Monday, October 26, 2009

The Right of Spiritual “Quiet Enjoyment”

In Real Estate law, it’s recognised that Quiet Enjoyment means:

“A Covenant that promises that the grantee or tenant of an estate in real property will be able to possess the premises in peace, without disturbance by hostile claimants.”[1]

The principle asserted in legal terms is one of protecting the right of someone, a tenant, to entire peace with regard to the lawful use of the property. There is only one general condition—the activities must be lawful.

The spiritual perspective on this principle of common or civic law is not too dissimilar.

We share a common right to ‘enjoy quietly’ i.e. peaceably, our thoughts and meditations—our heart longings for a god of our choosing, come what may, and for the right to worship and serve that god according to whatever customs, traditions, sacraments and practices might be afforded that deity.

It’s a common sort of reasonable respect. And there’s something of a warning here for the would-be purveyor of spiritual things. We are all tempted to polarise toward our own beliefs and away from those that are markedly dissimilar.

And this principle is beyond religion for we all have beliefs about spirituality—we’re all spiritual beings, whether our spirituality is based in ‘the spiritual’ or the more material—it doesn’t matter. We all worship something(s).

We all have a right to quiet enjoyment of our chosen spirituality. And to continue that right we should be apt at recognising the importance of revering all others with equally fervent stances toward their beliefs, no matter how bizarre it seems to us.

And when we think we’re so pious to not draw inappropriate judgments of others’ religions and spiritual bents we ought to take a second look, for it’s our very human nature to compare, criticise and judge; especially foreigners. It’s an impious fact; all are prone.

Provided people enjoy their spirituality as a means of not hassling others—a.k.a. the ‘hostile claimant’—they have every right to do so with everyone’s unwavering blessing. For we, in our wanton derision of others, become the hostile claimant—and the thin end of the wedge is broached in a flash.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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