This thought is from Manoel Azevedo da Silva (photo), the author of the booklet Atitudes Saudáveis (Healthy Attitudes). He was born in the Brazilian city of Carmo, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and lives in Além Paraíba, in Minas Gerais state. He is a Spiritist speaker and coordinates mediumship activities at the Amor e Caridade (Love and Charity) Spiritist Centre in his city. In this interview he speaks about his book’s proposals.
When did you join the Spiritist Movement?
I was born into a Spiritist family and at the age of 14 I already worked as a volunteer, on Gospel lessons to younger children and helping other mediums I joined the youth movement in the city of Volta Redonda and developed my knowledge of Spiritism there, before returning to Carmo in 1991
Of all the different aspects of Spiritism, what impressed the most in your early years and why?
The mediumship sessions. I am the eldest of a mother who was pregnant 13 times. We lived in humble conditions in a rural area. My father worked in a farm and we lacked the basic resources, including access to hospitals and medicines. We had therefore to rely on healers, teas and baths to treat our illnesses. I began, therefore, to witness mediunimic phenomena at the age of five at the Deus, Cristo e Caridade (God, Christ and Charity) Spiritist Centre.
When and how did you come up with the idea of writing the booklet, Atitudes Saudáveis (Healthy Attitudes)?
It began a long time ago, but I can’t remember exactly when. I kept wondering why we seek all sort of treatment all the time and remain at the level of suffering and pain. I also wondered why we didn’t develop healthier habits and a way of life more in line with the natural laws in order to prevent illnesses and unhealthy habits. We hardly ever take on preventative measures. Instead, we seem to live with a total lack of prudence and care, and this behaviour is at the heart of our problems. I also realised that we often say that we are dealing with our health when we are in fact treating illnesses and forgetting that there is no such a thing as illnesses but ill people instead.
We know that the book is a collection of messages and guidance for a more peaceful and balanced life. Is there a particular circumstance that prompted you to write it?
I basically heard what the discarnate Spirits said during all the mediumship sessions I have attended all these years. I paid special attention to those who were in a troubled state, in spiritual sleep or suffering, trying to understand from their statements what had caused them to be in that situation. I also took into account what the Spirits had told us in novels and short stories, as well as the advice they have given us on how to carry out our inner reform.
On your booklet you have a page entitled “Reflections on Sex”. What can we do to deal with sex in more balanced manner?
We must block the imbalances that have happened so often at this stage we are of spiritual infancy. They have nourished our addictions and created new ones to meet the ever increasing demand to achieve purely physical pleasures. We spend our sexual energies without control and we end up short of energy to find more coherent solutions to our lives. We are living in the era of creativity but we are still being guided by an instinct that, if misused, will cause psychological and physical illnesses in those who use sex for simple pleasure, without any respect or responsibility.
What is your view on recreation and exercise and their importance on our lives?
Our physical body is a piece of equipment made of several different systems taht work independently but that need to work in harmony so that we live a balanced, organic life. Our body suffers the impact of the problems we have in life and suffer its impact on a psychological and physical aspect. That is why it is important to exercise and play. Those activities help ease those tensions and help our body achieve balance and to refuel with positive energies, to cope with the trials and tribulations of live on earth. We are increasingly sedentary. We need, therefore, to carry out balanced physical and recreational activities so that our body is not prematurely damaged remain active for the time we are expected to remain alive in this incarnation.
On your book you also have interesting observations on the financial resources. How should we deal with them?
It is still a challenge for us, Spirits, to show wisdom when managing the resources that are put at our disposal both for our Spiritual development our survival in a material world. Our inability in managing those resources has hampered our spiritual progress, to say the least. In many cases, it has ruined several of our incarnations. The lack of prudence and care in the way we use money has nourished vices such as envy, greed, selfishness, attachment to material things, avarice, lack of respect for others, a compulsion to control everything, self-centredness and consumerism. I wrote down on my booklet the practical attitudes that I learned with my father and that have served me well in life.
Is it possible to be happy?
It certainly is. We can achieve happiness in this world, to a certain extent, however. All we need is courage and planning so that we can be happy. We need to be absolutely certain that our happiness doesn’t rely on anyone or anything and that we can be happy in whichever situation we find ourselves in. It all depends on us. The only reason why we are not happier is because we don’t believe in this and we don’t plan our lives in order to be happy. We are attached to negative thoughts, believing that everything is difficult, that we are weak and imperfect. We carry a lot of guilt on our shoulders. We need to change this way of thinking and create positive connections and have faith, but a type of faith linked to positive attitudes: “I believe, yes, that I can be happy now. But what else do I need for that? Nothing, absolutely nothing”.
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