A lot of people who don't have experience with religion or spirituality or existential questioning (like wondering what your life means) can hold the idea that spirituality is something mysterious, unattainable, or even meaningless especially in this day and age of making ends meet, managing busy lives, endless distractions, and just keeping up.
But it is precisely because of this day and age that spirituality is more important than ever. Disconnection to natural rhythms and nature, an over-reliance on technology, and endless mental, intellectual and physical demands make it easy for us to detach from feeling ourselves and from feeling connected to others at any depth.
Consider this: How often do actually think about your life and what it means? You probably have goals, and want certain things to happen in your life, which is great. But when was the last time you reflected on your place in the world? In your family, your community, your country, your planet? And what's the relationship you have with yourself? How harmonious do you feel (vs. stressed, burned out)? Do you know why you do what you do? What is motivating you? Do you understand that your life affects hundreds of others, nevermind life on planet earth? Are you aware of your footprint? What makes your heart sing? What are your dreams?
These are spiritual questions. And they are important questions because your life and what you do with it matter.
While all religions are spiritual in nature, spirituality is not religion and is a personal orientation that anchors you to life. And while the definition of spirituality is different for everyone, there are some common themes associated with what it is, all hinged around your life journey. It can be described as:
- a personal journey of self-discovery, connecting to who you are at your core and who you want to be,
- a quest for peace of mind, which comes with a process of examining how your thoughts and beliefs link to your sense of well-being,
- a quest for purpose and direction which moves your life towards meaning or explaining the things that happen in your life,
- a desire to link to the creative life force that exists in all living things - plants, animals, DNA, stars (I mean, where DOES it all come from?),
- a desire to feel deeply connected to yourself and others, which helps you anchor your place in life,
- a desire to understand or experience your soul-self, or higher power - the eternal part of you that is beyond the physical and represents your potential.
Spirituality is integral to your sense of mental, emotional and physical well-being, as it illuminates the wisdom needed to live a good life, be in healthy relationships with your self and others, and be a contribution to society. People who make time to consider their spirituality often become aware of how they affect others, what their needs are, and the importance of connecting to their values and passions. There’s nothing too mystical about that. It’s all about knowing what’s important to us and the gifts and talents we are here to share, whether it’s modeling patience or compassion, or building bridges, or raising a family.
For people just starting to wonder where and how spirituality fits in their life, there are a few good places to start:
- Explore spiritual values, like joy, peace, generosity, by reading a book. Just search for “spirituality” on Amazon or Google and see what comes up. I think there’s even a “Spirituality for Dummies”.
- Start journaling about your life, what going on in it and how you feel about it. Write about things you want to do or try. Ask questions about things you’ve always been curious about, then see what shows up in your dreams at night.
- Ask yourself reflective questions like: who are the most important people in my life? Who was my favorite teacher or mentor and why? What would I do if money were no object? What do I need to do to be a better person? What are my spiritual beliefs? What does my life mean?
- Make time to be quiet and still, and BREATHE!!! Most people breath very shallowly, depriving the brain of much needed nourishing oxygen. Begin a meditation practice of simply watching the flow of your breath in and out.
To me, spirituality is all about being curious about who I am and how I can cultivate harmonious relationships with myself, my loved ones and other people, and with my environment. It’s about how I live my life and how I express myself. It’s about understanding the cycles of change and growth. It’s about taking risks and living in the adventure of the mundane, absurd, and creative.
It’s how much I allow the expansiveness of my heart to feel. It’s about finding out what really matters. It’s about expressing the art of living: Simple. Peaceful. Meaningful. Beautiful.
What does spirituality mean to you?
To explore your spiritual life and how it influences your journey to find well-being, visit www.soulexpressions.ca
Andra Evans is a certified Spiritual Psychotherapist & Coach, Spiritual Director, Akashic Records Consultant, Gateway Dreaming Facilitator, Munay-Ki graduate, author and energy & shamanic healing practitioner who has been assisting people with spiritual growth and transformation for over 10 years.