Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to info@alessandra.com!

Spirituality is finding a purpose for being here

Several of the world's great religious traditions understand spirituality as a kind of ladder -- a ladder upon which each of us stands on a certain higher or lower rung. Certain people, for example, are very low on the ladder. They have not advanced very far on their souls' spiritual ascent. These are not necessarily evil at their core, but they are definitely the ones who do evil things. Spiritually, they have got a long way to go. And usually they realize this. In fact, they are usually so aware of how far they have to go that they consciously decide to give up trying. They feel they are beyond the possibility of change. The things they have said or thought or done have disqualified them from the possibility of transformation or redemption. So forget about it! Bring on the dancing girls!

At the other end of the ladder are the true saints -- people in whom no trace of evil or negativity remains, people who are completely and totally good. Because of the purity of their nature, it is literally impossible for this kind of person to act other than impeccably in any situation, no matter what it is.

The great majority of humanity finds itself somewhere between the poles of these two categories -- between the people at the bottom and at the top of the spiritual ladder. Spiritually speaking, most people are engaged in a struggle. They have temptations that pull them down the ladder, and they have aspirations that move them in an upward direction. Year by year, day by day, minute by minute, they live with these tensions and doubts -- and to the best of their ability, they try to find some way to resolve them.

Mother Teresa knew where she wanted to be on the spiritual ladder from the very beginning. She wanted to be at the top. She aspired to sainthood, and she accepted all the challenges that came with that aspiration. Furthermore, I do not think there is much doubt that she succeeded in what she aspired to become.

My purpose here is not only to show what spiritual genius is, but also to show how you can discover it in your own heart and soul. To the greatest extent possible, I want you to be able to identify with Mother Teresa, not just admire her or worship her.

Spirituality is looking beyond the material dimension of your life and discovering something that is intangible but very important. For a spiritual genius, that intangible something becomes supremely important. It becomes what mathematics was for Einstein or electricity for Edison. Without expecting yourself to take that leap into genius, I want to emphasize the importance of at least connecting with the spiritual power in yourself -- especially because, in the world we live in, that is not something that will happen by itself. We are used to thinking about the material realm, and there is a lot to think about. There are bills to pay and planes to catch and children to educate. However, despite the way it may seem, that is not all there is. There is a reason why you are here and a spiritual purpose you need to accomplish, and one of your life's most important tasks is finding out what that is -- and doing it as best you can.

Here's to more personal insight,


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"The Divine Comedy"

Dante's Divine Comedy tells the story of a middle-aged poet who finds himself lost in the woods, only to discover he has arrived in Hell(or "Inferno"). Hell is made up of a series of concentric circles - nine to be exact - that penetrate deep into the center of the Earth. The deeper the poet goes, the more repulsive are the sins and sinners he finds - all of whom are tormented by extreme punishments symbolizing the very crimes they committed during life.

Not exactly your kind of "comedy", you might be thinking... Well, the poet eventually finds his way out of Hell. Moreover, in Book 2 (Purgatorio) and Book 3 (Paradiso), he makes his way up "the spiritual ladder," so the speak, shedding his own sins along the way, until he arrives in Heaven where he meets... well, I do not want to give the whole story away.

The point is whether you consider it climbing a ladder or simply trying to discover a part of yourself that is free of negativity and desire, spirituality is a journey... and though it may seem at times like an impossible one, we are always getting closer to Our Destination.