What Is Spirituality?
Majid Ali, M.D.
The longer I work with my patients, the more aware I become of the fundamentality of the spiritual in health and disease. Here is just one observation concerning the phenomena I refer to: An open heart does not close its arteries, and a closed heart cannot keep its arteries open. I anticipate snickering from some cardiologist who might read this. But I write only what my truest teachers (my patients) teach me.
How does one define the spiritual? In my book The Canary and Chronic Fatigue (1994) I could not resist walking that definitional tightrope with the following words:
The spiritual to the early Man was unknowable. The spiritual is being outside the capacity of our bodily senses and the reach of the mind. Spirituality lies outside the needs of the body or the demands of the mind. Good teachers of spirituality may take us to the limits of our bodily and mental experiences—to the gates of spirituality—but they cannot lead us into it. No one can show anyone else what is the spiritual, no one can make anyone else spiritual. This is what the early Man must have known—through some spiritual journey—when he conceived the mind-body-spirit dimensions.
In 2003, in Integrative Cardiology, the fourth volume of The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine, I made a second feeble attempt to put my notion of the spiritual in words as quoted below:
“My working definition of the spiritual, which I have used for several years, is this: It is a state of surrender to the larger unknowable Presence that one recognizes only by the way one changes through the light and love of that Presence.”
One Can Know Only As Much Divinity As Exists Within One’s Self
One sees that vividly only when in throes of pain and suffering. We physicians, by and large, insist on the ‘hard’ evidence of blinded studies. We are uncomfortable with notions of healing with spirituality and one’s own divinity. I once read somewhere that it is better to keep quiet and be considered a fool than to speak out and prove that. That has never kept me from speaking out about my personal quarrel with the mysteries of healing. I seldom have had difficulty seeing the fool in me. But the fools do have wonderful insights sometimes. So I persist.
Today may I be in your Presence for a few moments.
Today I demand nothing.
Today I Protest Nothing.
Today may I simply be in your Presence for a few moments.
Taken from my book The Canary and Chronic Fatigue (1994)