Bear with me: I'm going to suggest that our spirituality might be the missing part of our health...
You might be in the camp of ‘I am not spiritual, it’s not for me.’
I know I was for a long time.
I would write anything that was ‘hippy’, ‘woo-woo’ or a bit out there. Nonsense.
You might think you’re just not spiritual?
And yet, I've come to realise, and experience, that we are all spiritual beings and just because we don’t all share a common language to define that, doesn’t make it any less important for our health.
Spiritual health IS important because it’s part of our overall deep health.
It might be helpful to find a definition that you connect with more:
Connection to others
Connection to the world around you
What gets you out of bed in the morning
Whatever creates fulfillment in your life.
When you feel a sense of awe and wonder
For me, a broad definition of spirituality that helps is ‘connection to ourselves, others and the universe’. And that might be in a church, the yoga mat or in meditation, but it might also be experienced at the top of a hill, in nature, in a conversation with someone, looking at your toddler when they’re asleep, feeling thankful for something, playing, reading, following our curiosity, a moment or quiet, or in creating something…
A lack of attention to our spirituality can leave us feeling like something’s missing, and that we’re unsatisfied, unhappy or unfulfilled in our lives. Our spiritual health feeds into our deep health, that is all intertwined. After all, it doesn’t matter how physically healthy you are if you don’t feel like you have a reason to get out of bed everyday!
Before I did my yoga teacher training, I lived in a dearth of spirituality and feminine energy: there was no room for rest, play, creativity, or crucially, experiences that didn’t fit within clear labels. I worked with all men all the time, and whilst I strongly value these people as my colleagues, I allowed it to suffocate a side of me. I was always go-go-go and do-do-do, and I was very black and white about what I thought was a waste of time: it was science or it was untrue.
To judge other peoples’ experiences, beliefs and practices as ‘nonsense’ because it didn’t fit with the science I knew, did everyone, including myself, a major injustice.
After one particular yoga session during my yoga teacher training, I remember feeling a ‘cracking open’ - literally. Physically and emotionally. It was like the dam had burst, and everything that I had not allowed and missed out on was flooding back in. The yoga teacher who led the session had a very definite sense of her womanhood and her spirituality (her story of Jesus sitting in the corner of a party still sticks with me!).
By defining, refusing and discounting spirituality, I was judging other people’s truth.
And that just doesn’t sit right with me.
Who am I to say your experience is untrue?
I have a lot to learn, and always will.
And I think science has a lot to learn.
And I don’t think that science and spirituality are mutually exclusive.
Rather that science gives us the clues to explore our sense of awe and wonder even more.
Sometimes, there isn’t an explanation.
I now know I can be:
A scientist AND spiritual
A rational, logical being AND spiritual
A competent, efficient person AND spiritual
So whether you define yourself as ‘spiritual’ or not, I’d stay open-minded. It’s not about the label. I’d stay open to the awe and wonder in life. I’d stay open to things we don’t have explanations and answers for.
How do you define and connect with your spirituality?
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