THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUALITY
Spirituality has a different meaning to different people. It can be defined as “a deep sense of belonging, of wholeness, of connectedness, and of openness to the infinite (Easvaradoss, 2013).”
By making your spirituality a focus in your life you will begin to see how it helps you to deal with life’s challenges and become a better, more whole and content person.
Some of the benefits of spirituality are obvious but yet go untended because its easier to ignore the need for spirituality in a world of chaos and strife.
According to an editorial in the International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, “In a modern world that is consumed with materialism, which moves at a frantic pace, and which is frayed by cultural, racial and religious divisiveness, the yearning of the human spirit to connect and find meaning is sometimes overlooked.”
You will see many things changing in your life once you begin a spiritual journey and few of these are;
Hope - is one thing that spirituality will add to your life. That sense of hope and optimism that has been lacking will become abundant. Spirituality strengthens our outlook for a better life and a better future.
We always have moments where we must encounter challenges, but if we are able to remain hopeful during these times we will overcome these challenges and move forward with hope. Spiritual growth enhances our lives giving us the tools to conquer life’s ups and downs and come out the other side better for having the experience.
A Sense of purpose and meaning - is something we all look for when the day is done. To know that you make a difference will uplift you in ways that are almost immeasurable. The knowledge that we are very much worthwhile and matter is the key to self-love. Knowing we are not just here killing time or that choices we make will matter to us and those we love can make a major difference in the trajectory of our lives. We are living and breathing and interacting with others for a reason, and knowing we are meant to contribute something to the world will give your life more meaning and value to you.
Compassion and empathy - It becomes easier look at others without judgment and criticism as we start to grow spiritually we realize how much healthier it is to cultivate compassion and empathy for others. It not only provides us the inner strength to serve and help others but also improves our personal well-being. Looking at life through a compassionate lens we grow a sense of community with others and begin to identify the positive impact we can have.
“Spirituality is meant to take us beyond our tribal identity into a domain of awareness that is more universal.” – Deepak Chopra
Appreciation and inspiration - life is full of inspiration once we choose to see it. We lose site of the small things that make us happy while lost in the struggles we have, by connecting with your inner self you will see them anew and begin to see so many other things that will both inspire and motivate you to become a more connected person. Through spiritual growth and knowledge we learn to see the wonder and beauty what used to be our mundane lives. Creativity will flow from you in all areas of your life, those things we have taken for granted can start to offer us greater inspiration and joy. Turning what used to be days of just getting through the muck into days of sheer happiness.
Peace of mind - is something we can use more of. A big piece of spirituality is finding that connection to a higher power. Call it what you will, regardless, a knowledge of something bigger out there helps to put our place in the universe more clear. That sense that there is something greater than ourselves, and that we don’t have to carry the entire burden alone will help to ease your burdens. Learning how to let go of the baggage we carry really adds to peace of mind and self awareness.
Gratitude - being able to be grateful for the things in your life is another part of your spiritual journey. Being grateful for the good and the bad will allow for each of these to no longer have the enormous power you have given them in the past. Understanding that there will obstacles in the way but that your connection to a higher power will give you the strength to pull through is very empowering.
Forgiveness - is good medicine. Letting go of blame and negative energy after an emotionally painful event is a corner stone of most practices reflected by a number of spiritual traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. The health benefits of forgiveness are numerous: better immune function, longer lifespan, lowered blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, and fewer feelings of anger or hurt.
Live longer and happier - It has been studied and there appears to be a correlation between spirituality living longer. Being committed to a particular spiritual tradition may bring indirect health benefits because many avenues of spirituality have rules about caring for the body with kindness and avoiding unhealthy behaviors. Research has shown that perhaps the tenets that are part of many religious or faith based traditions are less likely to smoke, drink, commit a crime, or become involved in anti-social activity. In looking for the best life has to offer allows you to stay focused on the positive and push away the negative habits and conditioning that the world sends your way.
There are many ways to aide yourself during your spiritual journey, here are just a few that are easy to incorporate into your daily life without feeling like you are taking something away from other things that need your attention.
Meditation - can help induce feelings of calm and clear-headedness as well as improve concentration and self awareness. Brain researcher Richard Davidson’s research shows that meditation increases the brain’s gray matter density, which can reduce sensitivity to pain, enhance your immune system, help you regulate difficult emotions, and relieve stress. With these physical benefits just imagine how it will enhance your spirituality and mental health. Mindful meditation in particular has been proven helpful for people with a number of disorders. Some of the areas it can be aide with are depression and anxiety, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and cardiovascular disease by making the person more aware of the signs their body sends out and how these times of meditation ease the strain these and other conditions have on your body.
Prayer - can create a sense of relaxation along with feelings of hope, gratitude, and compassion. All of these can and will have a positive effect on overall well-being. There are many types of prayer, many of which are rooted in the belief that there is a higher power that has some level of guidance and influence over your life. Opening yourself to this belief can provide a sense of comfort and support in difficult times. For many years research has shown that people who believe their prayers were heard by a higher power show greater signs of improvement in their health and daily lives.
Yoga - a centuries-old spiritual practice that aims to create a sense of unity through physical postures, controlled positioning, and breath expansion. The practice of yoga has been found to reduce inflammation, stress, relieve anxiety, lower blood pressure, and marked increases of the practioner having feelings of well-being.
Journaling - another often overlooked but self-recognizing practice that can help you become more aware of your inner life and daily practices. It can provide a way for you to become more connected to your experiences and the world around you. Studies show that writing during difficult times may help you find meaning behind these seemingly insurmountable challenges and provide you with the ability to face these obstacles and a strength to be prepared for whatever life will send your way.
While these are just a few of the tools that will help you gain a better understanding of both yourself and your spirituality there are many other ways to assist you in the process. Find the ones that work for you. Join a church or spiritual organization, take classes on ways to connect with your senses, read books and articles that will give you insight into what is best for you. Begin taking the steps toward a more complete spirituality and you will see the benefits quickly becoming part of your daily life.
“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.” Brené Brown