What is a Spiritual?
People who want to maintain their physical health are sure to have themselves checked annually to make sure that
they are healthy and that they are taking good care of themselves. All too often we hear about someone young who had a heart attack or stroke, someone who had not had a physical in a long time. We wonder whether their premature deaths could have been prevented by early intervention. Would a doctor have found a hint that something was wrong? Would the doctor been able to help him? There are even radio advertisements with two men talking about the early death of a mutual friend and committing themselves to having a check up a soon as possible. “I want to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to me,” is the usual refrain.
Even if we don’t worry enough about ourselves to have a check up, we make sure to bring in our children regularly. We want to do absolutely everything we can to make sure that they are growing properly, and that there is nothing wrong developmentally. It is an irresponsible parent who doesn’t have his child immunized.
Basically, it is important to have regular physical check ups. The question I would like to ask is; “Isn’t an annual Spiritual just as important?” In the same way that someone should have an annual physical examination, so too, they should have an annual spiritual examination. A specialist, what Maimonides calls a “Doctor of Souls”, should do the Spiritual examination.
Obviously, the question is directed at someone who is interested in spiritual development and growth. It is just as possible to have a spiritual heart attack, as it is a physical one. It is just as common, if not more so, to have a total spiritual collapse, moments, days or weeks of feeling lost and no sense of direction.
I am not speaking about emotional issues. A competent psychologist should address those. I am speaking about spiritual issues. We will have to define which issues are spiritual and which emotional alone. The two are intertwined, in a confusing way. It is difficult for someone to know which issues are which. A competent Soul Doctor should be able to differentiate between the two types of issues.
It is possible to detect illnesses before they begin in one’s spiritual life as well. A competent Soul Doctor should be able to pick up hints of something wrong. He should also be able to make suggestions how to prevent things from becoming worse.
If you are reading this you are probably interested in your spiritual life. I have no idea how structured it is. As an Orthodox Jew my spiritual life is very structured. There are rules and there is a complex and very thorough system in which I function. The system guides me through my life. It is the basis of the spirituals I have given myself. The system is wonderful, and I believe that it is consistent with God’s will. My system of beliefs affects everything I am and do. The idea of the Spiritual comes from within that system. Can someone who is not an observant Jew, or not Jewish at all, benefit from a Spiritual? If I don’t believe in a specific religion can I still benefit from a Spiritual? The answer is an emphatic Yes! The Spiritual has its own structure, which I believe can work for anyone. Some will benefit more from one part of the examination than another. But, there is something there for anyone who is interested in his or her spiritual life.