- The Need for Spirituality Is Inherent in All of Us
- There May Not Be Certainty With Religion, But Faith Is Real
- Spirituality Is Associated with Emotional Wellbeing
- Have You Ever Felt Something Happen That You Didn’t Expect?
- Exploring Your Life Purpose Through Spirituality
- Do You Believe Things Happen for a Reason?
- 7 Spiritual Needs All Humans Have
- Spirituality Is in All of Us
- Why Should We Pay Attention to Spirituality?
- 7 Ways to Find A Feeling of Transcendence
- Do You Ever Find Yourself Wondering What Life Is All About?
- Final Thoughts – We Need Our Spirituality Now More Than Ever!
Hello lovely lady I think this is a vital subject and not one that is widely discussed. It can be considered sensitive as so many people relate spirituality to religion. But really, it’s far more than that and can mean so many different things to different people. Have you noticed that now you’ve reached your midlife stage (or maybe even before) that you are paying more attention to finding life’s ‘meaning’? This isn’t to take anything away from the awe-inspiring purpose of bringing children into the world. But now, for many of us, the kids have moved on with their lives and there’s a vacuum we need to fill.
In this post, I want to discuss Spirituality (not religion). Our spirituality and connection to something greater than ourselves are what more and more people are starting to explore.
The Need for Spirituality Is Inherent in All of Us
Our spirituality is the search for deeper meaning, truth, and direction in life. A belief that there are non-physical elements to the universe and also to our existence. It’s an internal journey, one that isn’t tied to any dogmas, rituals, or feelings of guilt or shame. Instead, it’s a liberation of your spirit and It’s different for everyone. In general, spirituality means a connection with something bigger than ourselves. This can be with belief in a deity …or it can be in a search for the ‘Meaning of Life’. A spiritual experience can be described as a deep sense of aliveness or interconnectedness with all other humans and nature as part of our universe. Although religion and spirituality are often believed to be the same…they are not the same You can be spiritual without aligning to any religion, you can be religious without being spiritual, and you can also be both. Unexpected isn’t it? Until the last few years, I always considered myself to be Agnostic…meaning I’m not sure I believe in a deity. But also, I can’t be arrogant and say there isn’t one because well…I just don’t know for certain. None of us do. By the same token, I don’t understand how anyone can be an Atheist. No one can definitively say there isn’t a God…because once again, we don’t know for certain!
There May Not Be Certainty With Religion, But Faith Is Real
Even though we may be convinced through our upbringing that God exists…that’s blind faith, not a certainty, and there’s nothing wrong with blind faith. It’s not my place, or anyone else’s to determine whether a persons’ faith is justified or not, because that’s what faith is…the belief in something irrespective of proof. Also, faith brings enormous comfort to those who believe in a deity, and that in itself is wonderful.
“It doesn’t have to be confirmed or proven, otherwise it wouldn’t be Faith” –Unknown
Now that I’m older, I understand that you don’t need to follow any religion in order to embrace your spirituality and I feel more connected to mine than ever before. The feeling that I’m part of something bigger makes sense to me now, without it coming from any form of religion. How about you?… can you relate to this?
Spirituality Is Associated with Emotional Wellbeing
Emotions and spirituality are separate but deeply integrated with one another. Exploring your spirituality is an internal and individual process. Seeking a connection with something bigger, something outside of yourself can generate intense emotions of positivity and transcendency. These positive moments can happen when you least expect them, generating feelings of awe, peace, and contentment.
Have You Ever Felt Something Happen That You Didn’t Expect?
Maybe it happened when walking through the woods and seeing a shaft of light illuminating a glade in between the trees? Or, you notice a squirrel studying you from a branch without appearing to be afraid. Or you get caught in a rain shower and then see that there’s a beautiful rainbow developing ahead. Deep down, do you get a realization that we are connected to everything around us? Yes, many people will instantly attribute this to a higher power. But do you also feel a deep connection as an integral part of this planet and everything on it? I’ve experienced this feeling on many occasions, and I became overwhelmed with the flood of emotion about how beautiful nature is and how we’re all connected to it. I also experience this emotion when I see an act of pure kindness, where there’s no agenda or expectation of reciprocity. To me, that is what is so special about the human spirit. This is accompanied by a strong sense of gratitude at being present and able to experience a moment that you weren’t expecting to witness.
