By Anselmo Ferreira Vasconcelos

How to Be Better?

Considering the still immense and unequivocal demonstrations of moral deviations of human beings in all quarters of the planet today, which, in fact, cause many misfortunes and scourges, it becomes necessary, in order not to succumb, to cling to something superior that fills our hearts and minds with positive and nurturing sensations. Although the daily news is invariably full of sinister episodes and countless tragedies, a clear sign that the “times have come”, we must move forward. In fact, we cannot stop in the middle of the redemptive road.

The time has come for us to show our real value before God, in order to remain connected to this orb. And supporting us in this difficult struggle we have, in addition to our particular faith and hopes, the greatness and depth of the spiritual message personally transmitted by Jesus. In this whirlwind of dark events, let us be sure that the supposed winners of today, who deliberately make our crosses even heavier, will be the great losers of tomorrow.

As creatures deviated from the light, they sow unspeakable suffering for themselves. The disasters they caused are duly recorded in the annals of spirituality, and, therefore, a future full of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” awaits them, as the Gospel points out. In other words, a natural and deserved reward for those who revel in the practice of evil and unbalanced attitudes. On the other hand, for us who have already made a lot of mistakes, and now we have finally woken up, the challenge posed is to be better. This is, without a doubt, the divine proposal for all who yearn to have a pacified conscience, and free from blemishes.

Thus, seeking to answer the question above that gives the text its title, we suggest, first of all, inserting God into our lives. In fact, it is often said that we humans have “lost our soul”, that is, our good feelings, sensitivity, sense of respect, etc. Having said that, we must then rescue the presence of the Lord on our path. Connecting to the Creator frequently through prayer and meditation brings us relief and inner peace. Appealing to his wisdom in the most critical moments, asking him for strength and inspiration, is always a wise procedure.

As paradoxical as it may be, it must also be considered that many humans do not truly know themselves. In other words, they didn't discover themselves. They do not delve deeper into the search for self-knowledge, they do not search the core of their being to find certain explanations regarding their own conduct. In this way, discovering ourselves is essentially understanding who we are and what motivates us.

It is a cathartic process that demands a lot of courage, as through it we can eventually discover disturbing aspects that still dominate us. It also implies accepting that we need to be strict with ourselves, admitting, on many occasions, that we need to improve our inner home, reforming it so that new values and aspirations can beautify it. It should no longer be news to know that we carry many character and behavioral deficiencies that require repairs and overcoming that only self-discovery can provide us. A good measure in this regard is to pay attention to what we think.

It is an undeniable fact that we pay little attention to things of a spiritual nature. In general, we do not seek to discover our origin, as well as the reasons why we are living here in such a troubled and chaotic dimension. Furthermore, researching and meditating on transcendental subjects are not part of most people's routine. However, the point is that we are Spirits momentarily incarnated in a world of trials and expiations. Life, therefore, functions as an extraordinary school providing exceptional opportunities for learning and improvement. We have the ability to put our best into practice (talent, abilities, virtues, and feelings) in favor of the world that welcomes us and to collaborate, at the same time, with the Creator. Therefore, studying our own (spiritual) essence is an essential step towards our evolution.

It is worth remembering that in The Gospel According to Spiritism there is a vehement recommendation from the Spirit of Truth regarding the need for us to study. In other words, “[...] Instruct yourselves in the precious doctrine that dispels the error of revolts and shows you the sublime objective of human trials. Just as the wind sweeps away the dust, may the breath of the Spirits also dissipate your anger against the rich of the world, who are, often, very miserable, because they find themselves subject to more dangerous trials than yours. I am with you and my apostle instructs you. Drink from the living fountain of love and prepare yourselves, captives of life, to throw yourselves one day, free and joyful, into the bosom of Him who created you weak to make you perfectible and who wants you to shape your malleable clay yourselves, in order to be the artisans of your immortality.”

