Why Develop Your
Today's Snack: The word "supernatural" means "above nature" - things
you can't detect with your five senses. But there's something that's
supernaturally good to eat - and it's one of the healthiest dessert choices
around: angel food cake!
store-bought, pre-baked ones are great, or you can enjoy the aroma of one
baking in your oven, although you do have to have a special pan for this cake.
to other desserts, it's low-fat, low-calorie and low-sodium, and if you eat it
with fresh fruit - like bursting berries or luscious peach slices - it's . . .
well . . . it's HEAVENLY!
Try to find an old
or something else with
three legs or supports - preferably
one that you can
unscrew one of the legs, such as a camp stool,
so that you can show
the difference in stability between
sitting on a
three-legged stool vs. a two-legged stool;
or make a three-legged
stool out of cardboard and toilet-paper rolls;
bring scissors to cut
off one leg during this activity
What if, when you stopped growing, two-thirds of your body reached its
full height, but the remaining one-third of your body stayed the size it was
when you were born?
You'd walk funny, that's for sure.
Well, that makes about as much sense as people who agree
that we each need to develop our body and our mind, and help them grow strong
and capable . . . but heavens to Betsy, if we lift a FINGER to develop our
SPIRIT, we should be rushed off to the funny farm as a raving loony tune.
You know, that just isn't right, and it just isn't fair.
We all agree that a human being is made up of three parts: body, mind and
spirit. You really do have to develop all three. None of them should be
segregated. They're all part of the whole that is you.
Take a look at this three-legged stool. You can sit on
it, and because it has that powerful, balanced, load-bearing structure, of
three legs, it'll hold a lot of weight. Try it!
That's how it is with a person who has educated all parts
of himself or herself: body, mind and spirit. Literally, that person is a
person of . . . excuse the pun . . . WEIGHTY character.
But if we neglect our spiritual development, we go from
strength and balance in our lives to . . . CRASH! . . . when the third leg is
taken away from that stool, it gets crooked and falls to the ground. If you
can, try that, too.
at three of the most evil villains of world history: Adolf Hitler, Josef
Stalin, Mao Tse Tung. They killed millions and millions of innocent people. Yet
all three of them were very, very smart men. They just weren't smart at all
spiritually. And that's the difference.
though we all know this, deep down, many of us DO neglect ourselves
spiritually. Maybe it's because nobody else we know is growing spiritually and
we don't want to look like an oddball.
we don't have a ride to get to the church, synagogue or other place of religious
we'd rather sleep in than go to a religious service.
we're happier to keep doing only slightly naughty things - not REALLY naughty,
mind you - but slightly naughty, and stay away from people in spiritual
authority. Who wants to let a spiritual leader get to know us so that we have
to be accountable to them, and quit doing the slightly naughty things we like
grown-up people do, that's who. That's the whole idea: to recognize that you're
not perfect . . . but you're trying to be a whole lot better in every area that
exactly IS your "spirit"? Well, it's described as a lot of things. It's your
self - your consciousness - your heart - your soul - your moral principles - your
conscience, or the thing that makes you feel guilty when you've done wrong and
joyful when you've done right -- your convictions about what's right and wrong,
what matters and what doesn't -- what makes you see the world the way you do -
what gives you insight into yourself and others.
spirituality, you can get "the big picture" about life, and see how your
existence tucks into the grander scheme of things. You get good
self-discipline, the willpower to stay away from stuff you know you shouldn't
do, and even money management skills, since someone who's growing spiritually
usually thinks more about other people and starts wanting to give away more
money and "stuff" to help them, but needs to manage his or her own money better
to do it without going broke in the process.
study, discussion, prayer, worship, service and participation with others in
activities that can actually be . . . GASP! . . . fun, your spiritual life can
be every bit as interesting and rewarding as your academic life and your
physical/exercise/sports life, if not more, since, as most religions will tell
you, the rewards are . . . eternal!
people who have worked on their spiritual development stay within the
boundaries of a particular religion with its particular teaching tools. For
example, for Jews and Christians, it's the Bible. For Muslims, it's the Qu'ran.
There are basic outward practices and even behaviors and manners of dress that
signify if you are practicing a particular religion.
you don't have to be "religious" to still have a mature spirit and know
yourself and others very well. And some of the very wisest, most advanced
people spiritually are actually not very involved or in leadership roles in an
organized religious institution or group at all - although usually, membership
with other people and aligning your life to your shared beliefs is a really
good sign of mature spirituality, more so than someone trying to go it alone.
point is, some of the greatest people who ever lived have said that spiritual
development is the most important form of development, and shouldn't be
neglected. If they're role models for the world, shouldn't we follow their
are some quotes from a few of them:
is thoroughly well-bred
leaves off talking to those who do not wish to hear it.
Butler, writer (1835-1902)
cannot be polished without friction,
perfected without trials.
subdue the anguish of your soul.
is destined only to happiness or to pain.
wheel of life takes one up and down by turn.
Kalidasa, dramatist (c. 4th century)
The hottest places in hell are
or those who, in time of great moral
crisis, maintain their neutrality.
— Dante Alighieri,
mother had often said, When you choose an action, you choose the consequences
of that action. She had emphasized the corollary of this axiom even more
vehemently: when you desired a consequence you had damned well better take the
would create it.
McMaster Bujold, writer (1949- )
Man must cease attributing his
problems to his environment,
and learn again to exercise his will
— his personal responsibility
in the realm of faith and morals.
— Albert Schweitzer,
He is the best physician
who is the most ingenious inspirer
-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
poet, critic, and philosopher (1772-1834)
Gratitude is not only
the "greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all
Roman orator (106 - 43 B.C.)
is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part
of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well
as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own
were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind. . . .
Donne, poet (1573-1631)
To be able under all
circumstances to practice five things constitutes
perfect virtue; these
five things are gravity, generosity of soul,
earnestness and kindness.
Confucius, philosopher and teacher (c. 551-478 BC)
by perseverance that the snail reached the ark.
— Charles Haddon Spurgeon, English preacher (1834-92)
Life is mostly froth and
Two things stand like
Kindness in another's
Courage in your own.
Lindsay Gordon, poet (1833-1870)
the small matters trust the mind, in the large ones the heart.
-- Sigmund Freud,
The virtue of men are of
more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the
heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head.
Noah Webster, lexicographer (dictionary writer),
"The Father of American Scholarship and
trained intelligence can do much,
there is no substitute for morality,
and religious conviction.
-- Calvin Coolidge, U.S. President