Exploring Your Life Purpose Through Spirituality
I’m sure this will be as different for you as it is with every person. It naturally shifts and changes as we age, and as we come into contact with different people and experiences. Our perspectives on life alter and in many cases, this causes us to search for a deeper meaning or purpose for our existence. Finding your purpose can guide your life decisions, influence your behavior, change your view of the world around you, plus define your goals and offer a sense of direction. This is particularly relevant in your midlife years. We all experience some form of midlife ‘crisis’. Not necessarily in a dramatic way…more a re-defining of what we want to achieve with our remaining years. Coming to terms with the fact that at 50+ you are nearly two-thirds through your average life span can either be extremely daunting. OR a huge kick up the backside for making plans to realize your dreams. Living your life in harmony with who you really are deep down, is essential. It’s about finally putting ‘Living’ ahead of ‘Existing’ and realizing our dreams and life-purpose instead of just going through the motions and watching the years roll by.
Do You Believe Things Happen for a Reason?
I truly believe that things DO happen for a reason. It may be that there’s no ‘magic’ involved…it would be nice if there was!. But more likely it’s a case of you being in a mental stage in your life where you’re more open to noticing them. Is it the Universe providing for you, or is it purely coincidence but just when you need an answer to a life question, one seems to appear? I attribute it to finally being able to slow life down a little…either by design or due to less responsibility such as your children are away at college or married now with their own kids. Once you can slow down, you can pay more attention to your inner voice. The inner ‘You’ that constantly reminds you of the state of your life…of your connectedness with the world around you. Learn to really listen to it. Pay attention to thoughts about your dreams, especially about a ‘different you’, the part that we tend to keep secret…our inner-most hopes and aspirations. Often we don’t even share these with people closest to us. Don’t feel guilty about that. It’s not that you’re being secretive. It’s more about some things being so deeply personal that they’re just for you.
7 Spiritual Needs All Humans Have
Based on more than 30 years of psychological counseling and pastoral care, Howard Clinebell believed that humans have seven spiritual ‘Hungers’ in common. The need to experience healing and the power of love from others, including the need to believe in a higher power. Experience some form of transcendency beyond the immediate day-to-day life. Develop beliefs that we can turn to in times of loss, tragedies, and failures. Recognize and deepen our own values and priorities. Feelings of justice, empathy, integrity, and social responsibility. Discover our sense of inner wisdom. Deepen this wisdom through empathy, love, and creativity. Deepen our awareness of oneness with the world around them. Feel a connection to nature, other people, and all living things. Find our inner peace to be forgiving, heal grief, let go of resentment, and find a place of trust, a sense of self, joy, and a love of life.
Spirituality Is in All of Us
It’s like the voice inside that’s being drowned out by the ‘noise’ of life, suddenly starts to SHOUT! Age and life-experience hone our ability for compassion and empathy making us take notice of what’s truly meaningful in life. We become more aware of the reasons why others behave the way they do. It doesn’t mean their behavior will change…but it means we have a better-developed understanding of why they may be acting that way. We, humans, are all complex and dynamic, and our behavior and reactions are shaped by our life experiences. Acceptance of this allows us to be less judgmental, more empathetic, and ultimately find more peace in our own lives. The practice of forgiveness is hugely life-changing. You can forgive someone who wronged you in the past. Letting go of those feelings of anger and resentment will impact your life in ways you wouldn’t expect. BUT…no one is saying you have to re-establish contact with that person unless you want to. You’re not a Saint. Forgiveness is to benefit you and your emotions…not necessarily anyone else.
Why Should We Pay Attention to Spirituality?
Being in touch with your spirituality can be extremely beneficial for your psychological and physiological well-being. Including boosting your immune system, freeing you from anxiety, and promoting life satisfaction. You’ll find more meaning in life which can result in you living longer. Consider this… We live in an age of instant gratification. We enjoy the benefits of advanced technology, more entertainment, and physical comforts than our parents and grandparents could ever have hoped for. Yet, Mental health-related problems are exploding. More people feel disaffected, lonely, disconnected, and experiencing a lack of life-purpose like never before. The exploding cases of anxiety and depression in our modern society are a huge problem that no-one seems to have an answer for. Why is it happening? Have we lost touch with understanding our place in the universe? Do we need to re-evaluate what ‘life’ really means? It’s because we are Spiritual Beings. We can’t ignore this and hope to still thrive! There’s more to life than just acquiring wealth and possessions. Although I understand that if you don’t have these, then life is more immediate than contemplating your place in the universe. But it’s been proven that even those with very little can feel incredibly lucky and fulfilled if they are in touch with their spirituality. And, conversely, those with everything can still feel lost and disconnected. It’s as if they realize that acquiring all the wealth doesn’t fill the void.
7 Ways to Find A Feeling of Transcendence
As humans, replacing life’s frustrations with moments of transcendence doesn’t happen overnight. We need to practice mindful attention to our thoughts, emotions, and behavior to really experience our spirituality. Reaching the feeling of being more than yourself can be achieved in many ways.
1. Spend plenty of time in Nature.
We are all connected to it. It’s in our DNA. But we’ve lost it through our modern city life. I’m sure you’ve noticed the feelings of calm and connectedness you experience when you get away from the city hustle, even if it’s just a walk in a park. Imagine the heightened emotions of spending time in the mountains, or walking through the woods, or slowly paddling a kayak on the lake. Watching a beautiful sunset. Taking the time to be totally present. Listening to all the sounds around you. Taking in the scents, the play of light on your surroundings…and any critters you can observe.
2. Lose Yourself in Your Favorite Music.
Take yourself off somewhere quiet, put your headphones on, and listen to your favorite music. Block out other noise and REALLY listen to every note. Close your eyes and fully immerse yourself in it. Experience the sense of calm… it’s quite meditative.
3. Find Somewhere to Relax and Paint or Sketch.
Unless you are a professional artist, most of us have suppressed any artistic tendencies, due to the demands of our day-to-day activities and careers. Spending time to re-connect with the artistic side of your personality can be inspiring, uplifting, and a truly positive experience, even if you make totally random creations. In some cases, it could actually be life-changing as you may choose to finally pursue that artistic passion and turn it into your new life venture.
4. Choose a Time to Be Contemplative.
Deliberately setting aside time to just sit in a quiet soothing environment, stay silent, and contemplate your life. Remember your dreams, and maybe make plans to reconnect with them. Meditation is also a wonderful way to tune out the world and just totally relax in the present. Just sitting and being aware of your breathing is meditation.
5. Volunteer to Help Others.
Spirituality can also be found by dedicating some of your time to help others. Your time is precious, (we all have a finite amount of it) so choosing to spend some of it in the service of others is hugely rewarding, both emotionally and spiritually.
6. Practicing Meditation.
This is a deeply satisfying way to connect to your inner self. Whether you just want to relax and control your breathing or explore the different types of meditation to find out which one feels right for you. They will all help to connect you with your spirituality and find that ‘calm’ place in a hectic world. Particularly if you sit in nature, helping you feel connected to the Earth.
7. Learn Tai Chi or Qigong.
These are both ancient Chinese healing arts designed to cultivate spiritual, physical, and emotional health. They are very similar. Qigong is the oldest, dating back to 4000 years. It is the basis of Tai Chi. However, Tai Chi is a martial art whereas Qigong is traditionally used for health and wellness. Qigong sometimes pronounced as Chi Kung (Qi means Life Force or Energy) consists mainly of meditation, relaxation breathing exercises, and physical movement with slow, deliberate movements flowing into one another. With both these disciplines, the act of concentration to perfect the slow, deliberate movements naturally clears your mind, allowing you to feel calm and disconnected from life’s daily assault on your senses.
Do You Ever Find Yourself Wondering What Life Is All About?
Do you often have a nagging feeling that there’s meant to be more purpose to our existence than how you’re living it? The problem with modern life is that we’re so busy, time completely slips away. The years sail by and so many people never achieve even half of what they had hoped for when they were younger.
Final Thoughts – We Need Our Spirituality Now More Than Ever!
Whether there is a higher power? Whether there’s a bigger purpose for your life? Especially now, with everything that’s going on in the world, do you wonder if we humans have somehow lost our direction? At this present time in history, the world is a very strange place. 2020 has forced most of us to rethink our lives and try to deal with the fear of what may happen next. As the world dissolves into the chaos of Covid-19 and people are suffering like never before, the need for compassion, gratitude, and kindness can only come from our understanding of the meaning of life and the purpose we have within it. We all have a purpose. We all have something to offer the world. AND if there was ever a need for us to reconnect with our spiritual side, it’s now. So let’s get reconnected with our beautiful, wise spirit, and THRIVE! This is the time for humanity to come together like never before. To fully accept our spirituality and that we are all part of a greater good…irrespective of political views, race, gender, religion, and wealth. (masks on of course!) Have you considered your own spirituality? Does it give you the comfort to feel part of something bigger? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.