Breathe In… Ohhhhhhhmmmm… Breathe Out….
That’s probably what you think of when you hear the term Spirituality. Chances are if it’s not, then you associate it with religion of some kind. For me it’s a little bit different and I hope to explain what Spirituality is to me in this post and why I think it is so important for every human being to understand spirituality.
Spirituality is something that has always been elusive to me. It’s something that I know I embody and possess, however, it’s hard to put into words. For me it’s not a specific religion, although prayer does play a role in my personal spirituality. I guess, for me, it is more about energy. Emitting good energy into the world so that I can hopefully get some good energy in return. Now we’re not talking electricity here. We’re talking about aura. Vibez. Ya know all that hippy dippy stuff. But more over, spirituality, is a guide in doing good and hoping that good returns to me in a cause and effect type of way. It’s a guide in how to treat others and how to treat the world around me. It’s also a guide in what to do when I encounter hard or trying times. It helps me to understand the world and yet still have hope in it. It’s this wonderful mysterious thing that helps me exist more peacefully.
For you, it may be devout Judaism or Catholicism or Islam or Buddhism or Wicca or whatever it is that you practice or believe in that is beyond the physical realm of understanding. So I guess to sum it up, it would be a state of heightened awareness of a greater purpose or power than our own. It may also be atheism. Yes that’s right, atheism isn’t anti-spirituality. Just because you don’t believe in a particular religion or a God doesn’t mean that you are totally against those who do and it doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in doing good by others and by the world around you. That, to me, in and of itself is spirituality. The idea of embodying a good spirit.
Now if spirituality is so broad and it can mean so many different things to so many different people, why then should we concern ourselves with it? Well I think the answer is in the question. In order to understand yourself and the way that you should behave and think and so forth, you must first understand the motivations of other people. And for a great number of people, their number one driving force is their spirituality. We need to be mindful of the spirituality of others and respectful of it. This will lead us to a place of greater understanding of the world around us and will better equip us for dealing with difficult situations when we are faced with them. So spirituality is important. I would say that it is one of the most important aspects of a well-rounded human being. Maybe not in practice, but at least in understanding.
I realize that this is a little murky and it’s more of an idea than a concrete fact. And some people are 100% fact driven and do not make time for things that can’t be seen or rationally looked at. However, spirituality isn’t a hard science. It isn’t something that you are ever going to be able to pin down. So if we are going to accept it, we have to take it at face value. We have to understand that not everyone is going to believe the way that we do. And we have to stop trying to force our particular spirituality on anyone else. The old adage “to each his own” really rings true here. So many religions, which we’ve established are a type of spiritual practice, spend time trying to convert others to their way of thinking and believing. I fundamentally disagree with that. It perpetuates an us versus them mentality and assumes the stance of correctness and authority. That’s why so many wars have been based on religion. If we take that stance away, though, and we respect everyone’s right to believe and practice their own version of spirituality, then we begin to take down walls and open ourselves to the ideas and practices of others. This could have a wonderful effect on relations between people, which could, in turn, allow everyone the space that they need to be themselves without fear of judgement or criticism. And if we allow everyone to be who they truly are, then we open the door to endless possibilities.
I know this has taken a turn for the “preach-y”, but I assure you I am not preaching to anyone. I don’t hold the moral high ground and I don’t believe that you do, either. I am simply stating opinion and trying to explain what spirituality is to me and why I believe that it is so important. We won’t ever reach peace and understanding, though, if we don’t accept the role that spirituality plays in our world.
So I encourage you to spend some time thinking about what spirituality means to you. Is it one of your most defining characteristics? Do you have a particular practice that calms or guides you, like meditation, or do you pray to a deity that you believe in? Regardless of your own spirituality, do you understand the far reaching effects that it has on people? Write to me and tell me what spirituality means to you and tell me about the ways that you try to encourage spiritual freedom amongst your fellow man.