Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Finding Your Spirituality

It is not easy to get through most of our days, given the many demands on our time, tasks to be done, places to be and people to be with.  Yet even as we pass through these daily events, we often have this inner sense that we are “doing” without “engaging.”  That what we are doing is just continual repetition, rote functioning, perhaps with some momentary but fleeting pleasure.  Or the day is spent in draining controversies, feeling upset in response to difficult conflicts.  All the while, some small thought in our mind knows that something in our life is missing, something is being shut out and not attended to.  A thought ignored, because we feel we have no room left for anything else on our very full plate.

What is being ignored is our spirit, that little piece of creativity and connection that lives within us, that usually sits on the periphery of our daily calendar.  It is continually calling for its turn for our attention, its place on that calendar, its chance to breathe and infuse the quality of our lives.  Finding that spirit, prioritizing it over all other demands, and giving life to it is what the pursuit of spirituality is about.

Spirituality gives true life to our existence.  It is in spirituality that we actually taste the meal on our plate rather than hurriedly push it into our mouths while we drive our cars, or stare distractedly at our technology screens.  It is actually watching the movie or play, listening to the music, truly listening to the words that others are speaking to us, instead of pushing it all into our background noise while we send out our latest text messages.

Spirituality is simply disengaging for a moment, and spending that time in the company of our real self.  Getting to know our self in a deeper and connected way – and from this process discovering how little we actually know our self even after all these years.  Once we find our self, spirituality is then finding connection with a universe much larger than we have previously known.  Not just a world of family, close friends, our neighborhood, our workplace, but to a vastly greater Universe that transcends all we currently know or can imagine.

There are many ways to express our spirituality.  For some, it is within a formal religious structure of church / temple / mosque / meditation room, with all its attendant rules, dogma and ritual.  But as helpful as it may be, religion is not required, nor is any specific set of beliefs.  Religion is about the mind, seeking to direct the body in thoughts and actions.  Spirituality is about the heart, living within participatory experience.  Spirituality is not in the thinking; it is in the doing.

What is important is not THE form; it is finding the appropriate form that works for you.  Sometimes, with similar people and right intention and appropriate circumstance, our church gathering can be about spiritual experience.  But experiencing spirituality can also be a walk in the woods or on the beach, sitting on a boulder on a mountaintop, serving others in a homeless food kitchen, running a marathon, or losing one’s self “in the zone” of performing music, crafting woodworking, or creating an art form.

Spirituality is simply experiencing that which takes us out of our everyday, helping us understand that beyond us lies a far bigger existence than we have seen – God, the Universe, Spirit, Nature, or by whatever name – and finding the connection of our small existence within that greater welcoming tent.  We are, but we are part of.  Until we see, and become, that “part of,” we remain incomplete.

Spirituality may be as though a tough hike over high mountain trails, likely through harsh and foreboding weather.  It is a hike that we have to walk alone, even when in the company of strangers that we call friends.  But it is a great view from the summit.  It is the sky-filled sunset enveloping that mountaintop that infuses our spirit; yet when we see the universe clearly, it is a simple blade of grass that encapsulates all of life held in our hands.  We have the time for this hike, if we seek it.  Do we have the commitment?

©  2014   Randy Bell


Anonymous said...

That ending really throws down the gauntlet! And all of it is all too (and sometimes sadly) true. Well done, you - as usual. And thank you for some penetrating thoughts and spiritual cuds to chew and chew again.

Anonymous said...

Good one!