Spiritual Grinding

A dear aunt of mine who lives in Texas once told me that she and her family doesn’t watch news on TV, and that they also don’t have cable TV. A reason she has for that was how emotionally draining the news could be, making it a waste of time, especially with her still having a lot of self issues to deal with. Instead, she and her family get their news from apps and the Internet, something which had me looking at the Internet in a better light. Of course, she and I still know that the Internet isn’t perfect, considering the usual concerned elder’s warning I kept in mind, which she gave along with comparing it to a dangerous marketplace, something which I responded to by expressing how I likened it to a nightclub.

Recently, though, I remembered that as I was looking for help in dealing with the moral and spiritual struggles I had to face at school. That also got me asking my aunt a question:

“If the emotionally draining stuff you have to deal with isn’t like a TV that you can switch off and put away conveniently, then what do you think would be good ways to deal with such problems?”

My aunt then called that a great question, and then she pointed out how much of a control freak I was, considering all the other stuff I told her about as I sought guidance from her. Then, as a start, she asked to me pray the Serenity Prayer frequently:

“O God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace. Taking, as He did, the sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever.”

As for how I responded to all that, well, I easily took it and thanked my aunt for that. If I were my younger self, though, then I would probably end up doing some more angst-surfing the Net alone in my room and skipping classes while thinking that I’m upholding actual justice for me and society.

Me as I am now still has a long way to go, though. That question I asked my aunt was something that also came out of having to deal with emotionally draining and spiritually challenging stuff at school. I’ve had to listen to professors and schoolmates expressing their discontent towards the government and its vocally foolish supporters yet again, and at a higher frequency too, considering recent incidents. And although I would agree that there are things that the government of my country is not doing well at, I didn’t sit well with the idea of doing things like name-calling and dehumanizing government officials, fellow humans with rights whom we claimed to be fighting for. Those who claimed to be fighting for justice that way ended up looking no different from the ones they considered their enemies, and it was something sickening that also made feel regret towards pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in the university I’m in. They try to fight for the rights of many fellow humans by dehumanizing some fellow humans as well, and the thought of that made me let out bitter laughs.

But you know what I just did there? I was pretty much talking just like they did, portraying fellow foolish humans like they’re hopeless cases. Maybe it’s not as bad as they tend to do, but it’s still bad. I distorted their faces further, faces I’m not trying to understand as much as I should because of my pride that wants to lord my high ground over them – even if I do have the moral high ground – via snappy comebacks and such. I can win the earthly battle that way, sure, but I would lose in the spiritual war that way as well.

If we were to talk about my current state of spiritual affairs in role-playing video game terms, I’m not grinding for experience points well. Like, instead of taking my time on defeating mobs with levels nearer to my own current level until I’m strong enough to handle a boss, I run away from them a lot while still aiming to defeat a boss. That’s also something which I remember doing during one Final Fantasy V playthrough I ended up giving up on years ago.

And so, “Do your ordinary duties extraordinarily well” rings true yet again. The popularly despised homework is also becoming more a source of relief for me, and I find it easier to look for the good within others, even within non-believers. Like grinding in role-playing video games, it can seem tedious, sure, but that would be the case if I don’t have a good end in mind and making sure that I don’t lose my handle on the basic controls and moves I tend to take for granted.

Like, really, the importance of the basics hit me hard when I have to go through things like when I have to deeply think about things like how fiction works in our lives so much that it’s a very important part of our lives, how a short story is different from the novel aside from word count, and why we aspiring creative writers have to learn about the theoretical aspects of creative writing.

So yeah, trying to speak with the help of gaming terms again, all the spiritual chaos I have to deal with from other people at school and the rest of society so far are the mobs. They can overwhelm me if I don’t have a good handle on the basic controls and moves. I know they’ll come around to mess with me, but they still tend to appear suddenly. They’re also easier to deal with when I have allies around, especially allies with varying skillsets.

As for the bosses of spiritual chaos? Well, I think they’re the chaos within me. Defeating mobs and gaining enough experience to fight a boss is like how I manage to face and beat my own faults better. Fighting with the help of a party of allies also becomes more important there, too.

Cheat codes? I don’t think that’s possible here, though, even if I try to scream and beg for such. God’s way better than the best programmers here on earth, and with how He works, there certainly are proper ways to overcome the challenges we face in life, and if we’re unable to find them, then we’re just not trying hard enough.

Like, for example, not letting others help me well. It’s something I’ve done before, even to the point of considering them dead weight. I guess I can say that I was doing technique spamming or using the same moveset over and over like it’s the one true solution to all my problems in life. That sort of thing can be seen in how angsty I’ve been in the past, which involved me that being some edgy nut with a habit of frowning and glaring would burn down all the ill will that others have.

There’s also my rigidity in terms of change, particularly sudden ones, combined with giving in a lot to bad impulses. It’s like being underprepared in terms of items and equipment while also insisting on using a set of equipment that’s less likely to help me beat a certain sort of enemy, and/or just attacking and attacking without taking caution and watching out for the enemy changing their tactics and using my recklessness against me. For example, there’s me still insisting on working on this despite depriving myself of sleep like its some overdue paid work I have to finish, which isn’t what this reflection series is supposed to be. I have a hard time accepting that I have to put aside important yet extracurricular activities like this for another time in favor of more basic yet still important things, like making sure I eat enough, exercise enough, study enough, and sleep enough.

So yeah, I guess the Run option and all those escape spells and items are things I won’t be needing to use very much in my life…

Now, time to get back to grinding…though maybe I should take some time to change equipment, stock up on items, and get some rest first. That, and revise my tactics and strategies as well, especially with the help of my partymates.

Also, God Almighty keep on helping us all.

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