NYVIC (New Yorkers for Vaccination Information and Choice)

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Defining My Spirituality
Jessicca Hall

In 1 Corinthians 6:19, the apostle Paul declares: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God within your body."

Defining my spirituality is simple: Respect for the natural elements of life and earth, honoring and answering to love as my higher power, having trust and faith that if I pray I will be able to connect with this higher power and let it infuse my life with purpose and contentment.

The rituals our family practices are not the only time we practice our religion, hopefully, there is a part of us that is constantly aware of our God-Love guiding us in our daily life...even if that God-Love is only able to be a tiny voice in my heart telling me not to yell at my kids or nag my husband.

The God-Love I seek to connect with knows there is a better way, a saner way, an easier way. It is this God-Love that spoke to me so clearly about vaccination. I also call it intuition, trust and faith. Some may take issue with making such and important decision based on intuition, trust and faith. These are not valid methods in our current society. To be legitimate, decisions must be based on an "objective" and unemotional review of "the facts". It makes sense, logically, to integrate all our resources, rational and passionate, of the heart and of the mind, when making important decisions. Furthermore, I believe the heart to be more significant in decision making than the mind , although essentially, they are one and the same, because the heart is by its very nature connected to the natural elements of life, and therefore is capable of knowledge which the mind could not even conceive.

When writing this article I sought the insights of a Sufi master, Hazrat Inayat Khan, from a collection of transcripts and lectures he made in the 1910's and 20's. In the book, titled "Spiritual Dimensions of Psychology," he addresses the question "Does the heart reflect the mind or the mind the heart?":

In the first place it must be known that the mind is the surface of the heart and the heart is the depth of the mind. Therefore mind and heart are one and the same thing. If you call it a mirror, then the mind is the surface of the mirror and the heart its depth; it is the same mirror.

My family has always brought me closer to God. As a child the rituals I participated in with my family were the very acts of everyday life, preparing food, eating, working and playing. No church, few prayers, but it was the intent, consciousness and thankfulness that these activities were infused with that made them rituals rather than mundane.

That feeling was crystallized when I was pregnant with my first child. Feeling the miracle of the life inside me let me realize that I had to surrender myself to the forces of nature. Having a child evolve inside of me, where I could not touch, or see, but I could feel made me realize that there were too many elements of life, all bound together in far too intricate a way for us to ever dissect and analyze. Better for us to trust, have faith, and connect through our intuition with those awesome elements of God-Love.

Before our daughter was born we knew we would not vaccinate her. Our intuition against it was too strong. Searching for God is searching for wholeness of oneself. That search for wholeness will be sincerely reflected in choices we make everyday. The theory of vaccinations is not based on seeing life force as a whole, but rather dividing it into pieces, antibodies, viruses. According to my religion, that very simply, is a flawed and unnatural philosophy.

Am I justified in claiming a religious exemption if I am not a member of an organized religion? Members of the same religion interpret their scriptures in different ways, so really the question is irrelevant. However, it is important to know, that according to NY State Law, a person is entitled to claim an exemption if vaccinations are against their sincerely and personally held religious beliefs.

Again, I quote from Hazrat Inyat Khan. Regarding vaccinations I found the concepts discussed in Chapter 6, SUGGESTIONS, to be very applicable:

We hardly realize how much we depend in our everyday life upon suggestion,...from morning till evening we are impressed by suggestion coming to us automatically in different forms. The importance does not lie in receiving suggestions or in rejecting them; it lies in understanding what will benefit us and what will be detrimental. For example, a suggestion is enough to make people believe a house is haunted, and that in itself is enough to make them feel afraid.... Among a hundred people we will hardly find one who wishes to learn the truth before he accepts any suggestion; very often he does not even trouble about it. To believe in something as soon as another has said it and to form an opinion immediately is the easier way: it saves one from troubling anymore about it. That is why we readily accept a suggestion, and so our whole life is full of suggestions....The best way to react against a suggestion is to try and find out the facts. But very often what a person does is to try and find them in the light of that suggestion.

Spirituality is the light that lets us recognize truth. Without it we are in the dark, depending on suggestion and the power of other people's thoughts to guide us. Trust is having faith in what we cannot see, Faith is believing what we cannot touch, Religion is having rituals in your life that cultivate and support Trust and Faith.

Can you claim a religious exemption? It is not until we doubt and question ourselves that others will question and doubt us. Faith will eradicate doubt. We must learn to recognize the spirituality of our choice. It is our spirituality, ultimately, that will guide our choice. Knowing this, and that no one aspect of our humanity is separate from another (mind, body, intellect, spirit) we can claim our religious exemption with confidence, sincerity and conviction.

 
 

       
  

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