There is, therefore, no other better way to glimpse divine wisdom, as well as the possibilities of spiritual growth outlined for us. Let us keep in mind that studying is the most appropriate way to get to know the Creator and His infinite love. Studying is the instrument for dispelling the evil that still exists within us, as it provides us with the essential elements for elevating our reasoning. However, we continue moving in the world as if there was no tomorrow, “absolutely distracted from eternal truths”, according to Telésforo, a wise spiritual mentor mentioned in the work The Messengers (dictated by the Spirit André Luiz and psychographed by the medium Francisco Cândido Xavier).

Many others are victims of their own ignorance, that is, the so-called “mother of misery, weaknesses, crimes”, as he also very well considers. In short, the lack of knowledge of the scope and immeasurable wisdom of divine statutes prevents us from seeing the prerequisites for achieving real happiness. That said, studying is an essential step towards knowing the eternal truths echoed by Master Jesus, and a guarantee of victory, if well assimilated, over our imperfections. It is curious to note that certain people declare that they have difficulty in making even a minimum effort in edifying reading, which could satisfy their soul with other acquisitions of knowledge.

Unfortunately, I have met many individuals in this self-limiting situation throughout my life. Some of them, to my surprise, admitted to getting information exclusively through television, while others suggested a preference for audio books. Of course, these are valid alternatives for learning and information; however, they never replace the analytical-descriptive depth of a good book. Even the phenomenal resource of cinema, despite my sincere admiration and enchantment for this form of art, cannot reproduce with due richness the volume of dialogues and clarifications that only good books can provide.

Therefore, studying our personality and tendencies requires intense reflection, comparisons, and counterpoints. In my modest view, only a good book can offer us such elements. Spiritism is extremely helpful in providing such possibilities that, when well used, allow us to advance through the precise identification of points, in our way of being, acting and thinking, that require improvement.

The way we relate to others is also a critical point to examine. By the way, let us always remember we are not alone in the world. In this sense, we need our fellow humans, perhaps even more than they need us. We are a gregarious race that works for its own preservation. Our ancestry clearly highlights the salience of this characteristic. In spiritual terms, it is imperative that we know how to cultivate peace and benevolence with our brothers on the journey, if we truly desire our ascension. In the family, we almost always face enormous challenges in this regard, as they are sheltered by disaffected blood ties or enemies from the past. Fortunately, God grants us brief oblivion, but brings us together again so that our antagonisms are transformed by reciprocal feelings of love and tolerance. Therefore, being better in this dimension means working daily so that our relationships are blessed by understanding and goodwill. It is evident that we do not always find individuals in life willing to demonstrate the same inclinations towards us. However, let us do our part by treating everyone with great respect and consideration, and if something unsatisfactory occurs, let it not be caused by us.

Finally, the strength of charity must serve as a stimulus to concrete action. The spiritist vision goes far beyond distributing alms, as this is often mechanical and devoid of more refined feelings. As Allan Kardec observes, also in The Gospel According to Spiritism, “true charity is modest, simple and indulgent”. Perhaps the most important aspect of this virtue is that of looking at others with understanding. In fact, many are wasting their present incarnation in a regrettable way, further increasing their liabilities towards spirituality. As beings aligned with evil, they will certainly have a very long way to go before their consciences awaken. Seeing them as sick souls is a genuine act of charity. Let us remember that the evildoer, the criminal, the villain, in short, also have divine DNA waiting for the right moment to blossom.

Jesus always had a compassionate, charitable look at those who sought him, and thus gave them his love fully. In the most dramatic moments of his crucifixion, he still had the charity to forgive those who inflicted unjust suffering on him. For our part, we can and must be charitable, avoiding the acid of merciless criticism or an unforgiving and radical attitude. We also make a lot of mistakes. Our past is generally compromising, and if today we acquire something in the field of self-knowledge, it is because the leaders of spirituality welcomed us through fraternal assistance at some point. Partially recovered from our blindness, we are now working to improve ourselves before the cosmic laws that govern life. In conclusion, we all can and should be better. Every day we have this opportunity, so get to work.



Solange Grande - sa.kardec@gmail.com



O Consolador
 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita