By Karin Leonard
Spirituality and the longing
for greater meaning is such an important topic that this series explores
its application in the everyday –
even though we can only begin to touch the depth of what’s sacred in
these short articles. Previously
we discussed the power of solo retreats. Today we’ll take a closer
look at spirituality itself. Part
three will focus on how to include spirituality in the day-to-day.
In order to experience your
spiritual side, you don’t need to be religious, or belong to an
organized group. If you do
feel at home with an established religion, you are fortunate in that
your specific tradition can provide tremendous guidance.
However, for many of us, religions that originated thousands of
years ago provide limited flexibility for these quickly changing times.
We are left to discover guidance and meaning on our own.
Finding your spiritual path among the traditions of the past, and
sorting out the mish-mash of the New Age movement, is no small task.
So much great information is out there, yet you have to take it
with a grain of salt. Distinguishing
between genuine wisdom, and watered-down religion, takes discernment. What at first may seem comforting can quickly turn into
stifling dogma. However,
connecting with your personal truth is liberating.
You may want to choose
teachers and guides along the way, yet the power to evolve lies within
you, and guidance emerges from within.
In the past, priests were intermediaries to God.
And although priests and spiritual teachers still play an
important role today, they might be most helpful when acting as coach,
counselor or facilitator. Hopefully
they inspire, rather than having all the answers.
The word “spiritus” means
breath, and Webster defines “spirit” as the “life-giving
principle.” What does
spirituality mean to you? Think
back to a spiritual experience you’ve had.
What was the nature of that moment?
When did it occur – while meditating, exercising, or making
love? For most – whether
you are Christian, Buddhist or Humanitarian –
experiencing spirituality signifies creating a loving connection
to something greater than our limited self.
This could be a joining with the Divine, the life force, or your
Higher Self; whichever evokes a state of love and sacredness within you.
For me, spirituality is also the day-to-day connection to life,
to the energy that runs through creation and interrelates all beings.
Exercising your spiritual self happens when you experience life
as sacred, when you have awe and respect for every living being, and in
appreciating the endless mystery that surrounds you.
Spirituality is the live wire
that connects you to the numinous mandala within, from where your
evolution mysteriously continues.
Being spiritual also pertains
to giving your life meaning, and living with passion and purpose.
Working just to pay the bills doesn’t fill the longings of the soul.
As you inquire more deeply into your purpose, you may discover that it
is spiritual in nature. You
may even want to write a mission statement for your life, and think
about principles that are important to you.
Next month we’ll explore how to stay connected with your
spiritual values each and every day.