Recently, a number of my family members and close friends have been diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency, which is surprising since we live in sunny California. It seems we have an epidemic with lack of vitamin D. The easy cure is just to go out in the sun.
Yet being in the sun is counter to modern codes of behavior. Just bask in the glow of that last statement for a few minutes.
Exposure to the sun is not only dangerous, but makes us ugly according to modern racist, classist, and paranoid beliefs. My cousin has a friend who claims to be allergic to the sun. That is like being allergic to God.
This whole scenario reminds me of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. We are all prisoners in a cave staring at images projected on a wall which we mistake for reality. When someone does finally escape the cave into the real Light, we kill him when he comes back to free us.
In no way am I advocating running outside naked and risking skin cancer, but I am calling for a daily dose of Vitamin S. The S stands for Spirit. How rich would our lives be if we got a daily dose of Spirit, of God, of Light?
Like so many of you, I am overly concerned with getting my daily doses of caffeine, text messages, Walking Dead, or Twitter, but I rarely think about exposing myself to Spirit everyday.
So here are 5 tips to increase our exposure to Spirit. Feel free to apply liberally.
“You spin me right round”
My first memory of Spirit happened when I ran through the woods as a very young child. For some reason, I closed my eyes and stretched my arms out behind me. The wind blowing on my arms felt like God caressing and guiding me through the narrow forest path.
Nowadays, I don’t run through the woods with my eyes closed much, but I spin in a circle with my arms outstretched like a Whirling Dervish. The Whirling Dervishes are a Sufi sect founded by the followers of the Persian poet and theologian Rumi. The story goes that Rumi was walking through the market place when he heard the goldbeaters pounding their gold and chanting in rhythm, “There is none worthy of worship but Allah (God).” Rumi was so filled with happiness that he stretched out his arms and started spinning in a circle. I hope everyone feels touched by God whether they are spinning in circle, running through the woods, or listening to the rhythm of chanting goldbeaters, Hip Hop bands, or Taiko drummers.
Get a Suntan
We need to get out in the sun, not just for vitamin D, but for vitamin S, as well. Go outside, even if you stay in the shade. Sit under a tree. Splash through a puddle. Listen intently to the wind. Try to see the exact color of a sunset’s last sliver.
Look into my eyes
Spirit is everywhere if we dare to look. Can you recognize the Spirit in those around you? Look deeply into their eyes and see where love settles. Mother Teresa said about the poor and destitute she worked with, “”They are Jesus. Everyone is Jesus in a distressing disguise.” Can you see Jesus in the strangers you pass on the street? Can you see Jesus in the wretched or despicable souls you judge everyday?
Laugh with Children
Before the birth of my first son, my sister-in-law told me that since babies just came from the arms of God, they have miraculous things to teach us. Children can oftentimes remember Spirit easier than adults who have long forgotten what God feels like. Spending time with children helps us re-member where we came from.
When I listen to the laughter of my sons and their friends, everything is ok. The world is at peace. The Universe is smiling. Sometimes when my 3 year old grabs my ears and pulls me close, I can feel God’s love again.
Cry Out Loud
In one of my favorite speeches of all time, Jimmy Valvano said:
To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.
Since we got the thinking and the laughing taken care of, let’s focus on crying. Let’s let ourselves be moved to tears everyday. I just had tears welling up watching the Chariots of Fire clip above. I often allow myself to shed a tear when I read your blog posts. Sometimes when I hug my wife, I feel tears of gratitude bubble up. When our emotions are moved to tears, we know that Spirit is with us.
I’m not claiming to be any closer to Spirit or God than any of you dear readers. In a way, I’m writing this post to remind myself what is really important in my daily life.
Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.
How do you get your daily dose of Spirit? Please share.