I grew up with a Jewish mother and a Christian father (who would probably call himself an Atheist now). God to me was a man with a white beard in the sky that was a figment of people's imaginations. The idea of God and religion to me was fleeting, undefined and frankly stupid when I was growing up. I just didn't get it.
I attended all of my cousins Bar and Bar Mitzvahs. I went to church a few times with my friends on random Sundays or special holidays. I went to the local synagogue with my mother for the high holidays. In all of this I never had any idea what any of it meant or what it meant to other people.
Since this time and as I have grown older I have been through some difficult situations in my life. When my brother suddenly passed away I asked my husband desperately to say the "Lord's Prayer" to me because I found some kind of comfort in hearing it. This was completely out of character and a bizarre request for him to hear. I would talk to my therapist at the time and say, I think people who are religious have it easier because they know where their loved ones go and they believe in God. I don't have that. I felt at the time like I was above those people who believed in these things and like I knew someone they didn't, turns out it was the other way around in some respects.
Obviously because I am writing this post things have shifted in my life. Where did this shift occur, why and what the heck is spirituality??
Here are the things I have learned on my journey about spirituality:
1.) Spirituality is NOT religion. There is no one thing or person that is being worshiped or put up on a pedestal. Spirituality simply refers to the fact that we believe there is something else out there that we can connect to. It means that we do not have to control the world on our own, and in fact we cannot, we truly only have control over ourselves. For many people their spiritual journey begins when they are stuck in a bad place. Many people start by finding a power greater to be a group of people that will be in a certain place at a certain time without fail. It is something that gives us comfort when all else seems to fail us. Often, as it was for me, the search for something bigger than us happens when tragedy strikes or rock bottoms knocks us on our butts. But it is not religious in the sense that we need to go to a church or synagogue to feel the presence, it is something that is all around us all the time like a warm bubble of light.
2.) Spirituality is that weird thing that happens when you are thinking about a friend and they call or text you. It is unexplainable events that make total and complete sense. It makes you feel safe and like you belong. To me, it makes me feel like I have a purpose in this universe when I can connect to something greater than myself. When things in my life feel like they are in line and are supposed to happen this is when I see signs or hear that song on the radio that reminds me of my brother. Spirituality is about paying attention to the fact that there is a bigger picture, that we are connected to others and that we are part of a whole in this life.
3.) Spirituality connects us strongly to nature and the beauty that surrounds us. You can think about the science of nature logically for an eternity but it will still never explain the magnificence of the oceans and the creatures that live in it or the beauty of a sunset. These places and things in nature bring a sense of peace and calm. This is why many people spend so much time in nature, because it is where they feel something like no other, even if they aren't sure what it is. Spirituality and connection cannot always be explained, it just is and when we can accept that beauty that surrounds us, we are connected. For many people I know nature IS their spirituality, plain and simple.
4.) Spirituality is different for every single human being on this planet...and other planets for that matter. There is no cookie cutter one size fits all version. It is an individual process for each person, it is truly not a noun, it is an adjective. There is no one way to look at it and it is ever changing. Think about how as a child you may have had an idea of what a certain word meant but as you grew up you discovered its true meaning. This is how I see spirituality. As we make new connections and discoveries in our lives we see things differently and we find peace with them in a new way.
Spirituality is for everyone if they choose to see the grand scale of the beauty of the world. It is not something or someone to follow it is to listen to your heart and trust that you are headed in the right direction, now and always, in any way shape or form.
Love & Light,