According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, “Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself.” It is about seeking and creating meaningful connections with other people, which brings us peace, purpose, and the positive emotions that come with it. It helps us explore our life purpose and find ways to live the best way possible.
In May 2023, Global Peace Women (GPW) Paraguay explored the value of spirituality in the face of today's challenges in a virtual training moderated by Ms. Maria Ester. The guest speaker, Ms. Susana de Benitez Codas, shared about the challenges that plague our society, eroding the value of spirituality. The challenges she shared included:
1. That the family is no longer considered an institution.
2. Society institutions do not uphold justice.
3. The growth of media and social networks create avenues for people to learn and adopt negative values.
4. Rapid extinction of ethics and morality.
5. The absence of mothers in the family during the first years of children's lives due to various circumstances.
6. A deficient education that does not integrate all the aspects of the human being in an integral education.
7. Human beings today have developed a materialistic vision of life and a continuous immersion in the consumer market.
8. The violence unleashed in all spheres, especially in the family, due to the frustration of adult members who are unable to contain their anxieties.
9. Lack of long-term vision among the people, which does not allow them to have a sense of belonging and transcendence as human beings.
Ms. Susana explored how spiritual education can add value or counter these challenges.
“All these challenges give us a somewhat discouraging picture. But, from the vision that man was created to carry forward a civilization in continuous progress, then we can all look to the future with optimism and also have hope knowing that spiritual education can be the pivot and the fundamental factor on which progress, both material and spiritual, of the human being is developed. Spiritual education is like a catalyst that accelerates the solidification of the family institution.”
Among the solutions she proposed was that there was a need for everyone in society to know “divine laws.” This set of universal principles and values, she said, would help society maintain morality and have the ability to speak up against ideals that tear down essential societal institutions like the family.
She also pointed out that spiritual education is an instrumental factor in providing people with the capacity for clarity and breadth of vision to help them think beyond the forced agendas of media and social networks. It would also help guide children who lack access to their mothers during their formative years. They learn about love, respect, and determination through spiritual education.
“Spiritual education gives us the ability to decide wisely,” she added.
Human beings are social beings who cannot thrive in isolation but need their environment and those in it to develop spiritually and materially. In line with this, Ms. Susana noted the importance of people engaging in acts of service to others as a spiritual value. She implored the participants to consciously participate in groups dedicated to society's betterment. She termed service to others as an essential aspect of strengthening families.
Indeed, spirituality and spiritual education pave the way for people to have stronger, healthier relationships. It encourages people to be more forgiving and tolerant of each other in their families, communities, and the world. At GPW, we view this as a critical aspect of strengthening families and promoting a world of peace beginning at home.