A Healthy Spirit, The Conclusion
Let me first clarify the term spirituality which may have confused some folk, my apologies. Many people in my world think it is synonymous with having a relationship with God or any behavior or discipline connected to faith like prayer, Bible reading and so forth. But for the purpose of this 3 part series I am referring to spirituality in a worldly, down-to-earth, non-faith based, non-religious practice of balancing one’s mood or presence.
I’m no electrician, but in my elementary understanding of electricity there needs to be a hot wire and a grounding wire to complete a circuit. So what have I been trying to say all this time? Each and every one of us is going about our daily lives as hot wires. We try to do everything on our own because that’s our default setting. But as we go about our daily routine, something is missing. The grounding wire that completes the circuit is not connected.
We know that there is maintenance required of us as humans in order to function at optimal performance. This usually involves exercise, healthy eating and we can accept those as things to do in order to be healthy. But like I said in part one, there are three parts to us as human beings: body, spirit and mind/soul. I sometimes have a hard time understanding the difference between spirit and soul. But I get it now. One can read as many self-help books and watch endless TED talks hoping to learn something that he/ she can apply to their lives. The soul is the one that takes in and learns, but change is activated by the spirit.
In my life, there is no shortage of those who have chosen to lead a faith-based life. Like I explained in my first post, they daily accept a worldview and choose a path that is inspired by a bigger picture. I’ve spent a lot of time around these individuals, (I’m only critical for the sake of understanding myself better), but they don’t always face their true selves and as a result, without meaning to, they sometimes portray a persona to those around them that says everything is okay. Those closest to them don’t see the struggle. Or maybe they are transparent in this way, but ignore the fact that they aren’t satisfied with some aspect of their life, but rather than taking practical steps to change, they seem to be stuck in a routine spirituality(mostly faith- based) that yields some results, but doesn’t seem to complete the circuit.
Additionally, there are those that will boast of how they meditate, hike, or practice yoga to balance their spirit, but reject anything related to faith because it doesn’t make sense to them why someone would admit they aren’t in 100% control of their lives and destiny. They don’t understand why intelligent people would profess to believe in what they cannot see or explain logically.
And finally there are those that have been traumatized by religious practices and disciplines because it lacked authenticity or was dressed in clothes of hypocrisy.
Whatever the experience or narrative surrounding faith, religion and spirituality, our spirits are still craving health, balance and grounding. Our spirits need us to reconcile our differences with these terms. In order to have a healthy spirit, we need to develop our own formula or recipe. For me it’s 1/2 cup of religion to teach me to be disciplined and teach me fundamental truths, 2 cups faith to challenge my worldview and keep me focused and living my purpose and 1 1/2 cups spirituality to keep me honest in my struggles and practical in my next steps. Our spirit needs us to have experiences that:
Force us to confront our true self, the ugliness and beauty
Relay an appreciation for our uniqueness, gifts and talents or appreciate something/someone that we may have taken for granted
Put us in a state of gratitude,awe,or wonder
Ground us/ check us/ teach us
Change/balance our perspective
Reveal practical steps for moving forward
In my belief system, faith will help meet the needs of most of what my spirit needs. I can’t say it is responsible for all of what my spirit requires, though. For me, my spirit requires me to go on a walk, have an adventure of some sort, practice yoga, read a secular self-help book, watch a TED talk, set goals and reminders, ask people to hold me accountable to my goals, meditate, review pictures of my vacations to be reminded of the beauty in the world and what it is teaching me.
Over the course of this series, I must have used five or more metaphors to try and explain the importance of one’s spiritual health and the missing link to achieve it. I may have offended you along the way. If I have, it was not my intention, but like I tell my students, it’s okay to be challenged or to disagree with someone. Later today or tomorrow ask yourself “Why does this offend me?” Don’t ignore it. Work through it. Remember what I said in my first post about what the stakeholders in my life wanted for me, “to embrace my own spiritual uniqueness and be able to use that uniqueness to impact the world, or at least others on my journey.” I get the chance to do that in this series.
I hope there was at least one nugget that challenged you or made you dig deeper. Maybe I’m just writing to reconcile my own past experiences to move myself toward a healthier spirit. But forever long you’ve been on this journey with me, I am grateful for your company.
The Contentment Coach signing off.