When you mention the word, “spirituality” to someone, you’re often greeted by a far off gaze in almost an instant. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, is that most people today equate spirituality with church. Although church can be an expression of spirituality is certainly not what it means to me. Most people, if you mention spirituality, they often assume you go to church, sing hymns and hand out bibles or watchtowers or whatever. For the past five years, I have embarked on a spiritual journey of sorts as a way to help cope with being chronically ill. It’s involved a lot of reading and research. It’s involved a lot of self reflection, a lot of writing, prayer, meditation and making changes within me. It has not included me handing out any type of reading material or singing any antiquated songs that no one really knows the words to. It has however; been very therapeutic; in fact I often equate more success to this spiritual journey than to most doctors I have seen or medications I’ve been forced to try. Let me share a few different definitions of spirituality I came across in my research.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines spirituality as “the quality or the condition of being spiritual; attachment to or regard for things of the spirit as opposed to material or worldly interests.”
Wiktionary– “Concerns for that which is unseen and intangible as opposed to the physical or mundane.”
Medical Dictionary– National Cancer Institute describes spirituality as “having to do with deep, often religious feelings and beliefs, including a person’s sense of peace, purpose and connection to others as well as beliefs about the meaning of life.”
Nursing Dictionary– describes “spirituality is that which gives meaning to one’s life and draws one to transcend one’s self. Spirituality is a broader concept than religion. Religion is just one expression of spirituality. Other expressions include prayer, meditation, interaction with others or nature and a relationship with God or a higher power.” (Burkhardt, M. “Spirituality: An analysis of the concept,” Holistic Nursing Practices 1989:60-77)
Today, the more we “plug in” to this or that, the more we “tune out” to our surroundings. How did we let ourselves become so far removed each other, ourselves? Has religion ruined the idea of spirituality? Have we become so jaded by the intolerances of so many churches that we are actually willing to make ourselves spiritually sick? Think about depression and anxiety for a moment. Don’t you think if we applied some of these aspects to healing ourselves spiritually, that maybe some of these other disorders could decrease? We’ve been trying many forms of therapy but rarely is spiritual therapy a part of it. Is this why those big pricey cancer centers offer this type of therapy often with high success rates? Of course it is. I understand that in today’s world it’s hard to get a free moment, a free weekend or peace and quiet for that matter, but this is the problem. The world so many of us have been bullied to live in by the fat cats and Corporations has us shackled to a computer with no natural light or exercise. You’re lucky if you even get a window or fresh air. All the while it has been successfully distracting us with meaningless busy work making us the farthest removed from God group of individuals than any other civilization in time. So, not only are we the most physically sick, but we’re also the most spiritually sick people in history. If you ask me, these illnesses both physical and emotional that are so rampant in our culture today are a direct result from our increasingly disconnected world. We’re not only disconnected from A God or Creator (which ever you believe in- I respect everyone) we’re disconnected from each other, humanity in general and ourselves. How we feel, what we think, what are passionate about? Why are these questions so taboo now? We need to permit ourselves time. Permit ourselves that desire to connect and reach out to someone, allow ourselves to be awed by the beauty of nature. Give in to self love and compassion for each other. These things are true, innate and we should stop overlooking them if we ever wish to see a positive change in the world.
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,
Meditation photo: http://foodmatters.tv/images/assets/meditation.jpg
Be the Change quote: http://madeasintended.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/be-the-change.jpg
Can Spirituality Be Defined? A Study: http://notes.utk.edu/bio/unistudy.nsf/935c0d855156f9e08525738a006f2417/bdc83cd10e58d14a852573b00072525d