘spiritual appeals’ travel to the Kasane area, whereupon they should identify and occupy some wild- enough camping site, at the same time maintaining access to the serene view of the Chobe River for a presumably mesmerizing adventure.

“You will be amazed at the vast world of difference in the feedback that will come from those two people, both about their own experience and whether it made any positive or adverse effect on them,” stated Moagi-Gulubane.

The feedback, according to the learned psychologist will depend largely on the meaning each of the affected people gave or derived from their experience, and certainly not what the therapist would have calculated to have them draw from the experience.

Kefilwe Sivako, a Counseling Psychologist with Botswana Christian Aids Intervention Programme (BOCHAIP), concurred with the UB academic.

She said, “It is against that background, that the point of departure, when faced with a client who complains of rejection, is to identify their background, whether they probably have any unfinished business, and basing on their ‘confession’ one can then establish the extent to which their unresolved issues may be a factor in their apparent state of “loneness”.”

But even if, after attempts would have been made to deal with all pertinent questions, Sivako suggests that it is not for the counselor to prescribe the next best thing for their client, instead, the concluding question on the part of the counselor must be, “What then would the client like to do about their situation or, in other words, what is their expectation from the counselor?”

In this context, it should be noted, that, it is one thing for the prospective client, to know what they are going through, and that it is quite another to acknowledge the problem and setting out to find out if what they are experiencing is real.

Notwithstanding this fact, there are ample cases which suggest the prevalence of denial among society.

“One instance that comes to mind, involves a colleague of mine who related how she was approached by a Pastor who, faced with the impending closure of a church sponsored school he was running, showed heightened symptoms of depression, and asking the mind doctor to prepare a report to show how the closure would impact on the lives of the poor kids,” intimated Sivako

The psychologist accordingly followed the due procedures and produced the report.

Shortly afterwards, the Pastor spoke in church of how people should be wary of psycho-therapists because they were motivated by profit, and that he had quarrel with their interpretation of depression as an ailment, when all one needed was prayer and prayer, since, with God, no problem is too big.

This infuriated my friend who could not even wait to let the Pastor shake hands with the first person after Church. She reprimanded the man of God for “denying his folk the benefits of services,” he himself made use of.

For his part, Pastor John Phillip of the Independent Assemblies of Botswana, based in Tlokweng, pointed out that from an Evangelical perspective, every person has been created as a spirit being or a triad, that consists in the Body, Soul and Mind, adding that all these components need to be fed their deserving food, and that in the absence of the spiritual aspect Man is bound to experience chaos.

According to Phillip, it is through the spiritual aspect that one connects with the creator, God, whilst they connect with the world and human realm through the Mind and Soul.

It, therefore, follows that the more refined one’s spiritual life, the higher the likelihood, of them being able to live harmoniously with their environment and with fellow human beings.

To buttress his point, Phillip made reference to Genesis Chapter 1; 18-25 and Romans 2 and 3, saying that they offer a foundation for a real initiative in seeking after one’s genuine spiritual heritage, which he asserts should also provide sufficient fodder to overcome in any battle that verges on one’s existence.

“Simply put, we are endured with the Godly aspect, and therefore a lack of understanding of one’s spiritual heritage or background is a recipe for disaster, or amounts to a life without a compass,” concluded Phillip.


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