Treat others how you want to be treated. Love one another. Live your life in a way that brings you joy, peace and happiness. We live in a society where we are interdependent upon each other. We are nearly clean slates when we are born and it is our environments that shape who we are and how we behave in society. Individuals acquire knowledge, behavior, intellect, perceptions as well as dmisconceptions from other individuals. We perform different tasks and possess different values that are deemed necessary for the advancement of society. There is an inclination of bonds that hold society together which I believe can represent our spiritual connection with nature and with each other. The intertwining of these bonds is essential for life to continue its progression. Unfortunately, these bonds seem to have been altered by social and environmental influences overtime. There are many things that make up our environments such as religion, education, economic class, nationality, social status, and even media. Often times these elements alter how we view ourselves and how we treat others. Even where we reside or where we come from can have a tremendous impact on our lives. Overall, our environment can change the way we view the world.
In certain instances, we can become lost, not knowing our place in this world, where we belong or even who we really are because of the way these components affect us. Going through the everyday motions of life can be difficult. Unexpected hardships are thrown our way and we are forced to deal with them the best way we can. These hardships can create this notion that the world is against us. Why me? Who chose this life for me? Will things ever get better? Who I am? Why did this happen? If you ever found yourself asking these questions you are not alone. If things are in your favor and life seems to be good for you, do you have a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction? If so, what are you doing to help others? Life can be overbearing at times and some people can handle the pressure, but others may not be able to. We yearn for understanding, love, success, comfort, stability, happiness, acceptance and much more. In order to find these things some people look deep within themselves and/or to external sources for guidance. This is how my spiritual foundation came into existence.
I believe there is an interconnection of all things, and our decisions and actions are not localized, but everything we do resonates throughout the cosmos. There seems to be a symbiotic relationship we have with nature which creates an inevitable connection we have with one another. This theory opens you to the reality of the singularity of all things. “God” is within all of us and all things. “God” is the awakening of the universe in the form of sentient life, and our curiosity and spirituality is the way in which this consciousness develops to understand itself. However, your beliefs should not change how you view others. Even if you’re beliefs are different from others, the way you treat them should be the same way you would want them to treat you. Everyone has to eventually discover their own way to navigate through life, so the route they choose does not necessarily mean it is the wrong route to take. We innately process sensory experiences, look for natural trends and then try to determine the meaning of what we have discovered. So, spirituality can have a different meaning to everyone. The bases of most spiritual teachings are truth seeking, evolving, and respecting your fellow man or woman. So, it seems that the tendency to seek the truth and meaning of life is what remains constant. My spiritual foundation consists of Faith, Love (unconditional) and Perseverance.
I grew up in a town that was very strict until recently. They now allow businesses to be open on Sunday, but they still do not allow the selling of alcohol. I must say that I agree with their rules on alcohol. The surrounding cities seem to have liquor stores everywhere you turn now. At times, it felt like our town was a small religious village in the middle of a jungle. Crime and violence surrounded the area or at least where I lived, but I think our town is doing a great job controlling the crimes within and around the area. There is still a religious influence on the town, but it is more diverse now which changed the culture. The motto in our town is “Faith, Family and Future.” I feel strongly about Faith and Love (especially unconditional Love). They resonate with me emotionally. My father died when I was a child and I was forced to mature faster than most of my peers. I relied heavily on Faith, Love and Perseverance which make up the basis of my spiritual foundation. From my experience, religions and some people don’t except others from different backgrounds (Atheist, Homosexual, Bi-sexual, and so on) without trying to change them first. There is constant judging and stereotyping of people, especially minorities, in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. The area I lived in was no different. I believe this had a psychological effect on me. I found it, and somewhat still find it difficult to be myself around people from different backgrounds in hopes of being accepted and not judged. Instead, I learned to rely on Faith that things will work out. I relied on spreading Love to show people that I am no different regardless of what my background is. Ultimately, this helped me feel more comfortable about being myself. I started to notice that people with good morals accept you for who you are regardless of your background, flaws or shortcomings.
The virtues of brotherhood, sisterhood, stewardship, acceptance, and love are values that bring us closer to that connection we have with each other, society and nature. Learning from others and through experience is how we continue to develop and progress. We teach our children what we have learned through experience, so we need to do our best to live what we teach. We need to hold ourselves accountable for the decisions we make and put responsibility directly in our laps. Learning to love and liberate others regardless of their ethnicity, economic status, nationality or religion will create meaningful virtue. If we just do what is right it will bring us closer to satisfying our spiritual needs and, hopefully, help us achieve what we are yearning for. We all have the ability to create our own meaning of life. Maya Angelou once said, “Try to live your life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue, inertia, and timidity.” We all have the ability to make this world better, but the choice is ours.
Adum Gross was born on the Southside of Chicago. He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While attending UW-Madison, he participated on the track & field team as well. When asked about what first drew him to prose he said, “writing is therapeutic and a form of meditation for me. It provides a platform for me to sort my thoughts and express how I feel. Life moves fast and it can get overwhelming at times. Through writing I am able to slow my world down and be in the moment.” Adum is an Online-Marketing Consultant for a digital advertising company in Chicago. He currently writes for his company’s internal newsletter and is working on his health & fitness blog. His goal is to get into Market Research, help companies with their reputation through content marketing, and publish a novel. He can be contacted at AdumG4@gmail.com.